FOLX Health, a telehealth company catering to the LGBTQIA+ community, has closed a new $30 million funding round, which it will use to expand its new support groups feature.
The company provides affirmative 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 specialist over several weeks, followed by one-on-one consultations to create personalized programs for users. The new funding will be used to support existing programmes, but also to launch and expand these expert-led teams.
By adding the groups, “we can really move people from being afraid of accessing health care 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 focused on a specialized area, we believe we can provide that specialized care to a full spectrum of needs.”
The company currently provides care to 10,000 people in 42 states and wants to expand to all 50 in the near future.
Although FOLX pushes for affirmative care, Republican lawmakers have pushed for bills that deny or limit access to it and other LGBTQ+-focused services. Many bills have specifically targeted transgender people and young people. According to the ACLU, more than 20 states have introduced bills that would deny care, and some go so far as to make 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 affirmative care before finding FOLX, and 71% actively avoided seeking health care due to fear of discrimination.
Although the company is pushing to provide comprehensive care to LGBTQ+ people, Guzmán told TechCrunch their biggest challenge is “in a sea of opportunities, how do we focus?”
“We’re still a thin team,” Guzman said. “And so I think that’s the classic, making sure we don’t do the shiny game that a lot of startups do and really focus on thoughtfully expanding the product.”
FOLX raised $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 nearly $60 million to date, including a $25 million Series A last year.
Lee Shapiro, managing partner of 7wireVentures, said in a press release: “Now more than ever, there is a clear need to expand access to inclusive healthcare for the millions of Americans who identify as LGBTQIA+. By combining a network of clinicians fully attuned to the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community with easy access to affirming content and peer connections, FOLX Health has created a new standard of queer and trans care for its members.” Shapiro will also join FOLX’s board of directors.