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The Rise of Femtech: Laura McGrath on Leading a Women-Owned Business That’s Making Noise in a Growing Market

6 years ago, Femtech was brand new but today, the industry is sitting at roughly 19 billion euros. It’s quite possibly going to be one of the quickest and biggest growing markets of 2023. It was recently highlighted that although women outspend men by nearly a third on healthcare, there were only a few investments made into women’s healthcare. And we’re not just talking about a single country here, this is on a global scale.  

Lola&Lykke is proud to be one of the female-founded companies standing side by side with other leading industry professionals, to bring more innovative technology and support services to women and new parents. This month we are launching a public funding round to help us achieve our vision for the maternity sector in the women’s healthcare industry. 

Female-owned businesses overcoming challenges

Although there has been a significant increase in women-owned businesses being founded, it is still a drop in the ocean in comparison to male-owned start-ups. Even today, there are still hurdles that only women face on their journey through entrepreneurship. From gender stereotypes to lack of support or self-confidence, the femtech industry is one of the first to be breaking barriers in these less spoken-about issues. These women are carving their paths and creating the blueprint as they go.  

Lola&Lykke founders Laura and Kati looking at each other and smiling

Our own Laura McGrath shares her experience of challenges she faced when entering motherhood and how this led to Lola&Lykke being founded. 

“After becoming mums, we felt completely neglected by service providers, healthcare providers, maternity brands, and the surrounding society. As if by becoming a mother, you yourself had disappeared altogether. Most mums experience some sort of complications around the time of childbirth, be it a traumatic birth, or difficulties in their physical recovery, but the help was simply not out there. Furthermore, we were disappointed with the lack of preparation and real antenatal advice we had been given: as if sugar-coating childbirth was going to make it any easier.  

So, with this apparent gap in supporting women´s reproductive health, we decided that someone ought to exist to look after the well-being of mums and to prepare women for the raw realities of motherhood. Lola&Lykke has created an entirely new category of mum-centric consumer products to revolutionize women’s experiences and has made it its mission to normalize the physical transformation into motherhood and solve new mums’ pain points with innovative and intuitive products.” 

A report published by Unconventional Ventures highlighted just how little venture capital was distributed to female founders in comparison to male founders or mixed teams. Lola&Lykke Founder and CEO, Laura McGrath, says “Lack of investment in women-founded start-ups really is a missed opportunity. It’s important to reverse the misconception that female-led start-ups focus only on products and services that target women.“  

With huge potential in this growing market, it would be naïve to ignore the role that men play in starting a family. Generally, the maternity sector has been received well by male investors as they feel connected to the cause through fatherhood. Lola&Lykke prides itself on supporting parents, mums and dads, throughout their journey through parenthood. To learn more, head over to our blog for topics about “Engaging Fathers” and the “Engaging Fathers, A Guide to Fatherhood” e-guide.  

What women in business need to feel supported 

There is no stronger force than women supporting women. The femtech statistics since the market took off speak for themselves. And with all the fuss, it’s no wonder celebrity figures such as Natalie Portman and Reese Witherspoon have supported the movement and invested in Femtech. But a rise in investment is just the beginning… 

People feel supported when their achievements and successes are celebrated. When others lift them up and give them the praise they needed to hear. Whether it’s a huge milestone or a step on the ladder to achieving the bigger picture, celebrate the small wins and the big ones. It’s impossible to feel doubtful or insecure with that kinda vibe.  

A really simple and selfless way to help women (or anybody in fact) in business is to ask what they need. Extra resources, yep we can help with that. Need a referral or introduction? Set up a meeting over coffee. Need a second opinion on your strategy? Sit down and hash it out together. Be the positive influence others need, as you never know what impact one small act of kindness will have on someone’s success.  

