There are big opportunities in the era of Femtopia
Silicon Valley has been ridiculed for its infamous culture of “Brotopia.” But major cultural shifts are ushering in an era of Femtopia. The term Brotopia en capsulates the chauvinistic and fratty culture (often disguised as a “meritocracy”) amplified by some Silicon Valley startups. To me, Femtopia is the exact opposite.
Generations of educated, financially savvy and secure, confident, highly-skilled women are now taking the reins as business leaders and transforming their role as consumers. This represents a major opportunity for both startups and investors. I’ll share a bit about one investment I’ve made in this category, and why I’m confident we’ll fund more.
I was sitting in the audience at YCombinator Demo Day when I first learned about Carrot Fertility. Carrot works with medium and large employers to provide fertility benefits to their employees.
I already knew anecdotally this was a growing sector. I saw it all around, as friends navigated the egg freezing process and new startups emerged like Modern Fertility, Future Family, and more. Personally, my husband and I had just decided we were going to start our own family, so I was hyper-tuned in to the topic. My firm Maven Ventures invested in Carrot almost immediately, and the industry continues to experience massive growth.
This isn’t just about fertility. For me, the Carrot investment was a direct result of a much broader trend we’d been following at Maven for a while: a massive tidal wave of the financial and professional independence of women, or, the rise of Femtopia. I expect this will have major financial, cultural, and demographic implications.
I felt my anecdotal experience was encouraging but not sufficient. So, I started looking for data. The rise of Femtopia is rooted in major changes to families, education, and finance.
Families: Women are getting married later, or choosing not to get married at all.
For 100 years, the age of first marriage for women effectively didn’t change, hovering between 20 and 22. Then, over the last 40 years, it jumped dramatically from 22 to 27. As a result, 10 years ago, for likely the first time in history, there were more single women in the US than married. That balance continues to shift, with the percentage of single women inching up annually, as further covered in the 2016 book on this topic, “All The Single Ladies.” The age women are having children is similarly rising, resulting in growth across the fertility care sector. The traditional American family structure is being impacted in other ways as well: as people marry later in life, we’re seeing an increase in interfaith marriages, one of the factors leading to an overall decline in religion. While religion used to be a pillar of many families, this community support network is loosening, and families must now fulfill this need in other ways… Read more…