Do opposites attract? According to Brittany Barreto, a FemTech entrepreneur who launched her career with a DNA-based dating app, the answer is: Yes! In this episode of the Business of the V, Dr. Alyssa Dweck and Rachel Braun Scherl talk with this upstart geneticist about her burgeoning podcast, FemTech Focus, as well as the many ventures she’s helping to cultivate in the FemTech space. With more than 20,000 listeners in 88 countries during its inaugural year (during Covid19 lockdown), Brittany’s podcast platform has made an immediate impact on FemTech as both a business opportunity and critical key to understanding women’s health.
Brittany shares with Dr. Dweck and Rachel her journey from PhD candidate in genetics to her dating app’s meteoric success and (due to a sudden, unavoidable development) heartbreaking failure. Falling back on resilience and creativity, Brittany has reinvented herself and evolved an entirely new career direction. Her podcast, FemTech Focus, provides first-hand insights and incisive advice aimed at thousands of entrepreneurial women whose services and inventions are challenging and changing the FemTech landscape. This lively conversation explores emerging technologies, rapid growth in investor opportunities and the importance of incorporating medical doctors and other hands-on experts in the innovation process – from research and design to marketing and implementation.
Watch the Brittany Barreto Interview
- How Brittany was initially introduced to FemTech.
- A bit about Brittany’s transition from geneticist to entrepreneur.
- Explosive growth for Brittany’s FemTech Focus podcast in its first year.
- Brittany shares background on her first venture, the dating app Pheramour, including fundraising $1.3 million in capital to support the enterprise.
- Due to circumstances beyond her control: New guidelines issued in 2019 made DNA data proprietary, undercutting Pheramor’s viability as a platform.
- Failure as a springboard to new growth and ultimate success.
- Brittany’s transition into the venture capital community in Houston.
- Covid19 offered Brittany the perfect opportunity to pursue an entirely new venture, which has been driven largely by her hugely popular podcast.
- A bit about some of the new companies Brittany’s podcast has featured.
- Brittany highlights the lack of research and background available with regard to women’s bodies in general and the uterus/vagina in particular.
- Theranos as a model of what NOT to do when building businesses in the life sciences space.
- Networking (in particular Clubhouse) opportunities for medical doctors interested in advising/collaborating with life sciences entrepreneurs.
- The growing excitement and interest investors are bringing to FemTech ventures.
- HOTFLASH: Studies indicate that women on birth control pills might make different choices in a mate than they otherwise would were they not using this form of contraception. Why? Researchers believe it has something to do with the odors we find attractive (or not) when the birth control pill eliminates ovulation and alters hormonal balances.
03:14: “I came across FemTech and learned about FemTech innovation for health and women’s wellness and said, ‘Oh my Gosh! That’s me!’ ”
07:28: “Evolutionary principles dictate that the more different your immune systems are the more likely you are to feel physical chemistry. At the end of the day ‘Opposites attract’ is biologically true.”
09:29: “We don’t talk enough about ‘Failure.’ I felt like I had let down every single founder who ever existed.”
18:10: “I see so many startups every day in FemTech … that if an OB-GYN looked for a second they would know that the design is flawed.”
18:53: “At the end of the day you need an MD to check your (invention) before you spend all your savings.”
20:13: “We need these innovations. Let’s not screw it up by not having feedback from doctors.”
21:39: “(Clubhouse) is a safe space for women to have their questions answered.”
24:10: “Women deserve it all – to survive and live but also to thrive. Not just get over cancer but have great sex lives after and comfortable lives.”
Brittany is a geneticist who launched the nation’s first DNA-based dating app (Pheramor). She was subsequently a Senior Venture Associate at Capital Factory, the most active venture fund in Texas. Most recently, she has tapped into the FemTech industry and launched her FemTech Focus podcast, which has gained international traction overnight. Brittany has established a 501c3 non-profit as well as a U.S.-based seed-stage venture fund called Coyote Ventures to invest in stellar FemTech startups!