Femtech Roundtable

2nd Thursday of every other month!
4:00 - 5:00pm EST
Our next Roundtable is...

June 13, 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 joined our April 11th roundtable! It was a great discussion on Closing the Women’s Health Gap: A $1 trillion global opportunity to improve lives and economies and $27 billion for the Canadian economy alone by 2040.

We dove into the McKinsey Health Institute’s Women’s Health Gap Report (found here) with Annie-Lou St-Amant and Liza Vityuk, Partner in McKinsey’s Toronto office. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The report reviews over 650 papers, covering 180 interventions related to 64 conditions, and 86% of the global women’s disease burden
  • We discussed myths about women’s health, market opportunities and the path to closing the gap
  • Women live an average of 4 years longer than men but spend 20% longer living with a disability and women-specific conditions are 5% of the global conditions
  • Women are 7 times more likely to be misdiagnosed for heart attack because symptoms have only been studied in men and it takes an average of 12 years to diagnose endometriosis
  • For every dollar you invest in the menopause space, there is a $3 return
  • Key issues: limited understanding of sex-based differences, constrained access to sex-appropriate care, data gaps resulting in women’s health burden being undercounted, and low investment limiting scale of innovation (ex. autoimmune diseases are majority female but only 10% of the national research funding went to women-specific research in that area)


Solutions identified:

  1. Increase awareness of the women’s health gap
  2. Enhance access to sex-appropriate care
  3. Systemically collect and analyze sex-ethnicity-and gender-specific data
  4. Close research gaps in women’s health
  5. Increase funding and incentivize new financing models
  6. Support policies that will advance women’s health

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

Intellectual Property:

  • 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


FemTech Slipsheet – BLG

CIPO – IP Management Clinic for SMEs


The final roundtable of the year included a great discussion with Femtech startups and partners from the ecosystem. Here are the highlights:
We heard from Olivia-Joy Abbott, VP of Science&HumansAngela Johnson, Co-founder and CEO of sanoLivingDanika Kelly, Co-founder and CEO of My NormativeDallas Barnes, Founder and CEO of Raya Health, Susan Stover, Marketing Lead at HyIvy, Rina Carlini, Co-founder and CEO of Healthyher.LifeZindzi Morris-Alleyne, Business Development Representative at InertiaIng Goping, Expert Advisor at Innovation Factory, Nandhini Gopal, Tech-Advisor and Board Member at NeurauraAnas Aljabo, Director of Research & Innovation at SteriPro CanadaAntuanette Gomez, CEO of Peak Pharma LabsKaren Farley, Co-founder of Period Pin, and Ksenia Bezverbnaya, Senior Venture Associate at CCRM.
The October Roundtable featured guest speaker Parambir Bhangu as well as Founders of four amazing femtech companies. Here are the highlights:
  • 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.
The August Roundtable featured guest speakers Annie Theriault of CBIVChristy Prada of Future Fertility, and Roxanne Leduc of Cap Inclusive sharing their thoughts and experiences within the fundraising ecosystem. Here are some highlights:
  • 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
The June Roundtable featured guest speaker Seun Adetunji, the Founder of MedInclude, a new web platform that makes medical information more accessible for patients. Here are some highlights:
  • 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
The last Roundtable featured Steve Fykes the Founder of SnapPea Design. Here are some highlights:
  • 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”
If data-driven decision-making resonates with you check out SnapPea’s online course.

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:

RBCx Slides
Cross Border Impact Ventures Slides

Non-dilutive funding is an important resource for start-up companies. This week we showcased funding opportunities and resources from NGenOBIO, SRED (via Ayming) & Thin Air Labs

Click to download the following resources:

Roundtable #4 Slides

NRC-IRAP Handout

Femtech Canada’s Funding Cheat Sheet

The October Roundtable was FIRE! Shoutout to The Firehood & AIO for facilitating the quick pitch session with 10 inspiring Canadian Femtech companies. Whether you’re looking to make an investment, form a partnership, or are interested in working in Femtech – keep your eye on:
  1. HyIvy, Rachel Batholomew
  2. Marlow, Nadia Ladak
  3. Apricotton, Chloe Beaudoin & Jessica Miao
  4. joni, Linda Biggs
  5. Reya Health, Dallas Barnes
  6. Undu Wearables, Katerine Porter
  7. AIMA Labs, Jocelyne Wessels
  8. Fem Therapeutics, Inara Lalani
  9. Peak Pharm Labs, Antuaneete Gomez
  10. Cosm Medical, Derek Sham

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.

Representation matters

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.

Oh, Canada

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.

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