Tokyo (SCCIJ) – A Swiss program called Tech4Eva aspires to create a community of students, researchers, and innovators working together to develop new ideas and technologies to improve the health of women. This acceleration program for “Femtech” start-ups has been launched by the Innovation Park of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and the health insurance provider Groupe Mutuel. Such an initiative is unprecedented in Switzerland.
Innovation aimed at women
“Femtech” is still a little known and unexplored ecosystem. Most health-related products, services, and technologies are not designed for women. Many areas, however, such as pregnancy, menstruation, fertility, or menopause, require specific solutions to women’s issues. In Switzerland, but also in Europe, very few companies and start-ups deal with these issues.
The EPFL Innovation Park and Groupe Mutuel want to encourage the development of this type of start-ups by supporting them through the EPFL Innovation Park ecosystem and high-level coaching. In particular, specialized workshops, roadshows, investor meetings, business introductions to Corporates will be offered to develop new business models and boost the emergence of new solutions at the service of women’s health.
A selection committee will designate a maximum of 15 start-ups that will be supported for this first season. The objective is to address topics related to women’s health, whether to do with prevention, support, or treatment. Therefore, Tech4Eva will focus on innovative solutions in areas such as pregnancy, fertility, menstruation, menopause, mental health, or family life.
The products and services developed by the successful young start-ups will be oriented towards technological solutions such as apps, exchange platforms, diagnostic tools, therapeutic devices, or preventive medicine supported by artificial intelligence (AI). The program will last nine months and will host Swiss and European companies.
Support for Tokyo store
Since the start on Women’s Day 2021 on March 8, the committee has already chosen two young companies for the program. First, Fermata, with offices in Singapore and Tokyo, is working on increasing awareness around taboos and FemTech for large companies. Their store in Tokyo provides an access point for the general public to discover Femtech products.
Second, the venture fund Joyance Partners supports companies that deliver science-derived moments, during which we feel strong, calm, and joyful. They have already supported companies in several fields related to Femtech, such as Embr Labs, She’s Well, Rosy, Dame, and BioAesthetics.
A win-win partnership
The selected start-ups will benefit from one of the best health ecosystems in Europe. Thanks to EPFL Innovation Park’s strong network, they will be able to access international partnerships and investors. They will also be able to work on pilot projects within Groupe Mutuel and access a dynamic market with one of the leading health insurers in Switzerland.
“Unfortunately, women’s issues are all too often overlooked when developing health-related technology solutions. This partnership aims to fill this gap in Switzerland”, said Thomas Boyer, CEO of Groupe Mutuel. “We look forward to helping unleash the productivity and creativity of 50% of the population through this acceleration program”, concluded Jean-Philippe Lallement, Managing Director of the EPFL Innovation Park.
Text: Martin Fritz for SCCIJ, with material of Tech4Eva