This story appears in the August/September 2022 issue of Forbes Magazine. Subscribe
With Amazon’s $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical the stakes continue to rise for the future of mass-market primary care. With traditional pharmacy leaders, Walgreen’s and CVS, expanding virtual and in-person care, while Amazon and Walmart leverage their footprints and subscription models—the frontline healthcare wars are heating up.
But if you only look at what big-box brands, providers and payers are building and acquiring, you’d be missing the wave of entrepreneurial ventures rebooting this multi-trillion-dollar market. From incubators like Matter to emerging growth companies like Viome, Betr Health, homethrive, Revieve and FemTec Health, the landscape is shifting towards more holistically personalized health, beauty and wellness alternatives.
Many of these ventures are flipping business models with new innovative solutions, and even before Web3 arrives, putting more power in the hands of the people. FemTec Health, for example, has a unique mission to become a data driven personalized health, beauty and wellness brand for women—and they are moving fast.
The company’s CEO, Kim (Kimon) Angelides, has been disrupting healthcare for decades, building companies like Livongo, which was acquired by TelaDoc soon after its multi-billion dollar IPO. He has been on a role with FemTec—quickly rolling up a slew of companies, including Birchbox, Liquid Grids, Mira Beauty, Nutrimedy and AvaWomen—and it seems he is just getting started.
As a co-founding board member of 1871 and Chairman of Revieve, I admire ventures that invest in taking personalization to the next level—especially for women. I invited Kim to join me for an episode of The Reboot Chronicles podcast, to get the inside scoop on the company and find out why most employees do not like their health care provider. You can watch it here on Forbes or listen wherever you get your podcasts.
An All Women Team
With a growing platform of over ten million members, and a female led executive team, the company is well on its way to a few hundred employees. With global private equity groups and companies like Walgreens and Unilever invested, they are on a mission to take the category to the next level of mass-market leadership.
Course Correcting Industry Norms
FemTec saw the need to create a single destination for women’s care. “I saw the sort of inequities in women’s health” he says, “and the fact that the VC market got really interested in women’s health. Unfortunately, what they did was, they broke it up, they fragmented and started investing in little solutions, and certainly like fertility, menopause and pregnancy. Where would a woman actually get care in one place, a single destination was really the challenge. So it’s been a great area to be in and that’s why we got into it.”
Personal Holistic Solutions
Leveraging a consumer segment centered around online engagement and communities, FemTec offers women a platform with end-to-end experiences. With other companies focusing on market components, they have been able to offer a broader approach. “We really didn’t want to build something that just spoke to the reproductive machinery but something broader than that. We focused on journeys and not age, as women could go between lots of different journeys. For example, hormone balance might be accompanied by services for sexual wellness.”
“Building it around journeys, real life things where women could build an ecosystem of products and services that actually spoke to that journey, that particular stage or state of their life that they were in, rather than saying, oh, well, you’re 40 or 50, you need to have this stuff.”
From Self Care to Health Care
Although industry leaders have tried to capitalize on aspects that bring communities together, few have extended that further to avenues that will bring about wholesome experiences for women. “Beauty as I’ve learned, is a purely transactional type of business where they buy products for self care. Why not extend that sort of transaction from self-care to health care?”
When others in healthcare wondered why beauty as a category, Kim was able to see a broader picture. “That’s the community where they really can understand and that’s a community that you can actually start to expand and introduce things that they start talking about.
We built a platform that can be built on journeys, and that we could create both an ecosystem of products that spoke to a woman at that particular stage and services that supported her.”
Pandemic market shifts in health, beauty and wellness have led to a new consumer mentality that reflects an emergence of proactive versus reactive approach in these core categories. Seizing these opportunities—like marrying healthcare and beauty—to offer more bespoke solutions to women, seems core to the business success model. “I believe it’s doable” Kim says when it comes to offering individual formulas made to one’s biology.”
A Passion for a Data Driven Businesses
Scaling one-to-one bespoke solutions can be facilitated by a data driven approach, but the inputs have to be data rich. The very launch of this company was based on millions of records of medical claims data. Helping identify predictors of certain conditions like osteoporosis or endometriosis based on data could be huge.
“What sort of products and what sort of services can you actually offer to alter the trajectory? How do you do this so that the individual doesn’t get to that particular state? It has been incredibly exciting to be able to take datasets, and find out with some degree of 95 to 98% confidence that you can actually provide products and an early intervention. That’s a big deal.”
As to what he envisions for the future, Kim says his dream is that there’s no delineation of selfcare and beauty products from healthcare; instead offer an unsegmented experience. “If what we typically think are consumer products, can become part of that healthcare experience—that employers as well as health plans actually recognize—it would be a dream come true!”
My bet is Amazon, Walmart, CVS, Walgreen’s, and other leading brands and retailers—who sell all those consumer products—like that dream a lot.