Issue No. 178: House Call

Illustration: Courtney Powell

Inefficient and slow to innovate, our healthcare system is fundamentally broken.

As consumers demand more for their health, pandemic pressures are unbundling the doctor’s office, and startups are reinventing the house call for modern times.

House Call

A result of COVID-era restrictions, telemedicine soared. Now, virtual care is quickly becoming table stakes.

Beyond telehealth, McKinsey estimates that $265B of healthcare services could shift to the home by 2025.

Riding the wave, home-based care companies are drawing investor interest:

  • ConcertoCare, a home-based primary care provider, raised $105M in early February to continue expanding services.
  • Hospital-at-home company Medically Home Group has partnered with providers across the country, including Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente; it raised $110M in early January.
  • DispatchHealth, an in-home medical care company whose platform helps patients lower medical costs, raised $200M last March to hit a $1.7B valuation.

Aging in place. A related trend, more companies are caring for seniors at home. In this space, Honor raised $370M and acquired Home Instead. Humana invested $100M in Heal before acquiring Kindred at Home in a $5.7B deal last August. And UnitedHealthcare acquired Landmark Health to expand its home-based options.

Digital Doc

This shift is enabled by new tech, from remote patient monitoring to DTC prescriptions, forming the infrastructure of at-home care.

Testing it out. COVID testing moved home diagnostics into the mainstream. Now, upstarts are tackling a variety of health tests. With over 70% of medical decisions made based on lab test results, the convenience of at-home options is fueling a market set to eclipse $2B by 2025.

  • Labcorp recently launched its own digital health platform, offering everything from cholesterol and lipid panels to cancer screenings.
  • Mobile diagnostics company Sprinter Health ($33M), door-to-door phlebotomist Getlabs ($20M), and specialty lab provider Rupa Health ($20M) all secured investments in the past year.
  • Cue Health, which plans to move beyond its tech-enabled COVID-19 tests, went public last September.

Growing in sophistication, wearables are also evolving into bonafide medical trackers, adding yet another layer of data.

DTC prescriptions. Disrupting the $460B retail pharmacy sector, direct-to-consumer medicine has seen a flurry of activity. Alto Pharmacy and Truepill nabbed $200M and $142M, respectively, while Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs launched out of stealth in January.

Pop-up care. A middle ground between homes and hospitals, retailers like CVS are constructing health clinics. Even the laundromat is getting a makeover — Fabric Health offers care while people wait for their clothes to dry.

A different approach, Rezilient Health has developed cloud clinics that open/close based on demand. Patients meet virtually with their doctor while an in-person nurse administers care.

Targeting rural populations, Homeward establishes mobile units and partner locations in underserved communities; it just raised $20M from General Catalyst in March.

Out of pocket. Nearly 30% of Americans lost health insurance coverage in 2020. An alternative, self-pay subscriptions, like dntl bar’s $39/mo. dental service, aim to provide affordable options.

Meanwhile, a new wave of companies hope to bring down insurance costs by tackling the archaic fee-for-service model:

  • Oscar Health has seen membership growth this year, exploding by over 70%.
  • Sana Health raised $20M last October and has grown its customer base by 250%.
  • Forward added $225M in funding last May to scale its high-tech personalized healthcare system.

Moving in, Big Tech is building integrated healthcare ecosystems of its own. Expanding its health flywheel, Amazon recently announced nationwide availability of its virtual care program while signing on new corporate clients.

From Niche to Necessity

This explosion of activity may seem sudden, but the unbundling of care is years in the making.

Kicking off the DTC health movement, companies like hims, Ro, and Thirty Madison launched with niche offerings for more sensitive health issues like ED, hair loss, or STDs.

With billion-dollar valuations, market leaders are expanding their footprint, setting off a wave of consolidation.

