Femtech is a small but growing industry of products and services for women’s health, ranging from wellness tech to biotech and medtech. In this event, we explore the arc of women’s health in the United States from research to startup funding while also hearing from 15 global companies building femtech solutions. The event also features a look into the historical policies that have built the current US ecosystem and provides insight into the future trends, opportunities, and challenges for the industry.
“Fostering Equity in Women’s Health” is hosted by Swissnex and its partner Tech4Eva, a Swiss FemTech startup acceleration program, based at EPFL Innovation Park, for companies developing innovative solutions to improve women’s health technologies. The event will open with commentary and remarks by experts and policy-makers from the Swiss ecosystem, followed by two femtech startup lightning rounds and two expert panels.
Program (Eastern Time)
- Please Note: 10:00 am in Boston = 4:00 pm in Switzerland
10:00 am – Welcome & Introduction
- Benjamin Bollmann, CEO, Swissnex in Boston and New York
- Martina Hirayama, Switzerland’s State Secretary for Education, Research, and Innovation
10:07 am – Introduction Tech4Eva Program
- Lan Zuo Gillet, Deputy Managing Director, EPFL Innovation Park, and Co-Director Tech4Eva
- Ksenia Tugay, Strategic Innovation, Groupe Mutuel
10:15 am – Tech4Eva Growth-Stage Startup Pitches
- Impli (United Kingdom, Fertility & Pregnancy, IoT/Wearables)
- Metabolomic Diagnostics (Ireland, Fertility & Pregnancy, Diagnostics)
- MOMM Diagnostics (Switzerland, Fertility & Pregnancy, Diagnostics)
- MUVON Therapeutics (Switzerland, Wellness, Therapeutics)
- Preglife (Sweden, Fertility & Pregnancy, Application Software/Mobile Apps)
- Testmate Health (Switzerland, Women’s Medicine, Diagnostics)
- Viveca Biomed (United Kingdom, Wellness, Medical Devices)
- WOOM (Spain, Women’s Medicine, AI services and Data Analysis)
- Alicia Evangelista, Head of Innovation, Swissnex in Boston
10:25 am – Panel I “Towards Equity in Women’s Health Research”
- Matthias Egger, President of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, and Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Bern
- Alicia Evangelista, Head of Innovation, Swissnex in Boston
- Roxana Mehran, Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai
- Nicole Woitowich, Research Assistant Professor, Northwestern University
- Christa Moss, VP of Clinical & Payer Strategy at Maven Clinic
11:15 am – Tech4Eva Growth-Stage Startup Pitches
- Annaida Technologies (Switzerland, Fertility & Pregnancy, Medical Devices)
- Aspivix (Switzerland, Fertility & Pregnancy, Medical Devices)
- Breathe Ilo (Austria, Fertility & Pregnancy, Monitoring Equipment)
- Embr Labs (United States of America, Menopause, IoT/Wearables)
- Fizimed (France, Wellness, IoT/Wearables)
- GalsBio (Israel, Period Health, Monitoring Equipment)
- GynTools (Israel, Women’s Medicine, Diagnostics)
- Alicia Evangelista, Head of Innovation, Swissnex in Boston
11:25 am – Panel II “Finding Investment in the USA and The Road to an IPO”
- André Kudelski, Chairman of the Board, Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse, and Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group
- Brittany Barreto, Co-Founder, Coyote Ventures & Femtech Focus
- Elizabeth Gazda, CEO, Embr Labs
- Alice Zheng, Principal, Rhia Ventures
- Emi Gonzalez, Investment Partner, Joyance Partners & Ataraxia
- Oriana Papin-Zoghbi, CEO and Co-Founder, AOA Inc.
12:00 am – Closing Remarks
- Alicia Evangelista, Head of Innovation, Swissnex in Boston
Martina HirayamaSwitzerland's State Secretary for Education, Research, and Innovation
Martina Hirayama is Head of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation (SERI) at the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.
Martina Hirayama studied Chemistry at the ETH Zurich, the University of Fribourg, and Imperial College London, graduating from ETH Zurich with a doctorate in technical sciences (Dr. sc. Techn). She went on to do postgraduate studies in Business Economics at the ETH Zurich, and completed her thesis in 1997. She then worked in the ETH Zurich’s Department of Materials, becoming head of the Polymer Chemistry Group in 2001. During this time, Ms Hirayama co-founded a start-up in new coating technologies, and was CEO of the company until 2008.
