While funding women's health startups is rising, men's health so far isn't seeing the same boost
Funding for women's health startups is on the rise after traditionally lagging behind. While that's a great thing, the same can't be said for startups that focus specifically on issues that plague men, including prostate issues, erectile dysfunction and hair loss.
There's definitely a market here, though. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States, behind only lung cancer. Meanwhile, roughly 5 percent of men who are at least 40 years old have complete erectile dysfunction, and that number increases to about 15 percent of men at age 70.
Overall, the life expectancy of a man in the United States is five years shorter than it is for women.
Even though men's health startups have so far not become a leading category of interest for venture capitalists, there are a few companies that have managed to make a major dent. Here are 10 of the companies in this space that have raised money over the last few years:
Description: Hims is an e-commerce wellness brand made for men with products for skin care, erectile dysfunction, and hair loss. The company works with doctors to prescribe Finasteride and Sildenafil through the app or website. Hims also recently added a mental health feature to its services, allowing its members to take part in group therapy.
Patients are connected to a physician through telemedicine, who send prescriptions to their door with no delivery fee.
With a telemedicine approach, hims allows customers to get diagnosed and treated at a lower cost and with greater convenience.
Amount raised: $197 million
Investors: DCM Ventures, 7 Global Capital, Counterpart Advisors, Redpoint, 8VC, Founder Fund, Kyle Widrick, Maverick Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Thrive Capital, IVP, SV Angel, UpHonest Capital, Wei Guo, Gin Lane, Cherubic Ventures, Atomic
Description: Ro's main product is Roman, a digital health clinic for men, covering sexual health, hair loss, skin treatments, as well as heart health, stress relief, bone health, prostate health and testosterone support. The service offers telehealth visits, through within patients hear back from a doctor within 24 hours of submitting their online visit. The company will prepare, pack, and ship prescriptions directly to members within two days with the Ro Pharmacy Network, which is part of the Roman experience.
Online visits costs $15 and are not covered by insurance. If prescribed, the cost of treatment will depend on the type of medication and the amount of medication the patient receives.
Amount raised: $176.1 million
Investors: 3L Capital, FirstMark, Torch Capital, Initialized Capital, Tusk Venture Partners, BoxGroup, Sinai Ventures, Eric Glyman, Slow Ventures, Karim Atiyeh, General Catalyst, SignalFire, Forbes.com, Prehype, Philip Krim, Liz Wessel
Description: Vault Heath provides at-home visits, as well as virtual follow-ups for sexual, physical and cognitive issues facing men.
Patients are connected with a Vault provider to discuss their health profile and learn about treatment plans, after which a provider will come to them to collect a blood sample. The patient's treatment will be shipped after a review of their lab work and doctor approval of their treatment plan. All treatments are delivered directly to the patient. Patients are able to continue having ongoing at-home and virtual visits with Vault medical professionals after their initial visit.
The initial screening costs $150, and treatment plans can cost between $99 and $299 a month. Valut treatment plans are out of network, but the company does help patients file with insurance for reimbursement.
Amount raised: $30 million
Investors: Tiger Global Management, Redesign Health, Declaration Capital, Dolik Ventures
Description: Ezra is a direct-to-consumer cancer screening platform that uses a combination of MRI screenings and artificial intelligence to do more accurate cancer screenings, with an initial focus on prostate cancer.
Patients can schedule an appointment with a RadNet imaging facility on the Ezra platform, and, when they arrive, they will be greeted by a member of the Ezra staff at the facility who will guide them through the process. The member gets their scan done and then the results will be available within their Ezra interface, and, with one tap of a button, they can schedule a call or a meeting to speak to the Ezra physician to be taken through the results.
A torso scan costs $1,350, while a full body scan costs $1,950.
Amount raised: $22 million
Investors: Accomplice, Founders Future, Credo Ventures, Seedcamp, LDV Capital, Esther Dyson, Jeremy Arditi, David Gilboa, Fred Destin, Taavet Hinrikus, Andrei Dunca, FirstMark, Jeffrey Raider, Vlad Tenev, Daniel Dines, Dave McClure, Emma Robbins, Ben Barokas, Alex Ljung, Jason Goodman, Morio Kurosaki
Description: Promaxo is a medical technology company commercializing office-based MRI system and compatible robotic systems. The company is initially focusing on urology, specifically as it relates to prostate screening.
Promaxo's MRI is much smaller and doesn't require the patient to go inside the machine; the patient is completely outside the scanner. That means that if you're doing sports medicine, for example, the patient can scan their knee or their ankle without needing to get inside a big machine.
Amount raised: $13.7 million
Investors: RocSon Medtech Fund, Almond Tree Capital Fund, MicroPort Scientific
Description: Ibex Medical Analytics is applying computational pathology to cancer diagnostics. Its solutions use algorithms to analyse images, detect and grade cancer in biopsies and point to other findings with high clinical importance, helping pathologists enable a more efficient workflow and reduce diagnostic error rates.
Ibex’s Galen Prostate solution is a cancer detection tool that is used in routine clinical practice in pathology labs.
Amount raised: $13.6 million
Investors: 83North, aMoon Fund, Dell Technologies Capital, Kamet
Description: Trak is an at-home test to measure sperm count and semen volume. Its fertility testing system costs between $89.99 and $199.99, with a refill that costs $59.99. The company also sells a cooling kit for $59.
To use the system, the patient collect a sample into the Trak Semen Volume Cup, which reads the semen volume. They load the sample into a test Prop and attach it to the Engine, and they will get the results in six minutes.
Amount raised: $10.9 million
Investors: LabCorp, Cavendish Impact Capital, ClearVision Equity Partners, DPW Holdings, StartUp Health, Astia Angels, Portfolia, J. Hunt Holdings
Description: Avenda Health is developing a minimally-invasive treatment for prostate cancer. Its platform uses a laser to precisely treat prostate cancer in an outpatient setting without compromising urinary or sexual function. Personalized treatment plans are created using AI-based cancer margin prediction and confirmed using our proprietary real-time feedback sensor.
Amount raised: $3.3 million
Investors: MedTech Innovator
Description: ProArc Medical is a medical device startup company dedicated to developing innovative, minimally invasive and clinically effective devices for the field of urology.
Their first product, called the ClearRing system, is designed to treat lower urinary tract symptoms due to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.
Amount raised: $2.3 million
Investors: Horizon 2020, EASME
Description: Butterfly Medical is a medical-device start-up that aims to improve the standard of care for men suffering from Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate.
Its device can be placed in under 10 minutes, in-office, under local anesthesia, without surgical incision, heating or prostate tissue removal.
Amount raised: $2 million
Investors: Alon Medtech Ventures, Dan Suesskind, Kamran Siminou, Mori Arkin
(Image source: aaptiv.com)