Who Won INVEST Digital Health Pitch Perfect 2023?

Femtech was the theme of the INVEST Digital Health Pitch Perfect contest in Dallas this week. Seven companies presented their approaches to addressing women’s health.

From left: Hubert Zajicek, Health Wildcatters CEO and co-founder; Somer Baburek, Hera Biotech CEO and co-founder; and Katie Adams, MedCity News Senior Reporter.

Note: This post has been updated with comments from the judges.

At the MedCity INVEST Digital Health conference in Dallas, held in collaboration with Health Wildcatters, the startup pitch contest known as Pitch Perfect highlighted companies focused on femtech. Seven companies presented their approaches to addressing women’s health from sexual health to pregnancy to menopause.

Company executives presented their businesses and then fielded questions from a panel of judges which included:

Hera Biotech walked away with the winner’s trophy. The company has developed a noninvasive test for early diagnosis and staging of endometriosis, a painful condition in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus – the endometrium – grows outside the uterus. The business was co-founded in 2020 by CEO Somer Baburek, Dr. Paul Castella, the executive chairman, CSO Dr. Bruce Nicholson, and Dr. Nameer Kirma, chair of the advisory board.

When asked how the judges reached their decision, Rupp responded in an email:

“Somer really delivered a power pitch. Hera is — finally — offering solutions to a massively underserved problem for women with endometriosis, which causes pain, fertility issues, mental health challenges and years of wasted time and costs. The company has a compelling business model to support it, with revenue out the door from fertility clinics, while pursuing FDA clearance for future opportunities with OB-GYNs and payers and ultimately offering a pathway for pharma to deliver long-term therapeutic solutions for patients. Somer’s articulate description of the science and the business opportunity packed a punch!”

Goss also highlighted what he liked about Hera. He pointed out that it had strong founder-product fit as well as a dynamic, credible, highly fundable founder.

“[They] have a solid, comparatively less risky business model. I love the linkage to fertility clinics,” he said, “[They] are also clear-eyed about milestones to raise a robust Series A and have strong IP.”

Other companies that took part in the competition include:

The next Pitch Perfect contest will take place at INVEST 2024 in Chicago May 21-22. Look for details on application criteria in the coming weeks!

Photo: Walter Lim