Press release: Telemedicine Innovator Lemonaid Health Raises $11 Million in Series A Funding

Leading a second wave of telehealth where algorithms will power quality care

San Francisco, May 22, 2017 — Lemonaid Health, the simplest and fastest platform for online healthcare, today announced $11 million in new funding to support continued innovation in affordable online healthcare. The Series A funding round was led by Novartis Venture Fund and Hikma Ventures and joined by Correlation Ventures, Adaptive Healthcare Fund, Vega Ventures and 415 Ventures.

“Millions of people are looking to lower their healthcare costs and gain more convenient access to physicians and the medicine they need,” Lana Ghanem, managing director of Hikma Ventures, said. “Lemonaid Health’s technology, algorithms and machine learning opportunities will improve the quality of care while decreasing the time and hassles required to get it. We look forward to working with the Lemonaid Health team and co-investors in expanding the platform to include more services with even greater reach.”

Now available in 14 states, Lemonaid Health leverages evidence-based guidelines and the most up-to-date clinical protocols to provide quality care for less than typical co-pays. In just a few minutes, Lemonaid enables patients to get care for conditions like acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, flu, hair loss, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and for birth control medication. If appropriate, Lemonaid Health’s board-certified doctors recommend a treatment and send a prescription to the pharmacy of choice.

“We know there’s an increasing shortage of physicians in parts of the US,” Campbell Murray, a managing director at the Novartis Venture Fund, said. “Lemonaid Health gives patients better access to physicians and care providers, supporting the overburdened healthcare system while delivering high quality care.”

To streamline administration, the entire telehealth practice is powered on the custom-built Lemonaid Health platform. To ensure maximum access, the service can be accessed from any modern web browser or on the iOS or Android app.

“This new capital will accelerate our development of future product capabilities while expanding Lemonaid’s operating footprint,” Paul Johnson, Co-CEO of Lemonaid Health, said. “We’re using technology to augment physicians’ ability to provide standardized and streamlined quality care at scale. We’re thrilled that our partners can see how machine learning and other technologies will increase access to timely care and improve affordability.”

To streamline the process further, Lemonaid Health’s partnership with Phil, Inc. allows users to have prescriptions delivered to their home. A process that typically takes months (from appointment booking to prescription pick-up), now only takes a couple of hours. It’s another reason why Lemonaid Health now has an 89 Net Promoter Score (NPS) — more than three times the industry average — for the patients it treats.

About Lemonaid Health
Lemonaid Health is leading the next wave of telemedicine innovation. We use clinical algorithms to augment our physician’s knowledge as the basis for our platform that enables patients to quickly, safely and inexpensively get care and prescriptions for a variety of common medical conditions. We’re focused on improving the patient experience and optimizing our algorithms with new advancements in machine learning and AI. Our medical team, simple website and mobile app have garnered an industry-leading Net Promoter Score of 89 and our telehealth practice has processed more than 48,000 doctor visits in 14 states. Visit lemonaidhealth.com for details and @lemonaidhealth on Twitter for breaking news.

About Novartis Venture Fund
The Novartis Venture Fund (NVF) manages over $700 million in committed capital. NVF invests in companies that have the potential to change a core therapeutic field or explore new business areas that will be critical to patient care. NVF’s primary interest is in the development of novel therapeutics and platforms as well as medical devices, diagnostics, and delivery systems. The Funds invest for financial objectives at all stages, but prefers to invest in the early-stages of company development. With investment professionals located in Basel, Switzerland, San Francisco (CA) and Cambridge (MA), the team has extensive experience in pharmaceutical R&D and venture capital. nvfund.com

About Hikma Ventures
Founded in August 2015, Hikma Ventures operates as the corporate venture capital arm of Hikma Pharmaceuticals. Hikma Ventures invests in global start-ups where Hikma’s expertise can accelerate revenue growth and enhance value creation by providing ventures with access to the resources of a multinational pharmaceutical company. For more information, visit www.hikmaventures.com

Press release: Telehealth Startup Lemonaid Launching $15 Online Doctor Visits In Michigan and New York

SAN FRANCISCO, Cali. – Dec. 1, 2015 – Lemonaid Health (Lemonaid.com), the simpler and faster way to get healthcare online, is expanding. Lemonaid offers quick low cost prescription treatment for just $15 anytime without the hassle of appointments, waiting rooms or awkward video-conferences. Its low price is making the service accessible to both patients with health insurance or among the 29 million who remain without it (CDC 2015). Patients are able to consult with a doctor online and receive a prescription usually within minutes.

