Venture Capital News: Nurx Completes $5.3M Series A Round
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Nurx, a telehealth company which makes birth control and PrEP more accessible, has announced a $5.3M Series A funding round.
The round was led by Union Square Ventures (USV) with participation from Lowercase Capital, SV Angel, and six partners at Y Combinator.
Through the use of telemedicine, many health care disparities are greatly reduced by increasing and easing access to care. Nurx is currently using telemedicine to increase access to birth control, emergency contraception, and Truvada, a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.
'Lack of affordable access to medical care is an issue that many people face today,' said Andy Weissman, partner at USV. 'Nurx is building transformative technology that changes the way people interact with health care, leveraging messaging platforms, mobile apps, bots, and embedded systems to lower costs and simplify the patient experience through telemedicine.'
To that end, Nurx (which currently operates in California, Washington, and New York) will be using the funds from this round to expand R&D operations nationwide. 'We're building a world-class medical platform which connects patients and providers, and to keep up with our rapid expansion, we are hiring more full-stack, front-end, and dev-ops engineers, who are also passionate about increasing access to health care,' said Hans Gangeskar, cofounder and CEO of Nurx. 'Our engineers will be foundational architects in building the tools and systems needed in a new model of health care access around the world.'
In more than 100 countries in the world, women are able to access birth control without a prescription. However, in the United States, the process is more complicated and burdensome. Each year in the United States, there are about three million unintended pregnancies, many of which can be prevented by increased access to birth control and emergency contraception. This motivated founders Hans Gangeskar and Dr. Edvard Engesaeth, MD to launch Nurx, making the process easier for women today. Along with the pill, the patch, and the ring, women can also obtain emergency contraception through Nurx.
According to Nurx's Medical Director, Dr. Jessica Knox, 'Birth control pills have been used for decades, and with such long-term monitoring, have been found to be overwhelmingly safe. So safe, in fact, that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has strongly recommended that the pills be made available over-the-counter, as is common internationally. The pill remains prescription-only throughout the United States today, but with our app, we're making birth control more accessible than ever.'
Today, more than 1.2 million Americans are HIV positive, and more than 40,000 test positive for the virus in the United States each year. In 2012, the FDA approved the use of Truvada for PrEP to prevent transmission of HIV. Through this method, people who do not have HIV take a daily pill (Truvada) to reduce their chances of infection. Studies have shown that if taken daily, Truvada for PrEP can be up to 99% effective in preventing transmission of the virus.
Similar to contraception, access barriers prevent many people who would benefit from PrEP from obtaining it. Along with a lack of awareness, federal health officials estimate that about one third of primary care doctors and nurses don't know Truvada exists. According to the CDC, 1.2 million people would benefit from being on Truvada for PrEP, yet as of 2015, only 21,000 people in the United States are actually taking the drug. Through their web-based app, Nurx makes the preventative medication more accessible by allowing users to get a prescription for Truvada online and have it delivered right to their door in a matter of days.
Accessibility is another reason for the low number of PrEP users. In addition to the stigma and lack of information about PrEP, there is also a shortage of doctors who will prescribe it. Nurx solves this problem by making PrEP more accessible to those who need and want it. 'Health care in the United States is in need of a huge disruption. We have started by increasing access to birth control and PrEP, but we're not going to stop there. Our vision is to be a global leader in the telehealth space,' said Nurx COO and co-founder Dr. Edvard Engesaeth, MD.
Nurx is a telehealth company committed to being a global industry leader in a market projected to surpass $36 billion by 2020. Founded by a Hans Gangeskar and Dr. Edvard Engesaeth, MD, Nurx makes birth control and Truvada for PrEP more accessible through telemedicine. Users are able to receive prescriptions with online doctors and have their medication delivered right to their door through the app.
The company is based in San Francisco, finished Y Combinator in March 2016 (W'16), and is backed by investors including Union Square Ventures, Lowercase Capital, SV Angel and six partners at Y Combinator. For more information visit http://Nurx.com.
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