Fertile times for fertility tech


Fertile times for fertility tech

The term Femtech and the concept of a digital women’s health category are relatively new. Femtech was coined in 2016 by Ida Tin, a Danish entrepreneur who founded Clue, a period- and fertility-tracking app. As an industry, femtech largely encompasses any digital or standard health tools aimed at women’s health, including wearables, internet-connected medical devices, mobile apps, hygiene products, and others. This sector includes fertility solutions, period-tracking apps, pregnancy and nursing care, women’s sexual wellness, and reproductive system health care. (Source: Wikipedia)

Now the femtech industry is growing fast, and as more and more people in the tech industry and outside it understand the importance of femtech, it will grow and grow. Here are some things you should know to understand femtech and its future:

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash


Now, also the men’s health sector is “booming”. One factor driving interest and investments into this sector is the long-term decline in fertility rates among western men. A study in the journal Human Reproduction Update in 2017 found that sperm count in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand had dropped by 59.3% since 1973. The good news is that individual men can do something about their lifestyle fairly easily and expect to see improvement within a few months.

A wave of tech startups, such as ExSeedYoTrak and Legacy, are offering men-specific-technologies, such as next-generation home sperm-testing and – in some cases – sperm-freezing services. Here is an interesting article by the Guardian, about the semen crisis and new technologies for men:

In the article, Morten Ulsted, the CEO of the Danish company ExSeed, which launched in the UK in January, cites the emergence of female-focused tech, such as the period-tracking app Clue or the intelligent breast pump Elvie as inspiration. “We have all seen what’s happened to ‘femtech’ in the past few years. It is predicted to be a $40bn industry by 2020, and it was nonexistent five years ago. Now the same thing is happening with male-specific issues – we just need a catchy name.” (Source: the Guardian)

Or do we, need names for female- and for male-specific technologies? One could argue, that these terms create stupid sexist divides all over again, but with new buzzwords:

Well, one thing is for certain: we at Upgraded are always happy to see startups create new solutions for helping people with health issues! The previous startup examples above were all from outside of Finland, so how about Finnish startups?

In 2004, the founder of Lunette, Heli Kurjanen ordered a menstrual cup online, but she was disappointed. With laser vision and improved design rooted in safety, ease, and comfort, she led the charge to create “the world’s top menstrual cup” – Lunette. And so Lunette, a Finnish startup, launched their product in 2005 and has since been highly successful.

In addition, another Finnish company Nomai, founded in 2018, has also developed their own menstrual cup. According to Nomai, when compared with the other numerous menstrual cup brands on the market, “Nomai stands out due to the strong medical expertise behind its product development”. (The menstrual cup is a reusable feminine hygiene product that is made of medical-grade silicone. As the name suggests, it is a cup that is inserted in the vagina to collect menstrual flow.)

Inspired by the Finnish child health center (neuvola) system, Sini Havukainen went on to create the award-winning maternity app, Layette. By using the free Layette app, mothers get daily information about their pregnancy, all the way from the first kicks up to the baby’s age of three. Applicado, the company behind the Layette app, was founded in 2015. Read more about Layette from this article by Yrittäjä

Anything for men from Finland? Yes! The story of Prostate Radar began, when Fluente Kumppanit took part in a national ODA-Hackathon in 2017. In the hackathon they noticed there was a lack of products and services targeted for men to track their health. And so they developed Prostate Radar, which is a digital service for men to track their symptoms, such as uritation problems, which are related to an enlargened prostate. With integration to the national Omakanta service, Prostate Radar makes it easier for men to communicate about this highly sensitive issue with their doctors.

Do you know other Finnish health startups developing solutions for reproductive health?
Send us a message and let us know about them! →

You can also read about the topic in Finnish:

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