  • In February, fertility startup Kindbody acquired Vios Fertility Institute and its clinic network.
  • After raising $140M last summer, telehealth company Thirty Madison merged with DTC birth control provider Nurx.
  • Valued north of $7B, Ro’s acquisitions include reproductive health company Modern Fertility, at-home sperm storage startup Dadi, and home care software Workpath.

Adding to the M&A action, Everly Health went on a healthcare buying spree, acquiring PWNHealth, Home Access Health, and, more recently, fertility startup Natalist.

Looking Ahead

As innovation accelerates and funding pours in, healthcare’s homecoming seems inevitable.

The good news, patients are gaining more control over their own health and data, giving rise to more personalized solutions.

But, an overarching concern, telehealth adoption skews toward younger, wealthier consumers, leaving older and low-income populations behind.

Punchline: While healthcare’s future takes shape, providers will need to ensure quality and access are equitable to prevent tech-enabled care from becoming a luxury good.

❤️ Human-first Healthcare

From hair loss and migraines to allergies and fertility, Thirty Madison is reimagining care, one ailment at a time.

On the Fitt Insider Podcast: Steve Gutentag, co-founder and CEO of Thirty Madison, discusses his company’s all-in-one platform for people living with chronic conditions.

We also cover: its recent $140M funding round, its merger with women’s healthcare company Nurx, and Steve’s plan for becoming the leading platform for specialty healthcare offerings.

Listen to today’s episode here.

💻 wellnessOS

As in-person exercise rebounds, wellness booking platform Mindbody is plotting its return to the public market.

Need to know: After its 2015 IPO, Mindbody was taken private by Vista Equity Partners in 2019, valuing the company at $1.9B. Last fall, Mindbody acquired fitness marketplace ClassPass while also adding a $500M investment from Sixth Street.

Why now: Early in the pandemic, when gyms shuttered, Mindbody and ClassPass laid off employees as revenue dried up. Even in pivoting to digital, however, both companies remained bullish on the eventual return to gyms.

As the brick-and-mortar industry gets back on its feet, the Mindbody x ClassPass tag team hopes to create a new operating system for fitness and wellness.

What they’re saying. According to Mindbody CEO Josh McCarter, the company’s IPO bid isn’t about liquidity. Speaking to the FT, he said, “We want to have a public currency we can use for M&A,” adding:

“Our belief and our investors’ belief is that Mindbody is the most logical consolidator in the market to bring . . . wellness platforms together.”

Looking ahead: While virus surges remain a risk, McCarter believes we’re in an “endemic state,” citing no major gym closures in their network. If market conditions hold, the company is targeting a 2023 listing — giving rise to a wellness super app of sorts.

Share this headline

🥗 Magic Meals

Moving in on personalized nutrition, meal kit makers are going all-in on health.

The latest: Lumen, makers of a handheld metabolic testing device and accompanying app, partnered with organic meal delivery service Metabolic Meals.

How it works: Get a real-time measurement with Lumen’s breath test. Get a personalized meal plan via the app, telling you (and Metabolic Meals) exactly what needs to be on your plate. That ready-to-eat food arrives at your door.

We laid out this exact scenario in Issue No. 148, explaining that nutrition is beginning to look more like a Spotify algorithm.

With personalized nutrition growing into a $64B industry, activity is heating up:

  • In October 2020, Nestlé bought healthy prepared foods company Freshly for $1.5B.
  • Around the same time, HelloFresh acquired Factor75, a health- and wellness-focused meal company.
  • In December of last year, meal kit brand Sunbasket merged with keto lifestyle company Prüvit in a $1.3B deal.
  • Trifecta gained access to CrossFit’s 6,000 affiliated US gyms after becoming official meal delivery partner this February.

Punchline: The future is hyper-personalized, and health-focused brands are going all-in. But… when it comes to what we eat, whether it’s for weight management or high performance, we’re far from answering the trillion-dollar question of what the optimal diet is.

Share this headline


Move-and-earn web3 running app STEPN is joining forces with ASICS to release co-branded NFT sneakers.

