Nicole Junkermann is an international entrepreneur and investor, and the founder of NJF Holdings, an international investment company with interests in venture capital, private equity, and real estate.
Through NJF’s venture capital arm, NJF Capital, Nicole oversees a portfolio of over 30 start-ups across three continents, including in healthcare, FinTech, and deep tech.
The rise of Femtech
“Femtech”– technology geared to improving women’s lives – is a flourishing market expected to be worth $50 billion by 2025.
Investing in Femtech companies is essential for our common future. It is a market that concerns more than 50% of the world’s population. Women experience specific health issues and I am always looking for opportunities to invest in unique and innovative companies trying to solve these.
A good example of one of the problems specifically faced by women was addressed on a recent Ted Talk by leading neuroscientist Lisa Mosconi, who explained how the menopause affects the brain and how women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or depression, not to mention headaches and migraines.
One positive development of the rise of Femtech is the number of female-founded businesses in this sector, something which is sadly lacking in general in the start-up world. For example, a recent JP Morgan study showed that in the UK, only 9% of funding to new businesses was to female-led UK start-ups, and from venture capital funding, this figure is even lower – only 1%.
At NJF Capital, we are proud to be invested in two ground-breaking Femtech companies, which are Elvie and Cadence Health.
Based in London, Elvie is one of the early pioneers of the rapidly growing Femtech sector. Its first two innovative products, the Elvie Trainer and the multi-award-winning Elvie Pump, the world’s first silent wearable breast pump, are capturing the imagination of female consumers everywhere and are reinventing healthcare as we know it by giving women back control and autonomy of their bodies.
Elvie has a long-term roadmap to develop effective, user-friendly products and smart technology capable of supporting women in many different aspects of their lives. As the Co-Founder, Tania Boler herself said, Elvie’s ambition is to become the ‘Apple of women’s tech’ and its mission is to improve women’s health outcomes globally.
The company has raised over $53 million in funding to date, backed by Sir Michael Spencer’s IPGL alongside Impact Ventures and NJF Capital, and has been featured in a range of high-profile media from Vogue to Forbes to Women’s Health. Its products have even found their way into Oscar Nominee Gift Bags and, impressively, the Elvie Pump sold out within five minutes of its U.S. market debut last year.
Cadence Health is a women’s health start-up focused on providing a cost-effective birth control pill that will be available over the counter. Targeting the US market, where such contraceptives are currently only available by prescription, the company’s pill will give women the option to prevent unwanted or unintended pregnancies, especially those who do not have insurance or who are vulnerable.
It is said that almost half of pregnancies in the US are unwanted and many of them are teenagers, who never go on to finish High School, with all the financial consequences that this brings. Led by long-time public health advocate and entrepreneur, Dr Nap Hosang, Cadence Health is on a mission to liberate the pill and cut out stakeholders, such as doctors and pharmacists, who each currently receive a cut when drug companies sell prescription pills at inflated prices.
What I particularly liked about Cadence Health was the vision and passion of Nap and his team. After all, I invest first in people. What Cadence Health is doing is empowering women, particularly young or disadvantaged women, to make their own life choices by opening up the market for easy, affordable contraception.