On Message: ‘Awkward conversations’ Talking FemTech to investors, media and consumers

Madeleine Harris Smith

2017 has been described as the ‘year of Femtech’, with start-ups focusing on innovation in women’s health starting to enjoy an increased profile over the last 12 months.  In this latest episode of MHP’s On Message podcast, host Darika Ahrens is joined by Lisa Kennelly, Andrea Zitna, Giovanna Forte, Paul Armstrong, Madeleine Harris Smith and Christian Pickel to discuss the opportunities and challenges around communicating Femtech to investors, the media and consumers.

In this episode of On Message

Women represent almost half of the population and around 85 per cent of consumer buying power. But until very recently, there has been a lack of both innovation and investment in technology which specifically caters to women’s health and well-being.

The panel discusses the rise of ‘Femtech’ as start-ups race to fill this gap as tech disruptors – and how willing the predominantly male VC and media community is to welcome them. Just how awkward is it having conversations about topics like periods, women’s urine samples and pelvic floor exercises? [Spoiler: it can be pretty awkward!]

Joining us to share their experience and practical advice on how to overcome the awkward moments and tell the Femtech story are:


  • Lisa Kennelly, Director of Marketing at Clue. Clue is the world’s fastest growing period tracking and fertility app. It has attracted over $30 million in investment since the company was founded in 2013.  Clue’s founder, Ida Tin, actually coined the phrase FemTech at Techcrunch Disrupt in 2016
  • Andrea Zitna, Chief Revenue Officer at Elvie. Elvie Trainer is an award-winning pelvic floor trainer that connects to a smartphone app and guides women through workouts to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. Elvie has become one of the UK’s top startups, with over $11 million in funding, including $6.6 million in earlier this year
  • Giovanna Forte, Founder of Forte Medical, Developers of Peezy Midstream. Peezy Midstream was designed to improve the accuracy rates of urine specimen collection for women.  There is currently no protocol or standard for this, and one in four specimens collected using traditional methods is unreliable. The Peezy Midstream medical device delivers 98.5% accuracy and has been used in the NHS for five years
  • Paul Armstrong, a journalist writing for titles like Forbes, with a specialist interest in start-ups and disruption. Paul’s area of expertise is emerging and disruptive technologies and has recently written a book called ‘Disruptive technologies’, published by Kogan Page.

And Madeleine Harris Smith, Senior Account Manager in our Health team, and Christian Pickel, Director in our Financial PR team, who work with clients to communicate effectively with investors, the media and the public alike.

You can read more on this in Paul Armstrong’s review of this podcast on Forbes ‘Why Femtech Shouldn’t Be A Checkbox Exercise For Your Portfolio’


  • MHP’s Digital Strategist, Darika Ahrens, Has 13 years’ experience working in communications, specialising in digital for 11 of those. Before joining MHP, she worked as a digital consultant and as an analyst with Forrester Research where she specialised in the areas of digital marketing and tech innovation. Her work has been featured in the BBC, New York Times, Economist, Guardian and Independent.


On Message is produced by Tom Gillingham and edited by Nick Carter of Mixsonix Audio Production

If you have any thoughts or comments about this podcast do please get in touch via email: contact@mhpc.com