FOLX powers LGBTQ+ telehealth support groups with $30M round

FOLX Health, a telehealth company catering to the LGBTQIA+ community, closed a fresh $30 million round of funding, which it will use to expand its new support groups feature.

The company provides affirming and inclusive care through services such as hormone replacement therapy, PrEP prescriptions, general and sexual health services.

FOLX also recently began offering support groups, led by either a clinician or expert over multiple weeks, followed by one-on-one consultations to create individualized programs for users. The new funding will be used to support existing programs, but also to launch and expand these expert-led groups.

With the addition of the groups, “we’re able to really move folks from fear of accessing healthcare to a place where they are actively engaged in their wellness,” said Liana Douillet Guzmán, CEO of FOLX Health. “I would add that part of our model is really this idea of holistic care. So rather than being a point solution that’s focused on one niche area, we believe that we can provide this expert care across a full spectrum of needs.”

Currently, the company is providing care to 10,000 individuals across 42 states, and is looking to expand to all 50 in the near future.

Although FOLX has been pushing for affirmative care, Republican lawmakers have pushed for bills denying or limiting access to this and other LGBTQ+-centered services. Many bills have specifically targeted transgender individuals and youth. According to the ACLU, over 20 states have introduced bills that would deny care, and some go as far as making it a Class C felony to provide gender-affirming care.

In a survey conducted by FOLX, 78% of its members did not have access to affirming care before finding FOLX, and 71% actively avoided seeking healthcare out of fear of discrimination.

Though the company is pushing to provide all-inclusive care for LGBTQ+ individuals, Guzmán told TechCrunch their biggest challenge is “in a sea of opportunity, how do we focus?”

“We are still a lean team,” Guzmán said. “And so I think it’s the classic, making sure we don’t do the shiny toy thing that a lot of startups do, and really focus in on thoughtful product expansion.”

Image of FOLX packaging for its HRT.

FOLX raised the $30 million in a Series B round led by 7wireVentures, with participation from Foresite Capital as a new investor, as well as existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Define Ventures and Polaris Partners. The company has raised close to $60 million to date, including a $25 million Series A last year.

Lee Shapiro, a managing partner of 7wireVentures, said in a news release: “Now more than ever, there is a clear need to expand access to inclusive health services for the millions of Americans who identify as LGBTQIA+. By combining a network of clinicians highly attuned to the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community with convenient access to affirming content and peer connections, FOLX Health has established a new standard of queer and trans care for its members” Shapiro will also be joining FOLX’s board of directors.