How Lola&Lykke are supporting women-owned start-ups 

Lola&Lykke’s vision is a world where maternal care is safe and accessible for everyone: where mothers do not merely survive but thrive. We prepare and support women in the transition into motherhood. We achieve this through our technology-driven products as well as our range of support services, such as our free online healthcare expert panel advisory service. 

We’re all about “mama first” so it’s only natural that we collaborate with other mums and influencers to drive our business and share a vision for the future. Eva Wahlström, Brand Ambassador and mother to Leon and Elia, has worked closely with our team to design a new breast pump which is due to be launched later this season. As a professional athlete and mother, she resonates with the challenges that motherhood can throw at you and shares the same values we do as a brand.  

Lola&Lykke founders Laura and Kati with Eeva Wahlström

The team at Lola&Lykke strive to build a strong sense of community for the women we want to help and for the women we stand beside in the femtech industry. By supporting mothers in their transition to motherhood and in their recovery, they are also supporting women back into the workplace to follow their aspirations. All whilst keeping the conversation open, honest, and real.  

A trend that we’ve seen in the femtech industry over the last year, is that companies are bundling their services or collaborating to offer a broader range of support for women. We’ve seen the individual successes of female-owned businesses, imagine the triumphs we can accomplish together!  

Real talk with Laura McGrath, Founder & CEO, Lola&Lykke 

What do you think are the biggest struggles for women-owned start-ups? 

Overall, I don´t think our societies or work cultures still encourage women enough to go after major goals or to follow their dreams on a large scale. When we decided to pursue improving maternal health through Lola&Lykke, we had a clear vision of a global, world-leading brand, making a real difference in women´s health. Making this leap was terrifying – but we felt confident that trying to succeed was better than not trying at all. And since then, once the world of opportunities has opened to us, we have grown more and more adamant to succeed in this. I used to look around me before starting this business, and always felt that if someone else could do it; if they could build a hugely successful business, so can I. It´s been this crazy belief that everything is possible if you work hard and smart enough, that´s carried us through the most difficult times. In short, I think we need to show women positive examples of success stories, we need to offer them support and networking opportunities, and we need to encourage women to take more risks in return for a more fulfilling life. 

Tell us how you felt when you received your third award in a row at the Mother&Baby awards 2023 for “Best Breast Pump of the Year”.  

A mum holding a baby and using Lola&Lykke electric breast pump

Receiving the award shows just how much this means to us. It means parents believe in our products and our brand. It means our hard work gets rewarded, and that you really can achieve great things by believing, persevering, and never giving up. 

Being a CEO of a start-up brings very different challenges. What has helped you adapt your leadership style to the different stages of the company? 

Leading a company is an incredible adrenaline rush, and it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. It requires constant adaptability, as well as drive, determination, and resilience. I have always been somebody who delves into the details and likes to understand things fully. But with the challenges presented by funding rounds and the pandemic particularly, I’ve come to recognise that many decisions are based on ambiguity.  Often, there are trade-offs between decisions and not a clear-cut “right or wrong” answer. I have learned to make peace with this. 

How have you seen the femtech ecosystem change since you founded the company? 

The recent boom in femtech has come with a few key trends: we’re all talking more openly about our bodies and wellbeing; technology innovations have meant that women are now in much better control over their own reproductive health; and finally, our perceptions of health and wellness have dramatically changed from one of ‘doctor-patient’ to individuals taking personal control. All this alongside the term ‘femtech’ – which as a category name is extremely useful, as it allows companies and female founders to have more collective power – there’s been a boom in this space. So much so that the projected worth of the femtech market is estimated to hit $50bn by 2025. 

Help us to make a difference in women’s healthcare 

There’s so much more to come in 2023 and we want you to join us on that journey. With your support, we can truly make a difference in the provision and care within the maternity sector for women’s healthcare. When our public funding round goes live later this month, and if you invest in Lola&Lykke, you’re choosing to invest in the care of all women in your life.  

Find out more about investing in Lola&Lykke here. 

by Lola&Lykke Team