Rapp has launched an accelerator program for femtech businesses focused on health equity called Series R.
For the remainder of March, U.S.-based femtech startups can apply for a chance to receive pro-bono marketing services, mentorship and networking through Rapp. Those marketing services will include a consumer analysis and a three-day workshop for strategizing and creating a customer experience.
Rapp will select one winner in mid-May after a screening round, two judging rounds and a virtual pitch. It will then work with the startup over the summer starting in June.
“One will effectively become our client,” said Erica Kraus, SVP, U.S. health strategy lead at Rapp. “They will come out of it with marketing they otherwise wouldn’t have as well as experience working with an agency and being a client.”
While the pro bono services are set to end with summer’s close, Rapp hopes to maintain a relationship, Kraus said.
Rapp will only consider applicants with a woman or non-binary member in their founding team, who address a public health disparity for women or other underserved groups in healthcare, are U.S. owned and operated and offer a product with an in-market solution, revenue and customer base. It will also consider companies with founders who are part of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.
One of Series R’s goals is to provide support to early-stage companies that otherwise couldn’t afford to work with a large Omnicom-backed agency.
The inaugural program is launching with a focus on health equity because of the disparity between the large percentage of women making healthcare purchases and the small percentage of venture funding femtech gets, Kraus said.
Femtech received over $8 billion in funding in 2022 — half of the $16 billion that went to the sector the year prior, TechCrunch reported. Despite this drop, femtech’s share of digital health funding rose to 13% compared to 2021’s 8%.
Rapp’s program will focus on fertility, pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood, primary and preventative care, sexual and reproductive health, chronic disease, menopause, menstruation and behavioral health.
Rapp plans to launch a new Series R program every International Women’s Day and is open to exploring new sectors.
“We could focus next year on people who are impacted by environmental conditions and climate change,” Kraus said. “Another one we think about are people with disabilities and the rise of new solutions for them.”
This article originally appeared on Campaign US.