Opportunity to the femtech industry

Who, what, how, when, why interview

WHO are you?

Brittany Barreto, PhD

Executive Director, Cofounder FemTech Focus

Host of FemTech Focus Podcast

WHAT did you do?

I am the Executive Director at FemTech Focus (FTF), a nonprofit that brings awareness, resources, and opportunity to the femtech industry. I have a PhD in Genetics, with a knack for entrepreneurship, my day-to-day is filled with data points, mentorship, and fundraising.  Our podcast FemTech Focus is the #1 women’s health podcast worldwide. We are launching the first virtual femtech accelerator and a $25M femtech venture fund.  FemTech is an industry that innovates products, services, and devices that improve women’s health and wellness. This includes things that solely affect women like menopause, disproportionately affect women like autoimmune disease, and differently affect women like heart disease.

HOW did you do it?

I attribute my “how” to know the market and finding the right people to have strategic conversations with. Raising over a $1.4M in capital to launch my first company, a DNA-based dating app then pivoting from that to being a venture capitalist set the stage for what would become FemTech Focus.

I am a scientist first, a businesswoman second, which means I apply the scientific method to my decision-making process. Before launching FemTech Focus, I noticed the growing market through my VC work in Houston’s innovation ecosystem. It was through my mentorship work that facilitated an introduction to FTF’s co-founder, Dr. Julie Hakim.  The conversation evolved to understand the true challenges for girls and women in health care. As a geneticist, I understand and value the intricacies of DNA, and was bewildered to discover it was illegal to include women in clinical trials before 1993, or that the place where every human is developed and delivered is vastly misunderstood by the health care system, so much so that the anatomy of the clitoris wasn’t discovered until 1998.  As a businesswoman, I see the opportunity, as a conscious leader, I want to make a difference in the lives of girls and women by advancing health and wellness solutions.

We are having conversations around a topic that most people don’t know HOW to articulate. We are grant writing, fundraising to invest in viable Femtech startups, and sustaining through strategic partnerships. We are tweaking our HOW to make sure that our WHY is never forgotten.

WHEN did you start your company?

January 2020

WHY are you innovating with this product or service?

For centuries, women have been left out of biomedical research and medicine.

Did you know that women were not included in clinical trials in the United States until 1993?  Or that the anatomy of the clitoris was not discovered until 1998? This stark realization that women have been left out is the reason we need FemTech Focus.

FemTech is a largely underserved and underfunded industry having received less than 1% of all VC funding in 2019. Here are some reasons why:

  • ONE - There is a lack of awareness of how large the markets are or the potential returns for investing in women’s health.
  • TWO- There is a misconception that these problems for women have already been solved since investors do not really hear about them.
  • THREE- 80% of femtech startups are founded by women who receive less than 3% of venture capital funding.
  • FOUR- investing is about logic for the numbers and intuition for the problem being solved. Since less than 10% of venture capital general partners are women, the pains of menstrual cramps, menopause, hot flashes, and incontinence after childbirth are not intuitive problems that male investors know need innovating.

WHERE are you from?

Father is the son of Portuguese immigrants; I grew up in New Jersey. I Started FemTech Focus on Houston, TX, home to the world’s largest medical complex.  I now live in Raleigh NC, part of the research triangle, latina background.

INDUSTRY: Femtech Industry