Simple Contacts gets $8M to bring ocular telemedicine app to Android, expand marketing

By Jonah Comstock
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Simple Contacts, a New York City-based ocular telemedicine company, has raised $8 million in its second round of funding. The round was led by Goodwater Capital with participation from existing investors Justin Kan, Notation Capital, and Autonomous Ventures. Along with the company's $2 million raise last fall, this bring's Simple Contacts' total funding to $10 million.

Simple Contacts makes an app that guides users through a $10 vision test that they perform wearing their contacts. Then, they select their current prescription and brand, and within 24 hours a licensed ophthalmologist will review the test results and prescription to verify and order a new prescription. The app is only for renewing existing prescriptions  -- Simple Contacts won't offer a new prescription if the user's vision has changed, nor do they offer the service to anyone who's gone five or more years without an eye exam. 

“Our team has been thinking about how to make healthcare more convenient for a long time.” Joel Wishkovsky, founder of Simple Contacts, said in a statement. “Our healthcare system is difficult to navigate, expensive and often hard to access for those without resources. People are looking for easier ways to access care, and our success shows that the average American is perfectly comfortable incorporating telemedicine visits into their healthcare regimens.”

The company plans to use the new funding to expand its product and marketing teams, to both improve the product and bring it into more markets. This will include building an Android app (the company is currently iOS-only) and a web platform. Simple Contacts is currently available in 38 states.

Simple Contacts is one of several new telehealth companies focused specifically on the eye health market. These companies have faced their own regulatory challenges, including in South Carolina where a law was passed outlawing smartphone-based eye exams, with the state legislature actually overriding the governor's veto to get the law through. That law is currently the subject of a lawsuit from Chicago-based Opternative.

On the other hand, the state of Virginia recently passed a proactive law that protects ocular telemedicine services, a measure that was supported by Opternative, Simple Contacts, and a number of other companies in the burgeoning space.

"As product builders, we didn’t anticipate that helping patients would be controversial, but it is clear that some industry players are interested in preserving the old way at any cost," Wichkovsky wrote on Medium at the time. "Unfortunately the patients are the ones who bear that cost. So we have no choice — we’ll be there, across the country, engaging with legislators, regulators and groups that want to advance healthcare to protect patient’s interests and fulfill our mission of making healthcare simpler and more convenient."