Who Are the Women in the Health Tech Space Making Waves?

Ariane Takyi - PR Manager and Health Researcher

Posted Mar 2, 2021

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A Tricky Space to Navigate 

Research shows that women in start-ups face negative attitudes during pitches. Women are asked more questions around risk and losses, compared to men who are asked about their ambitions and achievements.

The disparity goes even further. Across the board, female-only founders received a mere 3% of invested dollars in 2010. However, in 2019, almost 10 years later, Pitchbook reported that VC investments in all-female founded companies hit a record high at $3.3 billion. These amounts, while increasing, were not close to parity with male-only founded companies which raised $31 billion in 2010 and $195 billion in 2019.

What About the Health Tech Sector?

To understand where the situation stands for female founders in the health tech sector, we analysed Crunchbase data of seed and venture round start-ups.

Results show:

  • There are over 2000 active health tech start-ups with at least one female founder.

  • In the last 10 years, there has been over a 500% increase in female-founded health tech start-ups raising an initial funding round.

  • Health tech start-ups are 3 times more likely to be founded by men.

  • Health tech startups with at least one female founder make nearly $100 billion less in total funding than those founded by men.

Female Founders Shaping the Future

In almost every industry women are not only underrepresented, they are underappreciated. We decided to analyse Crunchbase data to shed light on those that are shattering glass ceilings and steering highly funded ventures. Below we have visualised the top female founder in every country in the world within the health tech sector.

North America

North America boasts the highest number of health tech start-ups with female founders at the helm. With over 1,000 start-ups with at least one female founder, North America is making major strides, collectively receiving nearly $19 billion in total funding.

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Averaging at roughly $7 million in total funding, there are more than 400 start-ups that have a female founder in Europe’s health tech space.

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The continent has seen a massive boom in health tech start-ups with at least one female founder. In the past 5 years alone there, has been close to a staggering 200% increase, compared to the previous 5 years.

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South America

The health tech start-up scene in South America is emerging gradually. With an overall number of 187 start-ups, those with at least one female founder account for nearly 20%.

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Similar to South America, the health tech start-up scene is gradually building up. On average 2015 appears to be the year most were founded.

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With a total of 23 health tech start-ups with at least one female founder, figures across the continent are steadily rising. Nigeria and South Africa both hold the top spot for hosting the majority of the start-ups.

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A Call to Action - More Needs to Be Done

As a female founder navigating the health tech space, CEO of Qunomedical, Dr. Sophie Chung shares her thoughts.

“As Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, puts it ‘No industry or country can reach its full potential until women reach their full potential.’ I see the need for more female role models to be championed in this space to help break the cycle of male dominance in the health tech sector. By building stronger networking and mentoring opportunities for women within the community, we take ownership of taking a part in shaping the future - empowering the next generation of women in health tech.”

Methodology: Using Crunchbase, we created a query using the following filters: founder gender (female), funding status (seed, early-stage venture, late-stage venture), industries (health care, mHealth, medical), headquarters location (different continent per search). Based on the results of the query, selections were made based on the highest total funding amount - one company per country was selected.

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