Ro acquires Modern Fertility in a deal north of $225 million

·3 min read

Ro, a digital elective care and telemedicine provider last valued at $5 billion, announced today that it has acquired Modern Fertility, a reproductive health company founded in 2017. Axios estimates it sold for $225 million in a majority-stock deal. TechCrunch has learned that the deal was "north" of $225 milliion.

Ro, also founded in 2017, has spent the past few years growing its business to be far more than its launched purpose: a solution for men with erectile dysfunction. It has since expanded into women’s health, smoking cessation, and treats over 20 conditions, including sexual health but also into weight loss and allergies. The acquisition of a business that focuses on women’s health will likely fit squarely into Rory, Ro’s women’s healthcare business that focuses on online visits, contact-free delivery and “healthcare without the waiting rooms.”

With the acquisition, Ro said that it is adding fertility testing and reproductive health to its women’s health suite of services, a product that has grown 300% last year in revenue. Similarly, in Q1 2021, Modern Fertility grew about 300% in revenue compared to the year prior. Modern Fertility co-founders Afton Vechery and Carly Leahy will lead that vertical for Ro.

Beyond the fact that this is one of the biggest exits for a women’s health company with a focus on reproductive care, today’s acquisition is important because it’s another step in a healthcare system that is built on an entirely “cash-pay, no insurance” model. Since inception, Ro has bet that the future of healthcare can be built on out-of-pocket expenses, and that consumers are willing to pay directly to access a doctor instead of going through the hurdles of traditional insurance. That, of course, comes with missing out on the currently insured, which is still a large subset of Americans.

However, if the deal goes as planned, Modern Fertility entering the Ro umbrella might make the overall business have yet another pitch to consumers to use its service. Consumers are lazy, and if you can give them one place to get all their services -- maybe even starting with fertility -- it becomes a stickier and stickier operation. Other companies such as Everlywell and Future Family have similarly proven the market out there for comprehensive fertility solutions.

Plus, you can see how today’s deal jibes well with Ro’s December 2020 acquisition of Workpath. Workpath is an in-home care API that allows Ro to create a vertically integrated primary care platform, so it can send professionals to a patient’s home or conduct diagnostic tests.

As far as acquisitions go for Ro, while last year was a broad bet on how to bring care services to others, this year is a new, niche bet on which care services will be most important to consumers going forward. Since Ro has raised nearly $900 million in venture capital raised to date, expect more in the M&A front as the months roll on by.