You heard it here first! With FemTech Lab London gets a new femtech accelerator, that is looking to help femtech entrepreneurs get their companies investment ready. But who’s involved? What can startups expect? And how does a virtual accelerator operate in times of COVID-19? We asked the two founders Katia Lang and Karina Vazirova to tell us more! Applications for the first cohort are open until December 31, 2020.
Tell us a little bit about the beginnings of FemTech Lab! How did you come up with the idea?
As the global pandemic has disrupted everything, we got more time to step back and re-evaluate, change. Katia has always wanted to build an accelerator and was considering areas of mental health and longevity while Karina was fascinated by the new emerging trends around female empowerment and female healthcare. At some point, it got clear that a brand new, innovative FemTech Accelerator is what we need to do!
Women are getting more powerful, more vocal, and are extensively putting more pressure on businesses to produce and deliver female-centered solutions, while the pandemic made us all think about innovation in healthcare. FemTech is right at the center of these two major trends, and the sector is growing, defining itself, expanding well beyond reproductive health, touching all areas of women’s lives. FemTech is going to be the new normal for any innovation in health and consumer product design in the near future. We have our vision around female power. We think it is NOT powerful to keep behaving, working, thinking like men, though we were all conditioned to think so. Following male patterns just doesn’t allow women to reach their true potential! There must be a different way. That’s what we mean with our Balanced World campaign. We believe in a balanced world where people can be themselves and strive, where half of the world’s population won’t need to be playing by the other half’s rules. And a balanced world will be beneficial for both genders!
What differentiates FemTech Lab from other digital health accelerator programs?
We are focused on FemTechs – the program is designed specifically for the sector, based on the needs of the companies in the space. After speaking with both early-stage and successful founders, we saw that most companies in the sector need help with fundraising and market access. That’s exactly what we help with.
We have designed a 12-week program where founders get to work with superstar experts, future-proof their product roadmap, design a winning go-to-market strategy, meet potential partners, and get in front of investors.
Another unique thing about FemTech Lab is our mental well-being module. This is something we are very passionate about. Many companies fail due to founders burning out or losing motivation during hard times. Company culture also plays an important role in long-term success. We also know that founders often struggle with imposter syndrome. At FemTech lab, we have designed a unique mental health module to help founders build mental resilience, mental strength & self-confidence, and learn how to hire and retain best talent and build a healthy team culture.
What can participating startups expect from your program? And what stage should startups be in to get the most out of FemTech Lab?
We accept early stage FemTechs with at least a prototype or MVP in place. It’s also important to mention that we define FemTech as any tech product that caters to women’s health, wellness, and empowerment.
Founders can expect 12 exciting weeks, divided into 4 core modules – product, market, finance & mental wellbeing. Each module is filled with workshops and individual sessions with advisors. The weekly breakdown is available on our website.
The first cohort of FemTech Lab will work with you virtually. How will you facilitate this? How much time will you and mentors spend with the companies?
Creating an engaging virtual experience is one of our key priorities for the program and 2020 has taught us all a lot about virtual working. All sessions will be run virtually and we will be offering startups access to digital tools to stay connected during the program.
The program is quite intense. Our advisors will hold 1-2 hour-long workshops and individual sessions with the startups to offer individualised feedback. We will also be facilitating introductions to corporate and distribution partners. It’s by no means a full-time commitment from the founders, but definitely a few hours a day consideration.
FemTech Lab takes equity in exchange for participation in the program. Do companies also receive funding?
For companies accepted into the program, FemTech Lab will take warrants for 5% of the fully diluted equity of your company, with a fair market value exercise price. That said, if a startup has raised significant capital or is generating some revenue already, we may adjust our offer as appropriate. We will also offer a couple of paid places in our cohorts to companies that pass our selection process, but don’t match our investment strategy.
At graduation, we help raise funding through our network of partnering funds and angels. Amounts depend on stage, valuation, and overall strategy. We will keep holding your hand all the way to your first VC round.
For those interested in applying: Can you tell us a little more about the application & selection process?
The application process takes 3 steps:
Round 1: Fill our the application form on Femtechlab.com/apply by December 31, 2020.
Round 2: Submit when requested additional information about the co-founders
Round 3: Complete two video interviews with members of our Admissions Board
If successful, join our Spring 2021 cohort!