Although female entrepreneurs have a harder time raising venture capital than their male counterparts, the situation is reversed when it comes to online health apps. Although mainly focused on reproductive medicine, sites like the Clue App and the Flo Period & Ovulation tracker have successfully raised millions of dollars while generating millions of downloads. For men, digital health companies have been slower to the starting gate.
That’s too bad. While most studies suggest a significant pay gap between women and men, the one area where males are clearly behind is in life expectancy. Across developed countries, the average woman outlives the average man by five years or more. While there are many factors, lack of regular check-ups are a major reason for the disparity. So here’s a look at some select digital health companies for men’s health and how they can help.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telemedicine. In 2019, the notion of communicating with your health care provider via videoconference seemed so novel it was almost science fiction. Now it’s commonplace. Busy schedules and the general inconvenience of waiting in most doctor’s offices has kept many men from getting regular check-ups. Hims is one of the companies that hopes to change that.
With a long line of investors like Founder Fund, Kyle Widrick, Maverick Ventures, and Gin Lane, this e-commerce wellness brand for men is about more than just skin care products. It actually connects their users with doctors––after telemedical appointments, new patients can get prescriptions for products like Finasteride and Sildenafil. Unlike many food delivery apps, there’s no fee to get prescriptions delivered right to their door. There’s even a videoconferencing mental health option that lets Hims users participate in virtual group therapy. They also offer a female-focused site called, appropriately enough, “Hers.”
Disclaimer: There are inherent risks with online prescribing, such as access to minors or incomplete infomation leading to even life-threatening side effects (e.g. concurrent use of sildenafil and nitroglycerin with potentially lethal hypotension).
A London-based startup, this company raised over $30 million last year and has an eye toward further expansion into South America and Europe after successful launches in Brazil and the UK. Like many of the digital health companies for men’s health, it’s focused on hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and wellness. Founder George Pallis hopes the company will become “the global destination for men’s health.” Its focus will be more on preventative, holistic approaches rather than just delivering prescriptions.
Overseen by medical start-up Ro, Roman bills itself as a digital health clinic for men. Besides offering the usual support for hair loss and sexual dysfunction, it also provides treatments for prostate, heart, bone, and testosterone issues. Online visits provide interactions with doctors, while prescriptions are prepared and shipped through the Ro Pharmacy Network.
4. Creative Medical Technology Holdings
Although it may have less of a patient-focused name, this company offers a unique approach to everything from erectile dysfunction to strokes. By utilizing the client’s stem cells, Creative Medical Technology Holdings hopes to combine cutting-edge science with ongoing issues that concern men. Unlike the others, this digital health company is focused mainly on clinical trials and early-stage treatments.
5. Vault Health
Taking the concierge experience online, Vault Health offers a wider array of options than most digital health companies. Besides connecting virtually with doctors, Vault will send someone to your home to collect a blood sample. Treatments, including prescriptions, are also delivered to the patient’s home following the doctor’s evaluation of lab results. The first health screening is $150 while the monthly fee runs between $100 to $300.
There’s no way of knowing which of these early-stage technology companies will be successful. Individual patient experience will also vary. Still, there’s no question that any development which motivates men to be more proactive with their health is a positive one.
Written by John Bankston