In the dynamic landscape of the medical technology (also known as medtech) industry, innovation is driven not only by cutting-edge technologies but also by the vision and leadership of diverse entrepreneurs. In recent years, a remarkable wave of creativity and expertise has emerged, with female founders making substantial strides in the medtech sector. From revolutionary diagnostic tools to ground-breaking treatment solutions, these entrepreneurs are reshaping the healthcare landscape. In this article, we delve into the narratives of trailblazing women who have founded and spearheaded some of the most promising medtech start-ups in the United Kingdom. Their stories not only highlight the transformative potential of technology in healthcare but also underscore the importance of fostering diversity and inclusivity in the entrepreneurial realm.
We rounded up some of the most exciting top 10 female-led businesses and start-ups in the UK that are shaping the healthcare and wellbeing industry.
Elvie-Elvie is one of the original FemTech companies. They are best known for their first ever silent Elvie Pump for breastfeeding and their award-winning Elvie Trainer, who helps worms strengthen their pelvis via fun five-minute workouts. Founded by Tania Boler, an internationally recognised women’s health expert, they've spent over 10 years developing cutting-edge tech and breaking societal taboos in order to level up women's lives. Tania also has her own podcast called ''Skin Like a Rhino'', where she talks with other ambitious female entrepreneurs about the realities, highs, and lows of working to improve the lives of women everywhere, past, present, and future. Something that resonated with us what Tania said in her blog post in 2017:
‘’I had no experience in tech before starting Elvie. This has probably been good because we focus on solving real problems, not just innovating for the sake of it, but it’s also been a huge learning curve for me… working in tech, running a business, hardware development cycles, securing funding. If I’d known about everything involved I might not have started!’’.
One of the best qualities of a leader in your field is always thinking about the user first and how you can improve their life with your product or service. It’s something most young companies forget due to being rushed to have a finished product.
Proximie- Proximie’s healthcare platform brings together telepresence, content management, and data insights to help hospitals, surgeons, and medical device companies improve patient outcomes and drive productivity. Founded in 2016 by Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram FRCS (Plast), BEM, Proximie is based in London but operates in over 50 countries worldwide. Not only is she a skilled reconstructive plastic surgeon by profession, but she also holds a pivotal role at KHP Ventures and is renowned for her excellence as a TED speaker. These female entrepreneurs are unequivocally leaders to be followed for staying abreast of developments in healthcare and the latest technology. Find out more about how this female founder is shaping the healthcare industry here.
KaNDy Therapeutics Ltd - KaNDy Therapeutics is developing non-hormone treatments to alleviate common menopause symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats. Up to 75% of women experience such symptoms during menopause, with KaNDY achieving positive early-stage clinical results for its daily oral alternative to hormone replacement therapies. With a large market expected to generate in excess of €1 billion a year in sales, Stevenage, UK-based KaNDy was acquired by Bayer in 2020 for some $875 million. Founded by Mary Kerr, this start-up is worth keeping an eye on.
Vira Health- according to Wired press release back in 2022 Vira is one of the hottest start-ups in London. And we are not surprised why. When Andrea Berchowitz and Rebecca Love first met, they bonded over a shared passion to tackle the gender data gap in health care. “Female-focused conditions receive less than 5 percent of health care R&D, women are often not included in clinical trials, and sex-disaggregation of data is not a legal requirement,” she says. In 2020, they founded FemTech start-up Vira Health and, a year later, launched Stella, an app that currently offers lifestyle and behaviour change advice for menopause, and will soon include telemedicine and access to regulated hormone replacement therapy. In March 2022, Vira Health raised $12 million in a second round of funding led by Octopus Ventures.
Acurable- wearable medical devices. The story of their technology started in 2004 when the medical director of the UK National Society for Epilepsy asked Acurable’s founder, Professor Esther Rodriguez-Villegas, to use her pioneering ultra low power microelectronics design techniques to develop an apnoea monitoring technology. The aim was to prevent Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), which kills up to 1000 people a year in the UK alone. Since its founding in 2016, the company has been moving rather quickly forward with its development. They have an amazing history on their website, which you should check out to see what has happened since then. It also serves as a helpful reminder for start-ups that their invention may take longer than anticipated, so keep moving forward.
Carcinotech- Scottish based company that manufactures 3D printed living tumours developed from patient-specific cancer stem cells, primary cells, and established cell lines. Founded by Ishani Malhotra this company is one of the most exciting medtech start-ups led by female. With many awards in her hands, she is definitely one of the rising stars in the science and medtech space.
BrightSign- the only sign language glove in the world that can translate any sign into any spoken language - instantly. Founded by Hadeel Ayoub in London, this start-up aims to give voice to whose who can’t speak. With the use of cutting-edge technology, the company model is designed to have an impact on society and the community.
R.grid- established by Dr. Amber Michelle Hill, R.grid specializes in the development of machine learning-driven software tailored for healthcare research and development. The management of clinical trials in medical institutions and research settings is a resource-intensive task, involving substantial time and financial investments. Given the intricate nature of the sector, characterized by heavily regulated stages and diverse stakeholders, much of this work is traditionally executed manually and relies on paper-based processes. R.grid aims to optimize and simplify the intricate landscape of medical research and patient engagement. The company employs an AI-powered, cloud-based system to automate these processes, enhancing overall efficiency and concurrently reducing associated costs.
Talking Medicines- another inspiring female founded company based in Scotland. Jo Halliday is an award-winning CEO and entrepreneur. Having worked for FTSE brands including Coca-Cola, Grand Met and Jim Beam, Jo co-founded Talking Medicines, the world's first patient intelligence company designed to meet the needs of pharma. By structuring and translating the patient’s voice on social media into actionable intelligence, it helps pharma deliver a greater return on investment for marketing, and better health outcomes for patients.
Jennis- Jennis is a women’s hormonal health platform built by Olympic gold medallist, Jess Ennis-Hill. Through their celebrated education platform, they give millions of women the hormone intelligence and tools to improve their health and body literacy at every life stage.
These trailblazing women not only demonstrate the transformative potential of technology in healthcare but also emphasize the need for diversity and inclusivity in entrepreneurship. As we celebrate their achievements, we're reminded that the future of medtech is being shaped by the innovation, resilience, and leadership of these remarkable female entrepreneurs.