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Morgan Stanley participated in the round, selecting myLAB as part of its Innovation Lab
While it's probably nobody's idea of a fun topic for discussion, the fact is that the outbreak of STDs remain a big problem in America. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are 20 million new cases every year, and half of them occur in people ages 15 to 24 years old. In all, there are 110 million total infections. Yet, as is so often the case when it comes healthcare in the U.S., there's a big expense in regards to testing and treatment.
That's the reason that myLAB Box was founded; it's an at-home STD testing service that can screen for sexually transmitted diseases that include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, Herpes, Syphilis, and HPV, among others, making it cheaper and easier to get tested, while also allowing patients more privacy.
On Thursday, the company announced that it raised a $1.56 million seed funding round led K5 Ventures and Texas HALO Fund with participation from Morgan Stanley, Pasadena Angels, Pipeline Angels, and Sand Hill Angels. This round brings its total raised to $2.1 million.
Founded in 2013, the Los Angeles-based myLAB Box offers tests that can be self-administered in as little as five minutes. The patient mails in a small urine, swab or tiny blood prick sample in a self-addressed envelope provided and they will receive lab-certified results back electronically in a few days. The company also offers complimentary physician consultations for positive results.
"MyLAB Box was created in large part due to the unstable health climate in the US and what we saw as the need for alternatives to payer-based health systems. By selling direct to consumers we are able to offer exceptional service at half the cost of conventional lab tests while also reducing the fear and stigma some face when getting tested," Lora Ivanova, CEO and Co-Founder of myLAB Box, told VatorNews.
"From affordable screening to complimentary physician consultations for positives, every aspect of the myLAB Box service is designed to be something a user can easily handle out-of-pocket. The recent shake-up of our healthcare systems further deepens our resolve to grow our offering and develop a new hassle-free lab testing model. We believe this is not just great business, but a much-needed resource to curb a widespread epidemic in the US today."
There are variety of different reasons that a customer might choose an at-home for their STD testing; some like the convenience, others like being able to do the test in private, without the potential judgement.
"Whether male or female, gay or straight, young or old, myLAB Box customers are diverse, from all walks of life, and wish to take control of their sexual health," Ivanova said.
The myLAB Box STI and STD kits cost between $79 to $499, which is half of what it would cost with a conventional lab test, according to the company. In addition, it also says that it covers more diseases than other similar at-home tests.
"There are others who offer at-home STD tests, but we pride ourselves on being the first and most comprehensive. These competitors often only have about five to six tests available for certain STDs. We have tests for a wide array of STDs, options for couples, as well as several à la carte and multi-panel options," said Ivanova.
While myLAB Box doesn't disclose the exact number of people who use the service, it was revealed that has serves thousands of users in all 50 states every year, and that, in the past year alone, the company has seen demand for its services increase 4X.
"About a third of Americans today are living with an STI which makes it clear that conventional testing methods simply do not work. Having no symptoms alone does not mean one is in the clear as over 80 percent of infections may have no visible signs. The only way to know for sure is to test. Since our inception, we estimate that myLAB Box has prevented as many as 156,000 future infections to date," Ivanova said.
The money that the company has now raised will be used to expand myLAB's product offerings "to address additional STDs and infections," as well as "to expand into other personal health verticals outside of STDs."
"We won’t go into specifics yet, but we want to be able to provide consumers with an alternative form of testing that may better fit their lifestyle and circumstances," said Ivanova.
The funding will also be used to increase access to the service, which means making it available across more purchase methods; right now the tests can be be bought either though myLAB Box's website, or at its retail partners, Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
"We’ll aim to increase our retail availability for those who still like to make their purchases in-person and appreciate being able to buy a test while taking care of their to-dos. We’ll also look to increase our marketing capabilities to ensure that Americans know that they have an alternative in myLAB Box to clinical testing without compromising quality and accuracy."
In addition to investing in the company, it was also revealed that MyLAB Box has been selected as one of ten startups to Morgan Stanley’s Innovation Lab. The program will culminate in the Fall.
"The Lab has connected us with a fantastic network of experts dedicated to our success, investors who can help us scale and hands-on training to help us overcome obstacles," said Ivanova.
One of the main goals for myLAB Box is "to play a part in reducing the stigma around STD testing and increasing the frequency at which Americans get tested."
"The idea for myLAB Box came up over a cup of coffee with my co-founder where we discussed the awkwardness and challenge of discussing sexual health with our significant others. While difficult to quantify, we want to remove the stigma. At the same time, we want to provide this type of service to different forms of health tests, giving users a convenient and cost-effective alternative to clinical testing," Ivanova explained.
"We believe this funding is indicative of the growing consumer adoption of at-home testing services as well as increased investor confidence. People are realizing that this model provides convenience and helps save a consumer time and money. Whether it be genetic, STDs or blood tests, we are firm believers in the at-home model and happy to have helped pioneer this movement."
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Joined Vator on
myLAB Box is the first and only nationwide, fully at-home, STD testing & treatment platform. Every year, millions of people suffer through embarrassing clinic waiting rooms, & awkward, high-stress doctor’s visits to get tested for STDs or skip testing altogether to avoid humiliation. myLAB Box gives people control of their own health, making it simple and easy to diagnose and treat common STDs from the comfort of home.
Joined Vator onCo-founder & CEO of myLAB Box, the first online service empowering users to test for infections at home nationwide. Track record of success in high-impact strategic planning and customer acquisition channels for thought-leading brands.