Telehealth platform Ro has entered into the teledermatology fray, joining a cohort of competitors like Hims & Hers, Curology and Musely FaceRx.
Launched on Tuesday, Ro is calling its teledermatology offering Ro Derm. Five-year-old Ro, formerly called Roman, offers a wide variety of telehealth services, including prescriptions for male sexual dysfunction, women’s reproductive health and menopause, and mental health services. The company raised $500 million in a Series D funding round in March 2021, as well a $150 million raise announced Tuesday, bringing its total funding to just over $1 billion and a valuation of $7 billion. Tuesday’s funding was through existing investors and led by ShawSpring Partners. Ro already offered prescription skin-care products for both men and women, since 2019, under the brand named Roman and Rory. It brought in $20 million in sales in 2021, said Zachariah Reitano, CEO of Ro. Both brands are now sold under the Ro Derm brand and website.
“The reason we are now creating a distinct brand and care vertical for dermatology is that we’ve seen incredible demand from our patients,” said Reitano. “We’ve had over 175,000 patients treated for dermatology-related products on Ro’s platform, and about 10% of our patients are using a dermatology product and another [one of Ro’s] products. They’ll come in and start with one thing and then start to use Ro for more products and services.”
Roman and Rory’s existing products have been renamed and repackaged. Ro Derm will offer a Custom Rx Treatment, formerly Nightly Defense, for $58 for a 60-day supply. There is also the Custom Rx System of three products, including the Custom Rx Treatment, Hydrating Cleanser (formerly Antioxidant Face Cleanser) and Protecting SPF Lotion (formerly Weightless Face Moisturizer), for $82 for a 60-day supply. Ro Derm does not accept insurance but does accept FSA and HSA payments.
Ro is getting into the teledermatology space late, compared to its peers. Him & Hers added prescription skin-care products to its platform in 2018 and more recently acquired Apostrophe telederm brand in 2021. Curology launched in 2014, while Musely FaceRx launched in 2019.
Part of Ro’s fundamental business strategy is vertical integration, as the company not only operates telehealth platforms but also owns and operates 10 pharmacies, a clinical laboratory for testing at-home kits, and a compounding lab for product formulations. When patients or users create an account with any Ro brand, that account can be used across all other brands for a seamless experience. Instead of branding and product offerings, Reitano called the comprehensive health experience the key differentiator for Ro Derm. Across its brands, Ro has serviced over 8 million physician doctor visits to date.
“While we might be late to a dermatology-branded care vertical, we’ve been operating [dermatology] for a few years and, more importantly, have a differentiated infrastructure to provide higher quality care for patients over time,” said Reitano.
Though Reitano declined to provide investment figures, Ro has invested quite a bit into the operations of Ro Derm. Ro hired Preston Bottomy as general manager of Ro Derm. He previously worked at HatchBeauty Brands, Moda Operandi and Walmart. Ro Derm will have its own engineering, data, clinical, product and design teams.
At launch, Ro Derm’s Instagram will serve as an information hub featuring skin-care advice penned by clinical experts. That will eventually translate to an embedded blog on the site, serving as a go-to educational destination for all things skin. Ro Derm is using five of its internal health and skin experts for promotions across TikTok and IG Reels, including employees Libby Rhee, DO, MS, FAAD and Ro Derm dermatologist in residence, and Cicely Shillingford, PhD and Ro Derm’s formulation scientist.