What’s happening: The co-branded NFT “Mystery Box” collection features digital STEPN sneakers with four styles of ASICS design, released exclusively on Binance.

Need to know: Incentivizing movement, pay-for-fitness startups nudge users to make healthier choices and build a consistent workout habit.

Running wild, STEPN’s crypto-for-movement model is gaining traction. After landing a $5M seed investment in January, it crossed over 1M downloads last month and reported $26M in first-quarter profits.

Why it matters: As Nike, adidas, and others move into crypto, ASICS gains a foothold with STEPN, helping it tap an engaged user base of web3 fitness enthusiasts.

For STEPN, the collab signals its growing presence in the footwear world while hinting at the potential for more brand partnerships to come.

The big picture: This deal marks the latest fitness x web3 crossover:

  • Vancouver Running Co. teamed with oddfutur3 to launch Run As You Are, an NFT project supporting community and diversity in running.
  • Outside’s “anti-metaverse” NFT marketplace, The Outerverse, aims to promote outdoor adventure.
  • Apex Optimizers’ NFT collection focuses on health and performance optimization through brand perks and in-person experiences.

Takeaway: Despite a flood of new tech, our health is in serious decline. Another approach, gamifying physical activity could unlock exercise for more than the already fit.

Share this headline

📰 News & Notes

💰 Money Moves

  • Real, a mental health app, landed $37M in an oversubscribed Series B led by Owl Ventures.
  • DEFY Labs, the web3 developer behind move-to-earn AR game DEFY, raised $3.5M in a seed round co-led by Animoca BrandsOliveX, and Spartan Group.
    More from Fitt Insider: Our conversation with OliveX founder Keith Rumjahn
  • Digital menopause care platform Evernow raised $28.5M in Series A funding led by NEA, with participation from 8VC, actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Drew Barrymore, and others.
    More from Fitt Insider: Our conversation with Evernow CEO Dr. Alicia Jackson
  • Fiit, a digital fitness platform, crowdfunded £1.02M ($1.33M) to build hybrid fitness studios and develop connected fitness equipment with partner Assault Fitness.
    More from Fitt Insider: Fitness Comes Full Circle
  • Homecoming, a digital platform supporting clinical psychedelic treatments, closed $4M in an oversubscribed seed round co-led by Evolve Ventures and Integrated.
    More from Fitt Insider: Psychedelics as Medicine
  • LifeFit Group, operator of Barry’s, Club Pilates, and Fitness First in the German market, acquired 13 In Shape fitness clubs.
  • Bay Area-based gym operator VillaSport Athletic Club acquired Idaho gym chain Axiom Fitness.
  • Functional chocolate bar maker Mid-Day Squares raised $10M in a Series C round led by Siddhi Capital.
  • Eleanor Health, a digital addiction care and mental health platform, secured $50M in a Series C round led by General Catalyst.
  • Conceive, a digital fertility support platform, landed $3.7M in a seed round led by Kindred Ventures.
  • Fertility-centered fintech and care support platform Future Family raised $25M in a Series B round at an $80M valuation.
    More from Fitt Insider: The Future of Fertility Tech
  • Women’s CBD company Equilibria acquired California cannabis apothecary Fleur Marché for an undisclosed sum.
  • IntelliHealth, an obesity management telehealth platform, received undisclosed funding from Swiftarc Ventures.
    More from Fitt Insider: Weight of the World
  • France-based Umiami, makers of a whole-cut plant-based chicken breast, raised $30M in a Series A funding round.
  • Leaft Foods, makers of plant-based protein derived from leaves, secured $15M in a Series A round from Khosla Ventures, NBA star Steven Adams, and others.

Today’s newsletter was brought to you by Anthony and Joe Vennare, Ryan Deer, and Melody Song.

Get the latest health and fitness industry news

Keep up with industry news, trends, investment activity, and job openings — in one weekly newsletter.

    No thanks.