Eye telemedicine company Simple Contacts lands $16M in funding

By Laura Lovett
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Eye telemedicine company Simple Contacts announced it raked in $16 million in Series B funding at the end of last week. The latest round, which was led by Waypoint Capital Partners with participation from returning investors Goodwater Capital, Steven Cohen, executives from Flatiron Health and a number of ophthalmologists, brings the company’s total funding to $26 million. 

The company allows users to more easily renew their contact lens prescription from home by taking an eye test on any connected device with a camera. The test has a redness exam, where the doctor can see the contact lens in the patient's eye, as well as the traditional a visual acuity chart exam. 

“The inspiration was simple: I needed to renew my contact lens prescription ahead of a trip out of the country, and I didn’t have time to schedule an appointment and visit a doctor,” Joel Wishkovsky, CEO and cofounder of Simple Contacts, wrote to MobiHealthNews in an email.  “My cofounder Ryan and I had been exploring the healthcare space and looking for ideas to tackle, so we decided to treat this as a test case. We connected with Dr. Saya Nagori, an NYU ophthalmologist who is now the Medical Director of Simple Contacts, who helped us develop a clinically sound vision test for contact lens prescription renewals. We started working on this in late 2015 with the product going live in April of 2016.”

The test takes about three minutes and costs $20, according to Wishkovsky. Following the test the company will forward the results to a doctor licensed in the patient’s state. The company operates in 43 states and has a team of 45 fulltime employees.

The company plans to use the latest funding to grow its team and expand customer acquisitions. Wishkovsky said the startup is looking to open a second office this year for customer service. The leadership team is also looking to bring on 30 more employees to the company in the next year. It will also use the money to expand its lobbying efforts in Washington in hopes to expand access to telemedicine services. Ocular telemedicine has been something of a legal and regulatory battleground in recent years.

Lastly, by 2019 the startup is looking to grow into a broader "Simple Health" brand. 

“This is by far the fastest growing company of which I have ever been a part,” Wishkovsky wrote to MobiHealthNews. “Our goal is bigger than simply contact lenses. We want to make the US healthcare system more affordable and convenient for millions of patients. Visiting a doctor’s office is often medically unnecessary, especially for routine prescription renewals. Those visits have a real cost, both financially for patients and U.S. taxpayers, along with a cost in time and headaches. In 2019 we plan to expand our offerings to address other areas of healthcare, and build out a suite of products under the 'Simple Health' umbrella.”