The co-founders of Ruth Health wanted to provide telehealth services for pregnant women to talk about incontinence, sex and other adjustments that come with giving birth.
Like most cash-strapped startups, Ruth Health began leveraging social media to advertise the company. But the content proved “offensive” to those platforms: Early in 2020, Instagram took down a post that used the word “vagina.” On Pinterest, one of Ruth Health’s ads showing a breastfeeding woman was flagged for inappropriate content.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Wu said. “Then we tried a different set of pictures and those were rejected as well. And it just becomes difficult. Like, how do you actually show a woman feeding her child?”
Ruth Health isn’t the only startup struggling with this dilemma. The billion-dollar femtech sector is full of startups in their infancy. In fact, 40% of funded femtech startups in 2022 are at their seed stage, according to Crunchbase data. Armed with a small marketing budget, they rely on widely used social media platforms to grow an audience and show proof of concept to investors. Without that access to widely used marketing platforms, attracting funding can be challenging
“It quite frankly puzzles us, but unfortunately if we want to do this on the platform, we have to abide by the rules they set,” Wu said.