I’ve been writing about the business of women’s health for the better part of the past five years, and it’s always the founders who really continue to amaze me. Most of you will agree that there is undeniable opportunity at the intersection of healthcare and innovation, but building solutions that truly move the needle in women’s health requires more than just a deep market understanding and entrepreneurial talent—it takes collaboration and resilience, a trait shared by many femtech founders.

Last week, I had the pleasure of moderating a fireside chat with Elizabeth Ruzzo, Ph.D., founder of adyn, and Valentina Milanova, founder of Daye. Their shared experiences navigating women’s health entrepreneurship offered insights into what really fuels the spirit of innovation and progress in our sector: The founders, their teams and the quest to create better health outcomes for underserved populations. Just like many other founder journeys in our ecosystem, Milanova’s began from a personal quest for better solutions: “I started working on Daye because of my personal experience with extremely painful periods. I realized that there was absolutely no innovation in this space.” 

Both aydn and Daye are active in the gynecological health space. While Daye is currently focused on period care and pain, as well as vaginal health and diagnostics, adyn is focused on precision medicine and prescription starting with birth control. Ruzzo shared that “the idea for adyn really came from a combination of her own personal struggle with birth control side effects and also her academic background in human genetics.”

Despite increasing recognition of the market potential in women’s health, securing funding especially during the early stages remains a challenge, only made more difficult by entrenched gender biases and other barriers. Ruzzo highlighted the issues female founders often face: “It’s a systemic problem, and I almost try to find comfort in the data that backs up why it’s so hard to raise as a female founder compounded by working on something that’s a female-specific problem.” 

Raising venture funding is never easy for underrepresented founders, yet diversity within the femtech community is of utmost importance. It leads to innovation by combining diverse perspectives, clinical insights, business acumen, and technological expertise. To build the best possible products and services, and ultimately improve health outcomes, collaboration is key. Both Ruzzo and Milanova advocate for an ecosystem that champions collaboration, resource sharing, and a shared belief in collective impact.

So the ask from them and equally us here at Femtech Insider is that we all start to move beyond mere networking in the femtech ecosystem and evolve into a support system, not just for those we serve, but also for each other.

Because in the end: Our health – as patients and founders – depends on it.

If you missed our conversation last week, you can watch it below:

A big thank you to both adyn and Daye, and especially their founders, our panelists Elizabeth Ruzzo,PhD and Valentina Milanova for making this conversation possible. You can learn more about Daye and adyn and the work they’re doing to advance gynecological health by visiting yourdaye.com and adyn.com.

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