HerMD, a minority, female-founded startup, has raised $10 million to expand women’s sexual health and menopause services, the Cincinnati-based company told MedCity News.
The company currently operates two centers — one in Cincinnati and the other in Crescent Springs, Kentucky — and has attracted patients from all over the U.S. and beyond. HerMD’s chief medical officer and founder Dr. Somi Javaid said that patients have come from 30 states and even Canada to get specialized care at the two locations. An OBGYN, Javaid said the money raised will allow the company to open new locations as well as offer virtual care so more women can access sexual health and menopause services. JAZZ Venture Partners led the Series A funding round.
HerMD is planning to open new women’s healthcare centers in Indiana and New Jersey in 2022. After that, in 2023, it’s looking to open additional locations — in places like Denver, Nashville and Atlanta, though it hasn’t confirmed markets yet — for up to a total of 10 centers, Javaid said. The company also plans to offer telehealth in 10 states in 2022 and all 50 states by the end of next year. She hopes that the additional centers and telehealth offerings will address the problems many women face.
“About 43% of women struggle with some type of sexual problem, whether it’s low libido or painful sex or problems with arousal or orgasm,” Javaid said. “All of our providers have specialty training in sexual health.”
She noted that clinicians at HerMD take into account a patient’s physical symptoms, mental health and personal relationships to provide individualized treatment for menopause and sexual dysfunction.
There are several startups addressing women’s health specifically. However, even with the emergence of companies like Tia — which offers everything from sexual and reproductive healthcare to primary care for women — and Gennev, a telehealth platform supporting menopause care, Javaid said a significant need remains for more specialized women’s sexual health and menopause services. That includes treating conditions where women otherwise have few (if any) local options.
“For example, we are offering Botox for a condition called vaginismus, which in some women renders sexual intercourse impossible,” Javaid said.
She sees offering more care options for women in the area of sexual health as an imperative. Currently, resources including research dollars and drugs are still much more focused on male sexual dysfunction than women’s sexual health.
“We are way behind in women’s sexual healthcare,” she said.
But it’s not just a physical malady or condition that HerMD is tackling. It aims to treat the continuum of women’s health including mental health, with evidence-backed approaches, she said.
The startup is also tackling the financial aspect of getting help for sexual health problems.
“A lot of sexual healthcare providers have gone concierge or they have a membership model,” Javaid said. “And that’s the other huge differentiator for us is that we take insurance for all of our gynecologic procedures.”
In addition, HerMD offers discounted self-pay options if patients don’t have insurance.
Part of the company’s growth plan will involve continuing to add staff, from clinicians to administrative and executive team members, to support in-person care and telehealth. That all will require capital, and so far the company has been able to attract it.
“This round marks an incredible milestone for women’s healthcare,” said Meghan Reynolds, partner at JAZZ, in a statement.
Reynolds appreciates HerMD’s focus on underserved areas, including women’s sexual health, menopause, and traditionally overlooked geographies. “We believe the HerMD care model is uniquely positioned to disrupt one of the fastest-growing segments in healthcare.”
Photo: TAW4, Getty Images
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