Feb 23, 2022 - Health

Scoop: Awesome Woman comes to market

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

New York-based startup FemTec Health has unveiled its first company brand, a health and wellness offering called Awesome Woman, founder Kimon Angelides tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Awesome Woman is a subscription-based digital pharmacy and telehealth platform that is reflective of growing investor interest in women-focused digital health.

  • The thrust of the company's appeal may lie in using home tests to recommend and sell health products, industry observers say.
  • Investors in FemTec Health include Longmont Capital, Ithaca LifeSciences, Unilever Ventures, Shiseido, e.Ventures, Viking Global and Trinity Capital, all of whom contributed to its $38 million fundraise in October.

Details: For a monthly $99 subscription, the company provides unlimited telehealth services — using a nationwide network of 900 physicians — and several diagnostic tests, including a vaginal microbiome test.

  • Customers receive a monthly assortment of health and wellness products including probiotics, vitamins and supplements based on those test results.
  • For prescriptions, Awesome Woman has a partnership with GeniusRx that allows members to order and have medications delivered on-demand.
  • The company is starting with a direct-to-consumer focus but plans to strike up contracts with employers and health plans starting in 2023.

Yes, but: Scientifically speaking, it remains unclear how much we can glean from vaginal microbiome tests, including what kinds of probiotics or supplements to take, says Leslie Schrock, a serial women's health investor and author.

  • "There’s no question that it's a potentially very revealing measure of a woman’s health — and one we don’t fully understand yet," Schrock tells Axios.
  • "I’m not going to say [the microbiome tests] will be used as diagnostic or therapeutic," FemTec's Angelides tells Axios. "I think it’s a great indicator and a predictor." 

The big question: Can Awesome Woman demonstrate the utility of health and wellness products informed by diagnostics such as a vaginal microbiome test?

  • FemTec Health's leaders include chief science officer Kimberly Capone, the former head of Johnson and Johnson's microbiome platform.
  • She says the science and beauty platform plans to use an AI-based approach to create products informed by a preventive approach to care.

By the numbers: Awesome Woman already has a pool of roughly 2 million potential customers thanks to two recent acquisitions, including...

  • New York-based subscription beauty startup BirchBox, with a subscriber basis of some 200,000 people.
  • Solana Beach, Calif.-based Liquid Grids, a health care marketing company with 1.5 million users.

What's next: Awesome Woman is developing two devices it plans to submit to the FDA for approval: one to predict ovulation and another to measure hydration levels, says Angelides.

The bottom line: Digital health tools for specific populations are growing in popularity, with women's health garnering a particular amount of interest of late — and Awesome Woman is one such example of the trend.

  • "We wanted a unified, coordinated health program that isn’t broken up by stages such as fertility, and then pregnancy, and then something else for maternity," Angelides says. "As women go from one phase to another, we want to be there."

Erin Brodwin co-authors the Axios Pro Health Tech deals newsletter. Start your free trial at AxiosPro.com.

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