In 2003 she began lecturing in Industrial Chemistry at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences Winterthur ZHW (now ZHAW), where she developed and headed the field of polymer materials and obtained her professorship. From 2007 to 2010 she developed the ZHAW’s Institute of Materials and Process Engineering. From 2011 to 2018 she was Director of the ZHAW School of Engineering, a member of the university’s executive board and from 2014 head of International Affairs.
From 2012 to 2018 Martina Hirayama was president of the board of the Federal Institute of Metrology METAS, from 2011 to 2018 vice president of the Innovation Promotion Agency Innosuisse board (until 2017 the Commission for Technology and Innovation) and from 2016 to 2018 a member of the Swiss National Science Foundation board. She was also on the boards and executive committees of several other organizations, namely the Swiss Study Foundation, the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW, the Zurich Chamber of Commerce, and the Kuratorium of the Freiburger Materialforschungszentrum at the Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg (Germany). Moreover, she acted as an expert for the National Research Fund Luxembourg (FNR) and the European Commission.
Matthias EggerPresident of the National Research Council at the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
Matthias Egger is the President of the National Research Council at the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Since 2002, Matthias Egger has been a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Bern. Until 2016, he headed the university’s Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine. He has also been a Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol in the UK since 2002. In 2017 he was elected President of the National Research Council of the SNSF. Between April and July 2020, he led the scientific task force advising the Swiss government on the COVID-19 pandemic. He is currently working on projects involving vaccination against Ebola, studies on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and cancer in southern Africa, as well as methodological projects.
André KudelskiChairman of the Board, Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse, and Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group
André Kudelski is President of the Board of Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency whose role is to promote science-based innovation in the interests of industry and society in Switzerland. He also serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Kudelski Group, a leading technology company listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SIX: KUD:S). As part of a Swiss delegation to the White House in 2015, the Kudelski Group committed to introducing its successful Swiss apprenticeship program to its U.S. facilities, and in 2018, the Group signed the Pledge to America’s Workers, committing to provide training opportunities over the next five years. Mr. Kudelski started his career with the Group in 1984 as a Research and Development engineer and in 1989 became Managing Director of Nagravision, its pay-TV division. In 1991, he succeeded his father to the position of Chairman and CEO. In addition, André Kudelski serves as Vice-Chairman of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Groupe. He is a member of the Strategic Advisory Board of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) as well as a committee member of economiesuisse and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL). He is also a member of the Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences and a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
Previously, Mr. Kudelski served as Vice-Chairman of the Geneva International Airport and on the boards of directors of Nestlé SA, HSBC Private Banking Holdings (Suisse), Edipresse SA and Dassault Systèmes SA.
André Kudelski holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Applied Physics from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and has also received honors, including as a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum in 1995 and an Emmy® Award from the US National Academy of Arts and Sciences for achievements in the area of pay-TV conditional access and scrambling systems in 1996. He is a regular speaker at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland and the Science and Technology in Society Forum in Kyoto, Japan.
Benjamin BollmannCEO, Swissnex in Boston and New York
Benjamin is the CEO of Swissnex in Boston and New York. He was previously Deputy CEO at Swissnex in San Francisco, where he launched interdisciplinary programs spanning from science communication to humanitarian action and human rights in the digital age. Before joining Swissnex in 2015, he worked as a journalist and communication specialist at the intersection of science, data, and design in Switzerland. Benjamin is a graduate of ETH Zurich and has conducted neuroscience and AI research at MIT.
Alicia Evangelista, PhDHead of Innovation, Swissnex in Boston
As Head of Innovation, Alicia works to connect Switzerland’s startups, innovation-driven companies, and foundations with game-changing partners and ideas in the US. Prior to joining Swissnex, Alicia worked in technology transfer at the National Institutes of Health, and as an open innovation consultant at yet2 in the Boston area. Alicia holds a PhD in Molecular Medicine from Boston University and a BS in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia.
