Ro raises $500M to accelerate its expansion into in-home care

Steven Loeb · March 23, 2021 · Short URL:

The company now combines telehealth services, pharmacy distribution, and in-home care delivery

Ro has been on a journey over the last 4 years: it started life as a telehealth company focused on men's health, before launching into new categories, including women's health with Rory, and Zero for smoking cessation.

Even more importantly, it has expanded into more facets of care beyond facilitating doctor visits, including Ro Pharmacy, which prepares, packs, and ships prescriptions directly to members. More recently, Ro has even begun delivering in-home care following its acquisition of Workpath in December, a company that allows healthcare companies to send phlebotomists and other providers to a patient’s home.

The company is on a mission to be an end-to-end the healthcare technology company for primary care, from diagnosis to medication delivery. On Tuesday, it got a major infusion of cash to make that a reality, announcing a $500 million Series D fundraising round.

Led by existing investors General Catalyst, FirstMark Capital and TQ Ventures, with participation from existing investors SignalFire, Torch Capital and BoxGroup, as well as new investors Altimeter Capital, Baupost Group, Dragoneer Investment Group, ShawSpring Partners, Radcliff, and 776, this round brings Ro’s total fundraising to $876 million.

When the company last raised a $200 million round in July 2020, it was reportedly valued at $1.5 billion; though Ro declined to reveal its current valuation, it now said to be valued at $5 billion.

Between Roman, Rory and Zero,  Ro treats more than 20 conditions, including sexual health, weight loss, dermatology and allergies and it has facilitated more than 5 million digital healthcare visits.

The next step in its evolution is providing its members with in-home care: along with the acquisition of Workpath, the company also recently partnered with healthcare AI company Gauss to offer Gauss’s smartphone-powered, at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests through Ro’s primary care platform.

Ro also recently partnered with the New York State Department of Health for a vaccine drive, in which the company administers vaccinations to patients in their home, at no cost to the recipients. The company says it plans to use this same capability to offer in-home diagnostic testing as well; this follows a partnership with Quest to add diagnostic capabilities and lab testing to its primary care platform.

"Since July, Ro has expanded its vertically integrated primary care platform to address an expanding set of conditions for an increasing population of patients," Ro co-founder and Chief Product Officer Saman Rahmanian told VatorNews.

"As patients turn to Ro for more of their healthcare needs, Ro is accelerating efforts to scale and strengthen its vertically integrated primary care platform to offer as many patients as possible high-quality, affordable healthcare nationwide – online and in their homes."

Ro is the only healthcare company in the country to integrate telehealth services, pharmacy distribution, and in-home care delivery in a single platform nationwide, he said, and that "unique combination" is what enables Ro to meet patients where and when it is most convenient and safe for them. That's also "why a growing number of patients trust Ro as their first call for their healthcare needs."  

"The virtual and in-person care hybrid infrastructure Ro is developing today will power not only its own primary care platform, but also the operations of myriad other healthcare companies that understand the future of care is both online and at-home," Rahmanian explained.

"Ro predicts that in the next decade, more healthcare services, such as diagnostics and vaccinations, will be delivered online or in-home than in every hospital, doctor’s office, or pharmacy combined."

Ro will use the new funding, in part, to expand its pharmacy distribution network; it's currently operating eight pharmacy distribution centers and the goal is to have ten by the end of the year, and fifteen by the end of 2022. The idea is that by strategically placing pharmacy distribution centers across the country, the company will eliminate the need to have to send medications by plane, both reducing costs for patients and enabling them to get their medication faster.

"By the end of this year, 75% of the US population will have their shipments the next day," said Rahmanian.

The company will also use the money to enhance its EMR syste,, called the Ro Collaborative Care Center, and to build new capabilities, such as remote patient monitoring with integrated devices, meaning it will invest in devices and tools that will allow it to develop proactive care options for its patients. 

Finally, the money will also go toward broad into additional treatment areas, though Rahmanian wouldn't divulge which areas those might be, only to say that the company is "consistently listening and working directly with patients and providers practicing on our platform to understand what patients want and need to improve their health, on their terms."

The real goal for Ro is to combine all of its capabilities to create a frictionless care coordination between a care team, including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, and enable more frequent patient-provider interaction. Ultimately, that will allow the company to establish an ongoing relationship and build the foundation of trust for continuous, comprehensive care for more of a patient’s needs.

"Healthcare will always have challenges to solve, and those challenges often fall to the patient to address. We are actively working to solve those challenges for our patients, by listening to our patients and continuing to build our platform to take the complexity out of healthcare and put them back in control," Rahmanian told me.

"Everything we do is focused on addressing patient needs, since patients are the only customer for our services. Ro’s cash pay model offers patients a more accessible, affordable care option. This model also ensures price transparency, because the price our patients see is the price they pay, and helps maintain affordable treatment options, which are particularly important in a time when many have lost jobs and healthcare coverage."

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes