HelloMD, a service that uses telemedicine to connect people with doctors willing and able to prescribe medical marijuana, has raised just over a million dollars via equity crowdfunding on SeedInvest. The raise includes $200,000 from SeedInvest itself via the platform’s “Selections Fund”. The round won’t be complete for another month, so the company could raise significantly more.
Though the company is sometimes met with skepticism, CEO Mark Hadfield assured MobiHealthNews that HelloMD is very much a healthcare company, which even won Best Healthcare Startup at San Francisco’s Launch Festival this year.
“People have a sense perhaps that the medical side of cannabis is sort of a ruse for recreational cannabis and that’s not our view,” Hadfield told MobiHealthNews. “If you look at the market, it’s a bell curve. On the one side you have very sick patients. On the other side you have recreational patients. In the middle you have a much larger slice of the market which is health and wellness-slash-medical. These people have migraines, PTSD, chronic pain, back aches, insomnia. There’s about 18 different conditions that cannabis has proved to be incredibly helpful for. … So we’re very much a healthcare play and we believe that health and wellness is a serious and significant part of cannabis.”
HelloMD is live in all 30 states where medical marijuana is legal, as well as in Canada and Germany. The startup has been operating for about two years and in that time it’s been largely a telemedicine play.
“The telehealth is important because it gives them this discrete way of interacting with medical professionals outside of going to a doctor’s office,” he said. “They don’t necessarily even want to go to a dispensary because they don’t want to be seen going in or out, or they’re just intimidated. So telehealth is a very important feature to give people access.”
HelloMD’s doctors are independent, board-certified physicians who have been trained and educated by the company about cannabis.
The company’s goals, however, are bigger than just telemedicine. The company already has a wealth of user-generated but company-vetted content on medical uses for cannabis, for instance.
“Our goal is to provide the full range of solutions for the cannabis consumer,” Hadfield said. “So when they first enter the market they get access to a doctor, they go through our process and meet one of our doctors, and we maintain their medical records in our HIPAA compliant platform. But we also help them through their next step, which is to discover which products might be useful for them to have, and to facilitate community-type interactions with other similar patients. And also to engage with brands and retailers, to ask questions, to engage, and ultimately purchase cannabis products as well, all on our website. So that’s the vision: that full service solution for a cannabis consumer.”
Hadfield says there are some private equity firms ready to invest that haven’t made their contribution public, but part of the reason they’re using equity crowdfunding is because many big name investors are currently prohibited from investing in cannabis by their subscription agreements.
Ultimately, HelloMD is banking on the stigma of medical marijuana fading as time goes by and laws change.
“I think over time what’s going to happen is, as cannabis is descheduled by the federal government and it continues to be less stigmatized, it will merge into being a significant development in the health and wellness and medical world and then other big players will want to participate across the board. Because hundreds of millions of people across the world can benefit from cannabis.”