Startups, Telemedicine, Health Services

With $200M in new funding, Ro looks to become patients’ first point of contact

Ro, a startup offering patients mail-order prescriptions and telehealth appointments, raised $200 million in funding. The company started three years ago with men’s health and wellness products, before expanding its business.

Online health startup Ro raised $200 million in funding. Photo credit: Ro

With $200 million in new funding, online clinic Ro is broadening its focus to become patients’ first point of contact.

The company started three years ago with Roman, a site where men can get treatments for hair loss, erectile dysfunction and skin conditions. Now, the company plans to expand into virtual urgent care visits, in-home testing, and caring for patients with chronic conditions using remote-patient monitoring. It also plans to double its staff in the next six months.

“All of this is bringing more of our vision of being a patient’s first call into reality,” Ro CEO and Co-Founder Zachariah Reitano said in a phone interview. “The biggest thing for us will be to expand the breadth and depth of services we offer for patients.”

The $200 million series C round, led by General Catalyst, will give Ro a $1.5 billion valuation. The Massachusetts-based firm was an early investor in Ro back in 2017.  Existing investors including FirstMark Capital, Torch and SignalFire also participated in the round.

Ro currently has three business: Roman, its newer women’s health site, Rory, and a smoking cessation product called Zero.

Its businesses use a subscription model. For Roman and Rory, users pay a recurring fee to access a monthly supply of their prescriptions, supplements, or skin products. The company doesn’t take insurance, but intentionally focuses on cash pay. Earlier this year, Ro launched an online, cash-pay pharmacy with 500 generic medications priced at $5 per month.

Faced with a surge of funding, loosened regulations and increased interest from the public, digital health startups are taking the opportunity to expand their services. Competitor Hims, which offers similar services to Ro, recently rolled out telepsychiatry services. The company is also reportedly looking to go public.

Reitano not only sees increased interest in telehealth from patients, but an entire paradigm shift that puts digital care as the point of entry.

“Even if they might have confidence that in-person care might be right for them, they might start it online,” he said. “I think you’ll see this digital-first mentality.”

Ro has taken strides to build out its “digital front door.” The company struck a partnership with another startup, Ribbon, to build a directory to help patients who need in-person care to find a nearby provider.