The imbalanced landscape of hormonal health

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

For this week’s deep dive, Alex, Natasha and Chris dug into the world of hormonal health, a sub-sector within the massive (and booming) world of digital health.

The show was inspired by Natasha’s latest Extra Crunch piece: “Hormonal Health is a massive opportunity: Where are the unicorns?”. To round out the show, we asked one of the featured founders, Dr. Elizabeth Ruzzo, to hop on the mic and help us understand if hormonal health is at its infancy, or at an inflection point, in tech.

The tl;dr before we hop into the show is that hormones — while constantly evolving and changing — are center node for a ton of health conditions that disproportionately impact women. These can include mental health issues, infertility, diabetes and more. If you’re someone interested in the world of digital health and always read about the Ros and Hinge Healths of the ecosystem, this episode will teach you what else there is that deserves equal — if not more — attention.

Here’s what we got into:

  • We started with landscaping! We defined the term “hormonal health” and got a sense of market size, as to show the opportunity there is to innovate here right now.
  • Ruzzo walked us through the opportunity in pro-active medicine, as well as how investors reacted to her pitch when she was first raising her seed round.
  • We ping-ponged around different reasons as to why hormonal health is an underserved category, starting with stigma and ending with stigma.
  • This post from a set of venture capital investors discusses the market opportunity that women’s health may have for founders and VCs alike.
  • Then we got into Modern Fertility’s acquisition by Ro, and why Ruzzo and many in the digital health community were surprised at the outcome. That said, it’s still one of the rare exits, and as far as unicorns go, there are virtually no companies valued at over $1 billion that focus explicitly on women’s hormonal health.
  • Shifting gears, the trio turned to startups working on PCOS, one of the most common hormonal conditions out there that impacts one in 10 women. Former Ro director Rachel Blank announced today that she is starting a company in this world, Allara.
  • To round out the conversation we touched on the recent Veera venture capital round, and closed with a short discussion concerning the the term “femtech” and why it’s not so good.

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