Folx Health is leveraging the explosion of virtual care services to offer greater access to healthcare focused on the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, and has raised $25 million in new funding to help it grow.
It’s part of a revolution in care that’s targeting the needs of specific communities with access to physicians that understand those needs. And it’s all made possible by virtual interactions.
“We have a good sense of the nature of the need and the depth of the pain in the community,” said A.G. Breitenstein, the founder and chief executive of Folx Health. “As a non-binary lesbian and healthcare industry veteran, I have seen and experienced firsthand just how broken the current system is for the queer and trans community.”
Breitenstein said Folx would be using the cash to try to expand to all 50 states and increase the available products and services the healthcare company would look to make available to the queer and trans community.
“Whether it’s HRT, PrEP, sexual health or family creation, health care is essential for us to be who we are. It’s about time we build a platform for ourselves, so Queer and Trans people feel seen, heard, and celebrated,” Breitenstein said in a statement.
That was one reason why Bessemer Venture Partners leapt at the chance to lead the new financing round for Folx, according to Morgan Cheatham, an investor out of Bessemer’s New York office. The other was the size of the market.
“At a high level, 2% of the population identify as transgender,” said Cheatham. “At that math, when we looked at that, we were able to see a multibillion-dollar market opportunity not just to provide [hormone replacement therapy], but to provide a healthcare destination for this community.”
Telescoping out to the opportunity to provide care to the LGBTQ community broadly, when that population represents about 10% to 20% of the population, is a “deca-billion opportunity,” said Cheatham.
Breitenstein envisions offering family planning services, broad primary care and sexual health and wellness care in addition to the hormone therapies that the company currently offers.
Folx joins a cohort of companies tackling health issues specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community, which include the mental healthcare service Violet; Included Health, an employee benefit service; and Plume, which focuses on care for the transgender community.
“We believed in the vision and the approach that she’s taking. She’s building a healthcare experience that is celebratory and dignified rather than one that pathologizing healthcare,” said Cheatham.
For Bessemer and Cheatham, the investment speaks to broader opportunities to identify specific populations that need care tailored to their specific experience. That includes companies like Spora Health and Live Chair Health, which focus on providing healthcare specifically to people of color.
“Our individual identities, whether it be socioeconomic status, race, gender… all of these things inform how we interface with the medical industrial complex,” Cheatham said.
Previous investors Define Ventures and Polaris Venture Partners will also participate in the round, which follows quickly on the heels of Folx’s launch from stealth in December 2020.
For its patients, Folx Health is offering Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT: testosterone or estrogen) with monthly plans starting at $59 a month. Folx Health will also begin releasing its sexual health and wellness offerings starting with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) treatment, soon to be followed by at-home STI Testing and Treatment, all customized for the specifics of Queer and Trans bodies, the company said.
The services will include unlimited on-demand clinical support with at-home lab testing (for most plans) and home-delivered medications (costs may vary based on medication). The company’s services are now available in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
The company is also launching a Folx Library, which will serve as a content hub and resource for Queer and Trans health, written by Folx clinicians and its broader community.
“Our partnership with Folx is a historical moment. It’s challenging to articulate how transformative Folx is for our community. We do so mindful of the brilliant and brave Queer and Trans people who fought for this moment to happen,” said Cheatham in a statement.