Portion of women health tech founders rises, bucking startup trend
The share of women founders rose more in the last six years in the health tech sector than in any other sector, per data from Carta.
Why it matters: Health tech is bucking a decades-long trend in the venture-backed startup sector that's seen startups founded predominantly by and for white men.
Driving the news: Women make roughly 80% of all health care decisions for their families and are increasingly starting and leading companies designed for their needs — whether they be focused on behavioral health, reproductive well-being, preventive care, or parenting.
- The reversal of the constitutional right to abortion just one year ago further deepened public awareness of the women's health tech sector.
Plus, even amid a global market turndown that's seen funding for the health tech sector as a whole plummet 48% from 2021 to 2022, interest in women's digital health has remained somewhat steady, dropping just 10% over the same period.
Zoom in: The percentage of women-identifying founders in health tech rose from about 15% in 2015 to nearly 22% in 2022, per Carta — contrasting sharply with the average change across industries over the same time period, where:
- The percentage of founders who identify as women shifted just slightly from 13% in 2016 to 15% in 2020.
Yes, but: Even in the sectors with the most female representation, the percentage of women founders remained under 25% in 2022.
- Women of color are further underrepresented: Just 14% of Black women health tech founders received venture funding in 2020, compared with 36% of white women, per Rock Health data.
Meanwhile, several factors beyond the reversal of Roe v. Wade are driving continued interest in women's health, including...
- A rise in public awareness of life stages including menstruation, maternity and menopause.
- Employers expanding reproductive health benefits amid a tight labor market.
- An increasing number of women turning to digital health tools like wearables, tracking tools and telehealth services.
- Heightened sensitivity around health data sharing.
- The mental health crisis disproportionately impacting teen girls.