A startup that wants to prescribe and package birth control alongside bars of chocolate and stickers just raised another $51 million as it grows its national presence.
In total, San Carlos, California-based The Pill Club has now raised $67 million from investors including VMG, GV’s consumer team, Base10, Shasta Ventures and Acme Capital. Acme — formerly known as Sherpa Capital— has backed other consumer-facing health companies including PillPack and direct-to-consumer dermatology company Curology.
The healthcare industry as a whole has been jockeying to stay competitive as companies realize that patients, used to the consumer experience they’re getting from Amazon and Netflix, have higher expectations for their doctor’s visit.
That’s been a driving force behind mega-deals like Amazon’s acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack and CVS Health’s merger with Aetna. On-demand healthcare options like urgent care have gained in popularity too.
Startups like Pill Club have raised hundreds of millions over the past year as investors make a bet that getting prescriptions online and delivered through the mail represents the future of medicine. Many of them are focused on birth control, a common prescription that health insurance is required to pay for.
Here’s how it works: Logging onto Pill Club’s website, you can state whether you prefer one type of birth control over another and list out any health concerns that might interfere with a prescription.
After that, one of the company’s doctors reviews the information and can write a prescription. The pills or other birth control can then be sent via Pill Club’s pharmacies to your home.
The prescription comes alongside other goodies like sweets and stickers in what the startup calls a “care package.”
Companies like Pill Club offer a more convenient way of getting healthcare, typically combining an often virtual doctor’s visit with a prescription they ship to you. There’s no wait for an appointment and often no need to leave your house.
Additionally, men’s health company Hims operates Hers, which charges about $30 a month for birth control prescriptions, which covers the doctor’s visit, getting the prescription through the mail, and additional follow-up services. Hers doesn’t accept insurance.
Pill Club CEO Nick Chang told Business Insider the company is distinguishing itself by operating pharmacies — one in San Carlos and another in Dallas, Texas, — that are licensed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. For now, it can only prescribe via an online visit from 35 states.
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