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In a Hot Flash, Menopause Market Soars

Published July 30, 2023
Published July 30, 2023
Jens Lindner via Unsplash

With the oldest Gen Xers pushing 60, millennials reaching past 40, and even social media–obsessed Gen Z consumers hitting their late 20s, virtually every consumer product category—from skincare to footwear to leisurewear—is being forced to wrestle with how best to “grow up” alongside their customer base. Nowhere has this generational shift been more pronounced than in the beauty sector. Over the past several years—fueled primarily by TikTok and DIY pandemic trends—Gen Z and millennials have been some of the biggest drivers defining the beauty market, creating demand for new products and driving innovation across the sector. But, as all of us eventually do, even these demos are getting older. Add to that an enormous subset of vocal and outspoken Gen X consumers who are nearing, in the thick of, or moving past menopause and you can understand why there’s been an explosion of female-friendly menopause-focused products that are quickly becoming the next big wellness and beauty trend.

More than 1 million women in the United States experience menopause annually, and with projections of 1.1 billion postmenopausal women worldwide by 2025, there is a monumental market opportunity ripe for the taking. Conservative estimates show the menopause market will be $16 billion by 2025 (CB Insights) and $24.4 billion by 2030 (Grand View Research). As a result, a fast-growing universe of products has emerged over the last few years designed to alleviate an entire spectrum of menopause symptoms—from cosmetic changes (hair thinning and dry skin) to physical ailments (cholesterol, joint pain, and hot flashes) and mental health challenges (insomnia, depression, and anxiety).

Much of the frenzy around new menopause products has been driven by high-profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore, Serena Williams, and others who are outspoken about aging gracefully and don’t shy away from tough topics. And people are listening. Savvy entrepreneurs and investors have all taken notice, with start-ups raising more than $100 million from health tech investors in the past few years. Women investors, in particular, are playing a lead role, with venture funding for “femtech” surpassing $1 billion for the first time in 2021 and it hasn’t yet cooled. Even legacy skincare brands are recognizing the opportunity and are frantically expanding R&D efforts and product offerings to meet the needs of women as they age up.

The corporate world and local governments are also jumping into the fray. In the UK, where menopausal women are believed to be the fastest-growing workplace demographic, the Parliament is calling for new women-friendly office policies, including training about menopause symptoms and physical accommodations like desk fans and breathable uniforms. More than 50 workplaces have now been certified as “menopause-friendly” across the pond, and even New York’s mayor has pledged to “change the stigma around menopause.”

The menopause market is vast. Telehealth start-up services are gaining popularity with brands like Evernow, Peppy, Vira Health, Elektra Health, and Maven Clinic all designed to close the gap in medical care that women are experiencing. Many are backed by notable celebrities and have raised significant funding to date, like Maven’s recent $90 million funding raise.

While Gwyneth and Goop were one of the first on the scene, there are now countless hormone replacement products, energy bars, supplements, and serums purporting to ward off menopause symptoms saturating the marketplace. Last fall, the actress Naomi Watts launched the menopause-focused beauty and wellness brand Stripes, declaring that “nothing prepared me for early menopause.” The brand prides itself on selling beauty and skincare products ranging in price from $40-$85 that covers a woman’s body from head to toe. Hormonal wellness brand Wile has raised $111 million to date from investors like Serena Williams to roll out its new line of menopausal herbal supplements at Whole Foods nationwide.

Other brands early to the table in the menopause market include Kindra and Womaness, both of whom got big boosts from mega beauty conglomerates P&G and Unilever, respectively, which quickly gave them category credibility.  Both brands have been instrumental in educating investors on this opportunity and destigmatizing the topic among consumers and investors alike.

Kindra, a modern wellness brand for menopause essentials, was launched in 2019—the first brand created by Launchpad, the innovation studio formed by P&G Ventures and venture firm M13 with a mission to build new consumer-facing brands. In 2021, Kindra closed a $4.5 million seed funding round led by the Female Founders Fund, with Primetime Partners, Anne and Susan Wojcicki, Katie Couric Media, The Community Fund, and H Ventures also investing in that round. Helmed by Kindra’s CEO Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, that raise marked an important moment in a category that had long been overlooked.

Womaness, a brand that creates self-care and wellness products to treat menopause symptoms, was launched in 2020 by founders Sally Mueller and Michelle Jacobs. In 2021, they raised an initial $4 million in 2021, led by Unilever Ventures. In 2023, amidst a much tighter investor market overall, the brand took a different approach to fundraising, working with three Los Angeles-based investors—Carol Cheng, Annie Bellanger, and Ellen Chen—to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV). Given that women-founded and women-centric brands tend to be underfunded and competing for dollars, this funding structure brought women of all ages and all investor experiences to the brand’s cap table with checks ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, raising nearly $1 million total. While Womaness has been focused on community with events like its “Menopositivity Tour” in-store activation with Ulta Beauty, this raise marked a new era for brands working directly with consumers while also educating women on the investor space.

Having major corporate backers like Unilever and P&G buoying these brands no doubt helped them negotiate smaller run orders early on, while also quickly ramping up distribution into big-box stores like Ulta and Target. While not all brands in the space have major corporate backers like P&G or Unilever, they all still need to keep up with demand from growing sales through social media. And as they grow and attract the attention of big-box stores, there’s a need for many to explore more non-dilutive debt financing solutions. Ultimately, with innovative products and creative fundraising and financing tactics, brands like Stripes, Kindra, and Womaness are breaking down barriers and working to eliminate the stigma around the menopause category. And with a focus on educating consumers and investors alike, these companies have opened doors in the category for new brands and products to enter the scene.