Lan Zuo GilletDeputy Managing Director, EPFL Innovation Park, and Co-Director Tech4Eva
Lan Zuo Gillet is the Deputy Managing Director of EPFL Innovation Park and an Expert of Innosuisse – the Swiss Innovation Agency. She has 23 years of hands-on professional experience in the industry as well as in the ecosystem of innovation & entrepreneurship.
Lan started her career at R&D department of Rolex, in charge of creating new computer aided design and optimization tools in the product development process. She was later appointed as Head of Operational Planning at Pictet, working closely with a startup to design, develop and implement a management information system for group operation control. As the Managing Director of Geneva Creativity Center, she connected large corporations, SMEs, startups, and researchers to initiate innovative joint R&D projects.
Currently, at EPFL Innovation Park, she is leading entrepreneurship training and acceleration programs and is helping startups to establish business partnerships with large corporations. Lan has a PhD degree from EPFL, an MBA from HEC Lausanne, and postdoctoral applied research experience at Stanford University.
Ksenia TugayStrategic Innovation, Groupe Mutuel
Ksenia Tugay is a Strategic Innovation Expert at Groupe Mutuel, a leading Swiss Health Insurance. Apart from leading Tech4Eva, Ksenia is responsible for identifying start-ups, trends, and best practices of strategic interest to Groupe Mutuel. Ksenia holds PhD in Life Sciences from the University of Lausanne. Her PhD was dedicated to Type 2 Diabetes, Genetics, and Ageing. After completing her PhD, Ksenia has joined Inartis Foundation and was instrumental in launching the first edition of the MassChallenge startup acceleration program in Switzerland. Throughout her career, Ksenia worked with key Swiss startup accelerators and incubators in Switzerland including Impact Hub and Swiss EdTech Collider.
Panel 1: Toward Equity in Women’s Health Research
Roxana MehranProfessor of Medicine (Cardiology) Population Health Science and Policy
Roxana Mehran, MD, FACC, FACP, FCCP, FESC, FAHA, MSCAI; Mount Sinai Professor in Cardiovascular Clinical Research and Outcomes; Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Population Health Science and Policy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is an internationally renowned interventional cardiologist and clinical research expert in the field of cardiovascular disease. She has built a globally-respected academic research center focused on developing randomized clinical trials and has served as principal investigator for numerous global studies, developed risk scores for bleeding and acute kidney injury, participates regularly in developing clinical guidelines, and has authored >1,000 peer-reviewed articles. Dr Mehran is a current member of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Board of Trustees and is a founder and Chief Scientific Officer of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF). She has been included for three consecutive years in Clarivate Analytics: “Most Cited Researchers – Top 1%” as well being included in “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” (Thomson Reuters). In 2019, she founded Women as One, dedicated to advancing opportunities for women in medicine.
Dr Mehran is currently leading the Lancet Commission on Women’s Cardiovascular Diseases, which brings together leading female researchers from around the world who have clinical expertise in cardiovascular medicine to identify and bridge gaps in research and care for women with cardiovascular disease.
Dr Mehran is a recipient of several awards including the 2016 American College of Cardiology Bernadine Healy Leadership in CV disease award, the 2018 Nanette Wenger Award from Women’s Heart for excellence in research and education, the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the 2019 ESC Silver Medal and Andreas Grüntzig Lecture plaque.
Nicole WoitowichCenter Administrator and Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University
Nicole C. Woitowich, PhD is a biomedical scientist whose research, interests, and passion focuses on women’s health and the advancement of women in science and medicine. She is actively transforming the landscape of the biomedical research enterprise through her research, advocacy, and outreach activities.
Christa MossVP of Clinical & Payer Strategy at Maven Clinic
Christa Moss is Maven’s VP of Clinical & Payer Strategy, leading Maven’s Clinical Strategy and Research & Outcomes team to drive improved outcomes through Maven’s digital-first care model, in addition to working closely with payers and other healthcare partners.
She joined Maven after spending 8+ years at McKinsey & Company, where she served as a Senior Expert and Associate Partner in the Cleveland Office. At McKinsey, she was a leader in the Healthcare Systems and Services (HSS) practice and McKinsey Healthcare Analytics. During her time there, Christa developed significant expertise in the areas of maternal health, value-based care, Medicaid, and healthcare analytics — leading the design of maternity episodes of care across multiple payers and state Medicaid programs, including innovations such as the incorporation of social determinants of health in risk adjustment models as well as neonatal outcomes in quality assessment. Christa also led maternal health work in the private equity space.
