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- Direct-to-consumer healthcare companies that prescribe and ship pills like Viagra straight to your door have become huge businesses over the last few years.
- Ro, the parent company of Roman, Rory, and Zero, told Business Insider that it’s seen its gross annual revenue grow 330% over 2019 compared to 2018. The company declined to share the dollar figures.
- According to indexed sales data compiled by Second Measure, Ro had the highest sales among direct-to-consumer brands Hims, Nurx, and Lemonaid. Ro’s monthly sales were 85% higher in January 2020 compared to January 2019.
- As it grows, Ro is simplifying its approach, making Roman the “digital health clinic for men” while Rory will serve as the “digital health clinic for women,” similar to the approach of rival Hims, which operates the women’s health brand Hers
- The company told us it’s expanding into allergy treatments.
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Startups that prescribe and ship medication straight to your door are getting to be a big business.
Over the past few years, investors have been pouring hundreds of millions into startups such as Hims, Roman and Nurx. The new model hasn’t been without concerns from doctors, patients and experts who worry about what might happen if conditions are treated as a series of one-off encounters, removed from the wider healthcare system.
Business Insider got an inside look at how the leading direct-to-consumer healthcare startup, Ro, is expanding its business and planning for its future, by moving from a seller of erectile-dysfunction treatments and hair loss medications to a full-service online medical clinic. The first part of the plan includes an expansion into allergy treatments, with plans to add care for more chronic and primary-care conditions in the future.
Ro is the parent company of Roman, Rory, and Zero. The company told Business Insider that it’s seen its gross revenue grow 330% in 2019 compared to 2018. The company said it has facilitated 4 million healthcare visits in a little over two years. The company declined to share its sales figures in dollars.
Ro has the highest monthly sales of direct-to-consumer rivals Hims, Lemonaid, and Nurx, according to data compiled for Business Insider by Second Measure, which collects information from anonymized credit and debit card transactions from millions of Americans. The data show that Ro’s monthly sales were 85% higher in January 2020 compared to January 2019.
Still, on a monthly customer basis, Hims had 1.3 times as many customers as Ro had in January 2020, the most of any of the direct-to-consumer startups analyzed. Hims’ monthly customer count appears to be slowing, however, dropping 1% compared to January 2019, according to the data.
Ro’s plan for digital health clinics for men and women
Since launching in November 2017, men’s health company Roman had been connecting men with doctors to treat their erectile dysfunction. It’s gone on to launch additional brands like Zero, focused on smoking cessation, and Rory, initially focused on treatments for women experiencing menopause. Ro has also teamed up with the biotech company Gelesis to offer a weight management product on its site.
To date, Ro has raised $176 million from investors including FirstMark Capital, Canaan Partners, SignalFire, Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital, General Catalyst, Slow Ventures, Sinai Ventures, Torch Capital, BoxGroup, Tusk Ventures and undisclosed angels. It currently operates four pharmacies.
As the company expands what conditions it can treat, it’s decided to zoom in on providing care through its men’s health brand, Roman, and women’s health brand Rory.
“We didn’t fully appreciate how much patients trusted the platform,” CEO Zachariah Reitano told Business Insider.
He said patients want not just erectile dysfunction treatment, but also care for their overall health.
Reitano said he sees Rory not just as a place to obtain treatments for menopause, but as “the digital health clinic for women.”
For instance with Ro’s newest condition area, allergies, both Roman and Rory will carry products branded based on which site the patient’s going through.
The treatments include generic Flonase, the antihistamine nasal spray azelastine, and the generic versions of Xyzal, a pill-based antihistamine, and Singulair.
The company plans to offer smoking cessation products on both sites as well.
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