Home Health Care Concierge primary care startup Forward Health raises $225M

Concierge primary care startup Forward Health raises $225M

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A patient uses the body scanner at one of Forward Health’s clinics. Photo credit: Forward Health

Tech-centric primary care startup Forward Health raised $225 million as it looks to ramp up its expansion across the U.S. The company’s clinics have a sleek aesthetic, featuring big screens in each exam room to display patient vitals — but it comes at a steep price of $150 per month, and does not take insurance.

Venture capital firms Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures and Softbank’s Vision Fund 2 participated in the series D round, along with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and singer the Weeknd. Forward said it plans to use the new cash to expand beyond its current outposts in Southern California, San Francisco, New York and Washington D.C., but did not say which markets it would target next.

Forward touts all sorts of technical widgets for its clinics — including a “biometric scan” that users get when they enter the clinic — but is short on details.  When asked what that entails, a company spokesperson merely said the company collects an average of “500 biometric points” in the first visit.

A video by the company showed the scan device measuring a user’s heart rate, oxygen saturation and body composition — many of which can already be done at primary care clinics.

The spokesperson also said the company offers metabolic, lipid and hemoglobin panels, as well as genetic screening. The latter test is provided by 23andMe.

Jeff Housenbold, a managing partner with SoftBank Investment Advisors, cited those technologies as part of the reason for its investment.

“We believe Forward Health is transforming healthcare. Rather than visiting a doctor when you’re sick, Forward proactively works to keep you healthy by utilizing advanced technologies such as remote biometrics monitoring and app-based care,” he said in a news release.

Forward says it can provide wellness exams, physicals, and care for minor injuries and illnesses, such as colds or ear infections.

The company also said it is rolling out programs for stress management, weight management and heart health which also appear to be built around technology. For example, its stress management program involves at-home sensors for sleep tracking and recording anxiety levels through its app, according to the company’s website.

But it will have to sell users on the idea that it will be a step up from their current primary care options, or other concierge services. For instance, competitor One Medical charges much less for its $200 annual subscription, but still bills insurance for in-person visits.

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