Folx Health, which offers virtual healthcare services for the LGBTQ+ community, raised $30 million in a Series B funding round led by 7wireVentures.
Others participating in the round include Foresite Capital and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Define Ventures and Polaris Partners. As part of the financing, 7wireVentures Managing Partner Lee Shapiro, formerly chief financial officer of Livongo, will join Folx’s board of directors.
WHAT IT’S FOR
Launched in late 2020, Folx Health started with providing hormone replacement therapy for transgender patients. The company later added sexual health offerings as well a virtual care platform geared toward general health and primary care.
“In the last few months, we started to — in conversation with the community — launch things like our virtual healthcare platform, where we’re able to provide general telehealth services, parental and fertility consults, expert-led support groups, peer support groups, content and community,” Folx CEO Liana Douillet Guzmán told MobiHealthNews. “We’ve been able to do small tests in each of those across the last few months, and are really excited to be able to leverage this investment to double down.”
The investment will also go toward scaling Folx’s new employer offering, building customer support teams and working toward accepting insurance coverage.
Guzmán said the goal is to offer a full suite of mental and behavioral healthcare, but the startup will begin with expert-led support groups. They’ll launch this month in areas like fertility, family planning and parental support, with more types of groups to be added next year.
Though many patients could eventually receive both individual and group-based care, Guzmán said the community aspect is particularly salient for Folx’s patient base.
“I don’t think a lot of One Medical patients want to connect with other One Medical patients, but Folx members are really excited to connect with other Folx members. And so, as a result of that, we’ve built this incredibly engaged and passionate community,” she said.
LGBTQ+ patients face health disparities compared with the general population. According to a report published last year by the Kaiser Family Foundation, LGBT+ people are more likely to say their health is fair or poor compared with non-LGBT+ people, even though the population is generally younger.
More than a third reported negative experiences when visiting a healthcare provider, like dismissing their concerns, suggesting they were to blame for a health problem or not believing they were telling the truth. In comparison, fewer than one in five non-LGBT+ respondents said they’d had those experiences with a provider.
Folx announced a $4.4 million seed when it emerged from stealth in late 2020, followed by a $25 million Series A in February 2021. Another company in the LGBTQ-focused virtual care space is Plume, which concentrates on hormone therapy. It raised $14 million last year and another $24 million this summer.