Health Tech, Startups

Report: Ro in talks to go public through blank-check merger

Direct-to-consumer health startup Ro is reportedly in talks go public through a merger with a blank-check company, according to a report by Reuters.

Online health startup Ro is reportedly in talks to go public through a merger with a blank-check company. Photo credit: Ro

In a slew of recent blank-check deals, another digital health startup is looking to go public. Roman Health Ventures, the parent company of direct-to-consumer health startup Ro, is reportedly in talks to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), according to Reuters.

Citing anonymous sources, Reuters reported that the deal could value Ro at more than $4 billion. Last year, a $200 million funding round led by General Catalyst valued the startup at $1.5 billion.

It’s not clear which company is behind the deal. SPACs are companies with no operations, that go public with the goal of acquiring a private company, which then becomes publicly traded after the merger.

Earlier last month, Ro’s rival, Hims & Hers, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange after merging with a subsidiary of Oaktree Capital Management. The deal valued the startup at $1.6 billion.

Similar to Hims & Hers, New York-based Ro has two health and wellness sites targeted at men and women: Roman and Rory. Both offer prescription and over-the-counter products for common conditions, such as dandruff, herpes or allergies.

Ro also owns a Zero, which offers smoking cessation products. All of its brands ship medications to customers after a brief online consultation.

A number of other digital health startups are also plotting their own blank-check deals. Talkspace, which lets users text a therapist, is planning a blank-check deal that would value the company at $1.4 billion, the company shared earlier this month. And Sharecare, which built a wellness app with features like step tracking, is reportedly looking at a deal that would value the startup at $4 billion.