Lemonaid has already helped hundreds of patients across California and Pennsylvania get easy access to birth control and treatment for urinary tract infections (UTI), sinus infections, acid reflux (GERD), hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and the flu and is about to launch services in Michigan and New York.

“Our mission at Lemonaid is to provide great, safe healthcare that people can afford while also saving time and hassle. We’re so excited that soon we’ll be helping patients in Michigan and New York too.” says Co-CEO Paul Johnson, noting that each year over one third of young adults aged 18-24 don’t see a doctor at all (Census Bureau 2012). Even though more Americans than ever have health insurance, actually finding a doctor quickly is still difficult. Those seeking primary care with Medicaid will have to wait a median of two weeks to be seen (HHS 2013) and things aren’t much more convenient for the privately insured.

Unlike other telehealth options which have high prices, virtual waiting rooms, and video conferences, Lemonaid users can quickly complete simple health questions anywhere on a smart phone or computer, get a prescription for their medicine sent to any pharmacy, and then text their doctor with any questions. “Our users love that they can talk to a doctor as easily as they would text a friend,” notes Dr. Jason Hwang, Chief Medical Officer.

The team behind Icebreaker Health, which created and runs Lemonaid, includes Paul Johnson and Ian Van Every who bring experience from building up the largest European telehealth provider from the UK. They moved to the United States and joined forces with Jason Hwang MD, an expert in healthcare innovation from Harvard, to launch this next generation of telehealth. Icebreaker received series A financing in August, 2014.

Early reviews of the new services are overwhelmingly positive for both iOS and Android, and the new website is making it even simpler for users to take control of their health, get the treatment they need and get back to their lives.

Lemonaid – urinary tract infections (UTIs) treatment – our second service

Our second service helps women in California and Pennsylvania get a doctor’s prescription for antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection (‘UTI’). We’re excited we can help even more Americans get great care at a price they can afford because providing great care at a great price is our mission. As with our birth control service, we aim to turn around all orders within 2 hours during our business hours.

To us, treating simple UTIs in women makes so much sense. A UTI’s a problem that can occur anytime, often at night or at a weekend when it’s least convenient to see a doctor in person, and it’s important to get treatment quickly. Aside from being very uncomfortable, most UTIs in women are bladder infections and aren’t serious if we can treat them straight away. But a bladder infection becomes serious if it spreads to your kidneys. A kidney infection can cause permanent damage.

To provide a bit of back-story, when we first asked ourselves the question of whether it would be appropriate to launch a UTI treatment service for women, we initially thought this wasn’t a service for us. Our rationale was that in our traditional in person clinics we’d individually always run tests on a patient’s urine, and if that was the gold standard, then online we weren’t prepared to meet a lower standard of care. But, frankly, to our surprise, our detailed research into the evidence showed that if we ask the right health questions then we can do a great job of correctly diagnosing a UTI in the vast majority of women who are pre-menopausal. By asking you the right questions we can also identify if you’re someone who really should see a doctor in person rather than get a prescription from us. So, jumping forward a few months, here we are with our new UTI treatment service that we’re really proud of.

The icing on the cake for us is that as part of our research we identified a nationwide database of local antibiotic resistance, so now we’re using that database to make sure that we always give you the right antibiotic for your zip code. Ironically, this isn’t something any of us did in our traditional bricks and mortar practice because we didn’t have time. For our online patients we always have the time, so we always check this database. This is a great example of how we can use technology to provide care that goes above and beyond what happens in traditional healthcare.

Just another telehealth provider? We don’t think so.

We’re different from other telehealh providers for 3 reasons. Here goes:

Difference 1 – great value care: our visit fee is only $15. we can provide great care for $15 because our doctors use technology to help us care for patients in a much more efficient way. By answering our health questions you provide our doctors with all the information they need to make a decision as to whether it’s appropriate to take responsibility for your care by giving you a prescription. This means our doctors can spend the time to provide you with great care and great service rather than spending the time to ask you health questions. We pass these time savings on to you in the form of lower cost. 

