Women Who Tech, one of the largest nonprofit organizations that funds and showcases women-led ventures, today launched its first worldwide FemTech and HealthTech Grants Challenge to help close the funding gap for women-led startups and accelerate innovation to address pressing global healthcare issues.
To help fund the future of innovation – by women, for women – while spurring more cutting-edge advancements, Women Who Tech is deploying capital and resources to FemTech and HealthTech startups. To support businesses championing greater healthcare access on a global scale, bolstering the medical tech ecosystems, and bringing more effective digital health solutions and technologies to market.
Five early-stage women-led startups with a focus on FemTech and/or HealthTech will be selected to compete for $20,000 USD in equity-free grant funding. The W Fund, SteelSky Ventures, Citrine Angels, and others will also be evaluating the startups for further investment. Full criteria and submission details can be found on Women Who Tech’s website. Applications close July 18, 2021, 11:59 pm PT.
The esteemed jury is comprised of over 40 investors and global health leaders including:
- Maria Velissaris, Founding Partner, SteelSky Ventures.
- Deena Shakir, Partner, Lux Capital.
- Louise Rix, VC, Forward Partners.
- Saloni Bhojwani, Venture Partner at Sie Ventures, Investor at Founders Factory.
Women-led startups experience persistent and significant barriers and biases1 raising investment from VC firms, where 95 percent2 of VC partners are men. Furthermore, FemTech startups with the largest exits have primarily been led by men. Women Who Tech is mission-set to disrupt the culture and economy of men funding men.
“Only 3 percent3 of total healthtech funding went to FemTech startups in 2020 – a hugely missed opportunity given that global healthcare spending is predicted to reach over $10 trillion4 by 2022,” said Allyson Kapin, Founder of Women Who Tech. “Within FemTech alone, the market will scale to $1.07 trillion by 2026—now is not the time for VCs to overlook diverse innovation that’s right in front of them.”
“It’s alarming that funding for women-led startups dropped by nearly 30 percent5 in 2020, despite a record year of fundraising in the startup sector. It’s hard to ignore the correlation between women who bore the bulk of responsibility managing the household, childcare, and school during the pandemic and the significant decline in funding of women-led ventures. We need to address this now to ensure we’re building tech through a diverse lens,” said Craig Newmark, Founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and member of Women Who Tech’s Advisory Board.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not only highlight gaps in funding for women-led startups, but it also underscored existing healthcare inequities, especially for women—particularly women of color, in global communities due to a lack of healthcare investments and infrastructure. While COVID-19 itself may be on the decline, WHO6 reports that it continues to disrupt essential health services in 90 percent of countries.
Women Who Tech’s FemTech and HealthTech Grants Challenge is bolstering support for global healthcare and digital solutions with grants, fundraising and investing support, and more. The program is open to global FemTech and HealthTech startups with at least one woman founder or co-founder.