Health care technology company Ro has secured $500 million in Series D funding.
The Series D round was led by existing investors General Catalyst, FirstMark Capital and TQ Ventures. Existing investors SignalFire, Torch Capital and BoxGroup also participated in the round.
New investors included Altimeter Capital, Baupost Group, Dragoneer Investment Group, ShawSpring Partners, Radcliff and 776.
Headquartered in New York, Ro’s business model is a vertically integrated primary care platform that leverages everything from in-home diagnostic testing to ongoing care. The multifaceted Ro of 2021 looks very different from the version of the company just a few years ago, when it launched with a model similar to Hims & Hers Health Inc.
“Ro is the only health care company in the country to integrate telehealth services, pharmacy distribution and in-home care delivery nationwide,” Zachariah Reitano, co-founder and CEO of Ro, told Home Health Care News. “This unique combination expands access to care and enables Ro to meet patients where it is most convenient and safest for them — online and at home.”
Since its founding in 2017, Ro has raised $876 million.
Ro has earmarked this latest round of funding to go toward a number of efforts, according to Reitano.
“We’ll pull the future forward faster by investing in our vertically integrated primary care platform to offer as many patients as possible high-quality, affordable health care — virtually or in their homes,” he said. “We will expand our pharmacy distribution network, continuing to enhance our proprietary EMR, build new capabilities such as remote patient monitoring and broaden into additional treatment areas that leverage our in-home and diagnostic capabilities.”
Reitano believes that its services are especially vital amid the COVID-19 emergency.
“Today, virtual care is seen as essential care. It is now [often] the first place many patients are starting their health care journeys,” he said. “However, telehealth has its limitations, you can’t draw blood or administer a vaccine remotely. Rather than ask patients to visit a doctor’s office or lab, meeting patients where they are, with in-home care removes many of the barriers that can make it difficult or even risky for patients to get the care they need — particularly during the pandemic.”
Along these lines, Ro recently partnered with the New York State Department of Health to administer in-home vaccinations to seniors.
While vaccination efforts are underway across the country, seniors and other vulnerable populations often face challenges accessing a vaccine. For homebound seniors living with chronic conditions and other risk factors, traveling to vaccination sites or retail pharmacies can be difficult — or out of the question entirely.
“In New York alone, there are more than 3 million seniors who may find it difficult or unsafe to leave their home,” Reitano said. “As part of Ro’s COVID-19 Vaccine Drive, each recipient will automatically schedule their second dose, receive information about the vaccine and potential side effects, and benefit from access to Ro’s nurse hotline.”
Overall, about 2 million seniors are permanently homebound, according to the American Academy of Home Care Medicine.
Earlier this year, Ro was reportedly in talks to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), according to Reuters.
Broadly, SPACs are an alternative to the traditional route to going public. SPACs raise money through an IPO and then search for an acquisition target. Once a merger has been completed, the target becomes a listed stock.
At the time, the deal was rumored to value Ro at more than $4 billion, Reuters reported.
Ro has a nationwide footprint, serving patients in every state, plus Washington, D.C., and nearly every county in the U.S. To date, Ro has facilitated more than 6 million digital health care visits. Recent acquisition Workpath alone conducted more than 100,000 in-home visits last year, according to a Ro spokesperson.