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‘I hope to inspire more women to start businesses or simply to take a first step towards better health’ – Lindsay Davis [Interview]

Article-‘I hope to inspire more women to start businesses or simply to take a first step towards better health’ – Lindsay Davis [Interview]

Women in Nutrition interview: Lindsay Davis
Lindsay Davis is the founder of the FemTech Association of Asia (FAA), the region’s first professional association that supports femtech founders, professionals, and investors.

A US native who lived in London for over 10 years holding director positions in the luxury sector, Davis relocated to Singapore in 2020 where she founded One Bee Consulting, a firm focusing on business transformation and high-value customer strategy.

She is also the founder of the FemTech Association of Asia (FAA), the region’s first professional association for femtech founders, professionals, and investors. The FemTech Association of Asia now counts over 40 member companies across nine countries, operating in categories ranging from menstrual care to sexual health; menopause to reproductive care; employee benefits to support communities; and more.

We caught up with Davis to find out more about her professional journey.

What brought you to Singapore and what inspired you to set up the FemTech Association of Asia?

“In 2010, I was recruited by a luxury brand in Europe to run its global expansion. Managing 60 international offices required extensive travel and I was always particularly energised by the rapid growth and innovation I observed throughout Asia. So, after over 15 years in the US and UK, I relocated to Asia to establish my own firm, One Bee Consulting.

“One of my early briefs focused on corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in Singapore to recruit, retain, and develop women in executive roles. I came across the term femtech in my research and wanted to learn more, but there was no organisation representing the women’s health and technology industry in Asia.

“Therefore, I founded the FemTech Association of Asia as the gateway to the industry in Asia, driving advancement in available, accessible, and affordable healthcare for every woman. As femtech experts in the region, we provide startups, corporates, and investors with insights, advisory, strategic partnerships, professional development, and a far-reaching professional network.”

How important is diversity and inclusion to the FemTech Association of Asia, and what work do you do to make this reality?

“As a region, Asia has so much diversity and variability from country to country, from the access to and quality of healthcare systems; values and preferences; cultural nuances; costs of living; and education. Each market has its own unique, local requirements that femtech entrepreneurs integrate into their services and products.

“Healthcare is a very personal journey. We respect and reflect on the needs of all individuals and aim to inspire solutions that allow for options and ownership. We are proud that FemTech Association of Asia was named a 2022 Finalist in the Global Inclusion Online Forum Business Inclusivity Awards, recognised for the work we do following our four key pillars: thought leadership, programming, amplification, and community-building.”

Do female femtech entrepreneurs in Asia face specific challenges compared to other regions?

“Women’s health globally has historically been under-researched, underserved, and underfunded. We would like to see more investment in women’s healthcare research and development, which currently accounts for only 4% of overall R&D funding, according to Accenture.

“With technology bringing more economical solutions; femtech brands building broader ecosystems; and [...] telehealth becoming the norm, women are starting to find solutions that work for their particular needs.

“Our members are doing a great job building awareness of women’s healthcare needs and educating consumers - and investors. Even with investor awareness, however, the funding of femtech businesses is a challenge. In 2022, DealStreetAsia reported that there was no female decisionmaker at 77% of southeast Asia-headquartered venture firms.

“If we compare to the US where female founders secure only 2% of venture capital, we can assume Asia has a similar statistic. [...] gender bias is present in fundraising, so we continue to support more diversity among investors.”

What piece of practical advice would you give to a woman thinking of starting her own business in Asia?

“Firstly, start with research to understand the market and target audience. Secondly, build a problem-led company: value comes from solving a meaningful problem for customers. And, finally, focus on customer experience. There are so many amazing businesses in Asia, so an exceptional customer experience is a key point of differentiation.

Do you have a female role model that inspires you in your work?

“Within the femtech community, the founder and CEO of Maven Clinic, Kate Ryder, is an incredible leader, inspiring the industry with the creation and ongoing success of this virtual clinic for women's and family health. It is the first female health tech unicorn, and she also has a positive voice for women’s healthcare and rights.

“As a general motto, I like Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s quote, ‘Well behaved women seldom make history.’ The quote itself has an interesting history, but at face value, it reminds me to model my leadership after the many strong women who paved the way for me to have more choices in life. I hope through the FemTech Association of Asia, we inspire more women to start businesses or simply to take a first step towards better health.”