Prior to her work at McKinsey, Christa started her career in clinical research, receiving her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University. She also has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and she now lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband and two young daughters.
Panel 2: Finding Investment in the USA: The Road to IPO
Elizabeth GazdaCEO Embr Labs
Elizabeth Gazda is the CEO of Embr Labs, a Boston-based wearables company that developed the Embr Wave – a wrist-worn, thermal therapeutic that improves sleep, relieves anxiety and helps with hot flashes. Prior to Embr Labs, Liz was a member of several founding teams including Doni, a fintech company, and Noteflight, a music technology company and has also worked at a number of Boston’s fastest growing companies, including m-Qube (acq. Verisign) and unicorn Art Technology Group (acq. Oracle). Liz began her career with Philips Consumer Electronics in the Netherlands, where she was responsible for driving innovation in several business divisions across multiple countries.
Elizabeth received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and International relations from UC Berkeley where she was also a member of the Women’s Varsity Soccer team. She also holds an International MBA from Nijenrode University in the Netherlands and an Executive Coaching degree from William James College. Elizabeth serves as a board member and advisor to several start-up companies in Boston and London
Alice ZhengPrincipal, Rhia Ventures
Alice Zheng has been a women’s health enthusiast throughout her career spanning global health, clinical medicine, and the private sector. She is currently a Principal at Rhia Ventures, a women’s health-focused impact fund, leading investments in innovative women’s health companies. Alice was previously a women’s health practice leader and management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she served biopharma, diagnostics, global public health, and private equity clients across R&D and commercial strategy topics.
Earlier in her career, Alice’s passion to improve lives for the underserved led her to work in East Africa and Asia in reproductive health and family planning with EngenderHealth, Marie Stopes International, and other nonprofits. As a clinician, she focused on women’s health globally and published articles examining healthcare in low-income countries.
Alice holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and MD and MPH from the University of Michigan, where she was a Dean’s Merit Scholar. Alice is a frequent speaker on FemTech and women’s health innovation and is a steering committee member for multiple women’s health innovation forums.
Emi GonzalezInvestment Partner, Joyance Partners & Ataraxia
Entrepreneur, investor, world-traveler, scientist, and running-enthusiast living in Boston, MA. Harvard University ’18 graduate in Molecular Biology with a secondary in Global Health.
Oriana Papin-ZoghbiCEO and Co-Founder, AOA Inc.
Oriana has global experience creating and leading teams and organizations resulting in successful strategic exits. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from women’s health startups and large life science companies, and a passion for entrepreneurship and solving problems that disproportionately affect women. Recognized for her inspirational leadership, Oriana is known for developing a highly productive culture and turning visions into reality.
Alongside her leadership qualities, Oriana has a proven technical record of creating market entry strategies and product launches in new markets alongside driving market share growth in existing diagnostic assay and instrument markets. Oriana is responsible for building and leading the AOA team, fundraising, and developing and executing long-term strategies. Oriana holds a degree from Boston University in Economics and International Relations, and she has experience both living and working in various geographies.
Brittany BarretoCo-founding Partner Coyote Ventures
Brittany Barreto is a geneticist who launched the first nationwide DNA-based dating app (Pheramor). The company ultimately closed but she learned a lot! Next, she was Senior Venture Associate at Capital Factory, the most active venture fund in Texas. she was tasked with opening their Houston branch and had a blast doing it. In 2019 she discovered an industry called FemTech and learned about the grave inequalities in women’s health. In March 2020, during the covid-19 lockdown, she started a FemTech podcast and gained international traction overnight. Now she talks about vulvas full time via her 501c3 non-profit, FemTech Focus! She launched a US-based seed-stage venture fund called Coyote Ventures and advise other women’s health funds on investing in stellar FemTech startups
Organized in collaboration with Tech4Eva, a Swiss FemTech startup acceleration program founded by EPFL Innovation Park and Groupe Mutuel, and its partners.