Folx Health snaps up $25M to expand virtual care for the LGBTQIA+ community

Folx Health launched out of stealth mode in December as the first major queer and trans-venture-backed company to offer virtual care and prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy and sexual health.

The startup has now raised $25 million in new financing led by Bessemer Venture Partners and with participation from existing investors Define Ventures and Polaris.

“Our partnership with Folx is a historical moment. It’s challenging to articulate how transformative Folx is for our community. We do so mindful of the brilliant and brave queer and trans people who fought for this moment to happen,” said Morgan Cheatham of Bessemer Venture Partners in a statement.

Folx Health also announced the availability of its hormone replacement therapy for testosterone or estrogen with monthly plans starting at $59 a month. Folx Health will also begin releasing its sexual health and wellness offerings starting with erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment, soon to be followed by at-home STI testing and treatment, all customized for the specifics of queer and trans bodies, the company said.

RELATED: Queer and trans healthcare provider Folx banks funding from Polaris Partners

All services will include unlimited on-demand clinical support with at-home lab testing, for most plans, and home-delivered medications. Upon launch, Folx Health's services will be available in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

The company will leverage its new funding in order to drive national expansion and expand its offerings in sexual health and family creation later in 2021 and early 2022.

A.G. Breitenstein, an investor, entrepreneur, and queer health advocate, founded Folx Health as a telehealth platform designed specifically for the queer and transgender community. The company combines access to a specialized network of queer and trans clinicians with a tailored focus on clinical offerings that are typically marginalized in traditional health settings. 

The startup works like a One Medical for the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, queer, intersexed, agender, asexual and ally) community, Breitenstein told Fierce Healthcare.

There are a growing number of digital health companies tackling health issues for the LGBTQIA+ community. Queerly is an online marketplace where LGBTQ people can connect with vetted and trained providers, telehealth tools and concierge health. Violet is a mental healthcare startup run by and for the LGBTQ+ community, and Plume is a digital health service focused exclusively on the transgender community and has expanded into employee benefits

RELATED: Aetna grows coverage for gender-affirming surgeries for transgender women

These companies are tapping into a community that historically has been underserved in the healthcare market. About 4.5% of U.S. adults—11 million people—identify as LGBT; about 1.4 million people identify as transgender. Among the 18-34 population, about 20% identify as LGBTQ, according to a GLAAD survey. Folx is targeting an addressable market that’s nearly 39 million people in the U.S., Breitenstein said.

As part of its mission to demystify health care and build a queer and trans- centric health service, the company also launched a content hub to serve as a free resource for all things queer and trans health.

Written by Folx clinicians, the content hub will fill a need for accessible queer and trans-focused health content that is informative, accessible, and compelling, the company said. The library addresses questions and concerns ranging from an overview of the expected physical changes with hormone replacement therapy to how to navigate the health system.

“As a non-binary lesbian and healthcare industry veteran, I have seen and experienced firsthand just how broken the current system is for the queer and trans community,” Breitenstein said in a statement. “Whether it’s HRT, PrEP, sexual health, or family creation, health care is essential for us to be who we are. It’s about time we build a platform for ourselves, so queer and trans people feel seen, heard, and celebrated.”