April 11, 2024
Bi-monthly we sit down (virtually) as a community to share our successes, network and hear from leaders within the Femtech Canada network. Our roundtables are open to start ups and individuals/organizations who are passionate about Femtech innovation in Canada. Join us!
Minutes from previous Roundtables
Thank you to those who join our February 8th roundtable! It was a great discussion on IP and regulatory. We had speakers Christine Laviolette, Partner at BLG Toronto and Maya Urbanowicz, Acting director of the IP Awareness and Education Services team at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (canada.ca) join us to discuss the road ahead and resources available. Here are some of the highlights:
- It is always best to consider the health regulatory framework as early as possible. Ask yourself: Is it feasible? Would it work with our regulatory system? How do we comply to maximize our business?
- It is always good to consult with a lawyer and a non-lawyer (Consultant, etc.) to be efficient
- Draft guidance: Pre-market guidance for machine learning-enabled medical devices
- One pager attached
- Prioritizing your IP strategy can attract financing, give you an edge over the competition, help you achieve business goals and secure your market while building a reputation and goodwill with your partners
- IP in Canada must be filed with CIPO
- Femtech Opportunity with CIPO:
- CIPO is launching a join project focusing on Femtech alongside United Kingdom IP Office and World Intellectual Property Office
- The project will include mentorship and training, with one-on-one mentorship with renowned IP experts and networking opportunities
- Parambir Bhangu, Executive Director of External Innovation and Emerging Science from Organon, a global healthcare company with a portfolio of therapies and products in women’s health, biosimilars, and established medicines across a wide array of conditions and diseases. They are currently building a pipeline of strategic investment in medicines and products across a range of areas including reproductive health, heart disease, oncology, immunology, dermatology, allergy, and asthma.
- Founders stories:
- Claire Dixon, Co-founder and CEO of Neuraura, the first effective, widely accessible treatment for PCOS as an over-the-counter, affordable device that augments the body’s natural processes rather than just masking the symptoms.
- Danika Kelly, CEO of MyNormative, a female-focused health platform driving innovation in the health sciences through clinically validated data collection, data management, and analytical processes.
- Nathan Bryson CSO of Reunion Neuroscience, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing therapeutic solutions for underserved mental health conditions. They are working on psychedelic-style experience treatment for depression and female sexual dysfunction.
- Antuanette Gomez, Co-founder and CEO of PeakPharma Labs, offers cannabinoid-based therapies to manage symptoms affecting your sexual health and wellness from conditions like endometriosis, adenomyosis, menstrual pain and pain with intercourse.
- Most startups bootstrap for at least 2 years, 3 years for female founders, and only 2% of funding is going to female founders
- Understand who you’re pitching to: What is their mandate? Do they have a female team member who can vouch for the problem?
- Femtech fundraising in the US has become increasingly difficult ever since the overturning of Roe V. Wade
- Importance of sending quarterly updates to investors and knowing when to walk away if they are trying to negotiate last minute
- Part of your job is educating the trends of the industry. Pitches have more success when using stories or real-life examples rather than an overview of the market’s needs
- If they don’t provide feedback, you can ask, “What results would have been needed for it to be a yes?”
- Some folks are experiencing difficulty closing VC raises and end up going back to Angels who are easier to work with
- Inclusive Innovation helps founders embed the principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) into their organization from the ground up
- Always keeping in mind that your positionality in society impacts the problems you identify and how you solve them
- Understanding the importance of cultural awareness in customer interviews and market research and the impact of lived experience within different communities
- Designing an inclusive product or service involves co-design and co-creation with your target audience
- Hiring for inclusion and gaining a competitive advantage with diversity
- It’s hard for investors/stakeholders to argue with data. If your audience isn’t resonating with a story – prove it to them with data
- Simple market tests (i.e. Facebook ads) can add factual credibility to your argument
- It is possible to test your market and build your product at the same time. Let the market research & data inform incremental developments
- Society has a hard time separating gender/identity from their preconceived notions. Women and minority founders often have their data “fact-checked” instead of being taken at value. We even see this playing out in social media. Check out the “Hank Green Effect”
Part 3 in our fundraising series focused on institutional investors who have a special interest in Femtech. We were honored to have Parneet Dehl, VP of Life Sciences Banking, RBCx; Mona Minhas, Venture Partner, Thrive Venture Fund BDC; Annie Theriault, Managing Partner, Cross Border Impact Ventures join us.
Click to download the following resources:
At the August Roundtable, Femtech founders and aficionados discussed the challenges Femtech companies face in education and awareness building.
Here are the top takeaways from our discussion:
- Use statistics and facts whenever possible
- Be honest about the gaps in research and available information
- Put your material into a context the audience can relate to and dive into the problem details
- Support groups that have women in capital-allocating positions
- Be a part of a start-up community that shares resources
On June 30th, 2022, Femtech Canada kicked off our first roundtable event with a diverse audience of Femtech founders, innovators, researchers, and investors.
We opened the meeting with our origin story, background on our advisory board, and organization goals. Don’t worry if you missed it – we recorded the intro for you!
Here are the highlights from our first discussion!
Femtech Founders are looking for more support in providing education about this nascent industry across the board from customers and patients to government and investors.
How do we measure impact?
Opportunities for innovation, success and the potential impact of the Femtech industry are relatively new and often misunderstood.
Femtech Canada is committed to challenging the status quo of how women of colour, indigenous women, and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community are included in, and accurately served by this industry.
Canadian founders face distinctly Canadian issues such as: conservative investors, managing the massive US market, and building for a diverse, and remote population to name a few. We’re working to answer the question, how can we as a community help each other navigate this?
Show us the money!
Our community expressed the challenges of fundraising and how sharing resources and tips on bootstrapping and connections with investors who are actually interested in Femtech would go a long way.
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Have your voice heard
Interested in being a featured Femtech speaker at our next roundtable? Contact us for more information.