Difference 2 – ultra standardized care: each service we offer is meticulously thought-through using the latest evidence-based research and guidelines. And because of the way our doctors use technology we apply these guidelines rigorously. We only make a clinical decision when you’ve given us all the information we need, which is why if we need to ask you any follow-up questions we’ll either send you a message through the app or telephone you. Because we always get the right information and apply strict guidelines, we provide very standardized care. This is important to us because it’s not enough to lower the cost of care. We also need to improve the quality of care, and standardized care is great care. 

Difference 3 – long term conditions: our first 3 services are birth control pills, treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women, and treatment for men who have what’s called ‘male pattern baldness’. We’re proud of these 3 services because we provide fantastic care. We’re even more excited about the new services we’re going to launch. It’s Americans with long term conditions who need the most help. And sadly Americans with low incomes suffer disproportionally from long term conditions such as asthma and high blood pressure and depression. Long term conditions are the key driver of healthcare costs for Americans, and if that’s where the challenge is and that’s where Americans need help, then that’s where we’re heading. 

Lemonaid – birth control pill prescriptions – our first service

The first service we launched helps women in California obtain a doctor’s prescription for birth control pills online. We’re delighted that we’re now helping women in Pennsylvania too.

We chose birth control not just because 2 of our founders are OB/GYNs, but because in our research and amongst our team of doctors and friends it was clear how many women struggle to get in to see a doctor for their birth control prescription. Getting an appointment’s only half the battle if travel isn’t easy or you have to take 4 hours off work.

Getting birth control should be so simple. In fact the largest group of women’s health doctors in the country, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2012 recommended that birth control pills should be available over-the-counter. This hasn’t happened yet.

We’ve found a way to keep the doctor at the center of care and provide the accessibility of over-the-counter medicines. Using our app you still get great care from a real doctor and the ability to ask any questions. You can also access care whenever and wherever needed. Just like an in person visit, our doctors ask health questions to help us decide whether it’s safe to prescribe birth control. Just like an in person visit, we rely upon you to answer questions truthfully. We ask for your recent blood pressure, and if you don’t know it we help find a pharmacy that can measure it.

One of the reasons we provide great care is that we don’t have to rush a visit. We make sure we ask all the right health questions every time. We provide materials to help understand your birth control options. Detailed discussion of the options isn’t something we always have time for in person when we’re running behind schedule and there are 12 people in the waiting room. We offer the full range of birth control pills, including combination pills and progestin-only pills that are more popular in Europe because they cause fewer serious side effects. We try to make clear that the pill doesn’t protect against STDs.

We know we can’t help all of the people all of the time, and that many patients need and want to see a healthcare professional in person. But for women who are largely healthy and who struggle to get to a clinic, we hope we offer a great alternative.

Lemonaid – how it all began – our story

So Jason’s in Boston and writes a book called The Innovator’s Prescription. Ian and his brother Thom read the book, and suggest lunch in Palo Alto in California. At lunch they agree that with the right technology, doctors can help Americans get easier access to affordable great care. Elsewhere in California Bonnie’s helping public hospitals improve the quality of care. Bonnie joins the team.

Paul’s been helping patients in England access great care online, and he joins the team. Shauna finishes RN school and she joins. Mitch hears about what we’re doing and agrees to help. Emily moves up from San Diego and she joins. Simon joins. Jason reads Davis’ book and Davis reads Jason’s book and Davis joins. Eric joins, Charul joins, Kyle joins, Brendan joins, Kristin joins.

Refreshingly simple.

Our new name – Lemonaid – beyond birth control pills

We’re excited to launch under our new name Lemonaid.

Since February 2015 we’ve been helping women in California get a doctor’s prescription for birth control pills through our PolkaDoc app. We started in California because that’s where we call home. We started with birth control because the need is so clear. 

Based on what we’ve learned from our patients these last 6 months we’ve now got ambitions to do amazing things nationally. Next we’re expanding our service beyond California and beyond birth control pills. 

As part of our determination to help all Americans, we’re changing our name to something that better matches our mission of providing care that’s refreshingly simple, and convenient. At fifteen dollars for a doctor’s visit we think we’re the first to take healthcare into a new era. 

Please may we introduce, Lemonaid.