Ro raises $200M to continue to build out its virtual clinics

Steven Loeb · July 27, 2020 · Short URL:

Ro offers three digital clinics dedicated to men's health, women's health and smoking cessation

There was almost $1 billion invested in telemedicine companies during the first half of 2020, as COVID forced patients to turn to virtual services in lieu of seeing a doctor in person. As the coronavirus continues to rage across the country, with no end in sight, venture capitalists are still seeing companies in this space as a wise investment.

Already this quarter, investors have put $75 million in Doctor on Demand and have now they've invested $200 million in digital health startup Ro, it was announced on Monday. 

The round was led by existing investor General Catalyst, with "significant participation" from existing investors FirstMark Capital, Torch, SignalFire, TQ Ventures, Initialized Capital, 3L, and BoxGroup, as well as first time investor The Chernin Group. With this new round, Ro has now raised a total of $376 million and company is reportedly valued at $1.5 billion.

Founded in 2017, Ro offers patients access to telehealth visits, enabling them to hear back from a doctor within 24 hours. The company also prepares, packs, and ships prescriptions directly to members within two days for $5 a month per drug with the Ro Pharmacy

The company's initial product was Roman, a digital health clinic for men, covering conditions around sexual health, hair loss, skin treatments, as well as heart health, stress relief, bone health, prostate health and testosterone support. The company has since added two other businesses: Rory, which is dedicated to women's health, and Zero for smoking cessation. 

Between all three clinics, the company treats nearly 20 conditions, including sexual health, weight loss, dermatology and allergies and it has facilitated more than 5 million digital healthcare visits.

Ro, which saw year-over-year revenue growth of 328 percent in 2019, has now been seeing double digit, even triple digital, percentage growth in patients seeking virtual treatment for conditions such as dermatology, allergies, sleep, and smoking cessation since the start of the COVID pandemic a few months ago, Zachariah Reitano, co-founder and CEO of Ro, told VatorNews. 

"Telehealth went from primarily offering convenience and affordability to offering convenience, affordability, and safety as people seek remote/at-home care. Now, as more patients and providers have used telehealth, we’re seeing the benefits extend beyond triage and that telehealth can serve as a complement to in-person care. Telehealth makes it easier to connect with patients on the phone, or by video or text, enabling more personal, frequent interactions and more continuous care," he said.

"As people stay at home and practice social distancing, telehealth companies like Ro can provide at-home treatment and delivery of medication for other primary or chronic care conditions to meet patients’ needs at this critical time, while helping to reserve in-person care for those who need it most."

Ro says it will use the new funding, in part, to double the size of its engineering team. It will also be building out its technology, specifically to offer remote patient monitoring with integrated devices for chronic disease management and urgent care.

"Remote patient monitoring will enable us to automatically track a patient’s progress and share this information with their healthcare providers. This will enable providers to be proactive and get ahead of health challenges before they occur in the first place," Reitano explained.

Ro also plans to integrate additional healthcare providers, such as therapists, nutritionists, lifestyle coaches, social workers and others, and to expand educational resources on Ro’s Health Guide "to provide comprehensive, holistic care no matter the patient need."

Ultimately, the company's mission, Reitano told me, "is to become a patient’s first call for their healthcare needs."

"From the moment they have a question or experience a symptom, we want to be there for them. We want to help a patient with everything best suited for remote or at-home care from diagnosis to delivery or treatment to ongoing care. If a patient is better served in-person, we want to guide them through their entire healthcare journey." 

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