Toronto-based healthtech startup Felix Health, which offers users access to treatments for common, but often stigmatized, health issues, has raised a $10 million CAD Series A round of funding.
The round was led by new investor Whitecap Ventures. Previous investors Mantella Venture Partners, BrandProject and H Ventures also participated in the round. Following the deal, which closed in late December, Russell Samuels, partner at Whitecap Venture Partners, has joined Felix Health’s board of directors.
“COVID accelerated the interest in giving virtual healthcare a try for people that were either on the fence or maybe hadn’t done it before.”
The investment comes as the startup reports having grown its customer base eight-fold during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a widespread impact on the demand for telehealth solutions.
Felix allows users to request a diagnosis on the company’s website by sharing their medical history and symptoms in an online quiz. A licenced Canadian doctor will then review the information confidentially, and can also chat directly with the patient through a secure messaging platform. The doctor will issue a prescription, which is then filled and shipped, with discreet packaging, by an accredited pharmacy.
Felix has cornered a specific segment of the virtual healthcare market. Rather than simply facilitating healthcare visits with general physicians, Felix offers an end-to-end treatment service for common, but often stigmatized, ailments or health needs, such as hair loss, acne, birth control, and cold sores.
“Our company is about empowering people to take control of their health and well being. It’s really about access, and it’s really about breaking down stigmas. That’s really what drives our pulse,” CEO of Felix Health Kyle Zien told BetaKit.
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The platform launched in 2019 after the startup secured $850,000 in funding. At the time the funding was originally announced, the round totalled $750,000 and was classified as seed capital. Zien told BetaKit Felix went on to raise $2.5 million, which the company decided to classify as its seed round, re-classifying its $750,000 investment as pre-seed funding. With this Series A round, Felix has raised $13.3 million CAD to date.
The startup’s platform is currently available across Canada, except in Québec. Making the platform available in Québec is a key priority for Felix this year, which will mean ensuring the platform is accessible to French-speaking users.
Virtual health has been a hot market during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many startups in the sector seeing significant growth due to the rise in demand for remote health solutions. The new emphasis on telehealth solutions can be seen in Maple raising $75 million from Loblaws, and WELL Health’s acquisition of Adracare.
Zien told BetaKit that even before the pandemic Felix was growing well and had achieved “strong product-market fit.” The key change the CEO noticed when the pandemic hit was that adoption rates accelerated massively as people were either forced or became more open to giving virtual care a try.
“COVID accelerated the interest in giving virtual healthcare a try for people that were either on the fence or maybe hadn’t done it before,” Zien said.
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“We felt that [acceleration] across the company in every regard,” Zien added. “We blew past our growth targets on everything from signups to customers to revenue.” Zien declined to disclose the startup’s revenue growth numbers to BetaKit.
There are a number of telehealth providers now on the market, including virtual care providers such as Maple and online pharmacy startups such as PocketPills and Pillway. Zien acknowledged that the increased demand for telehealth solutions will inevitably lead to a more competitive environment, but said he sees Felix as playing a more unique role in the ecosystem with its focus on specific categories of healthcare.
The startup is also looking to add new categories to its platform, including mental health and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatments, which is a preventative treatment for people who are at risk of contracting HIV.
Another key priority for Felix in 2021 will be building out its currently 17-person team. The startup plans to add 20 to 25 members this year.
UPDATE 02/16/2021: This article has been updated to reflect that PrEP is a preventative treatment for people who are at risk of contracting HIV, rather than a treatment for people already living with HIV.
Image courtesy Felix Health.