PlushCare, a D2C telemedicine service focused on urgent care, has raised $8 million in a round led by GGV Capital. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Exponent also contributed to the round.
Founded by Ryan McQuaid, a former lead product marketing manager of AT&T's mHealth Platform business, PlushCare launched in 2014 with a crowdfunding campaign. From an original launch in California only, the company's service has now expanded to include Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington as well. They focus on a direct-to-consumer telehealth model (visits are $99 for the first one and $69 after that) with doctors from the top 50 medical institutions in the country, including, primarily, Stanford and UCSF.
"When I worked at AT&T mHealth, we had access to a telehealth service as part of our health plan, yet nobody was taking advantage of it as the experience was poor with subpar doctors," Ryan McQuaid, co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. "PlushCare's mission is to enable the highest quality healthcare experience for every person in the US, regardless of location or health insurance status. To achieve this, we run the company like a tech start-up where patient experience matters, not a health services company which can be derailed by trying to align with corporate plans to drive down costs. Customers have absolute peace of mind knowing that if we can¹t help them with their issue, we don't charge them."
The company says it's raising funds now to support rapid expansion. Although direct to consumer is the focus, the company has always worked with some employer and health plan customers as well. In that market, the company competes by not charging a network access fee, but instead pricing visits the same way they do in their D2C model.
"As a Third Party Administrator, we helped clients install their first telehealth programs, but initially saw low utilization coupled with high network access fees, resulting in a cost-per-visit far in excess of traditional in-person visits," Jeffrey Cox, vice president at Delta Health Systems said in a statement. "After reviewing all the major telehealth solutions, including Teladoc, American Well, Doctor on Demand and MDLive, we chose PlushCare. PlushCare exceeded every other provider when it came to the quality of the physician network, ease of use, patient reviews and ROI. With no network access fee, our clients are guaranteed a substantial ROI on every use. As important, our clients were impressed with being able to offer their employees access to doctors trained at top schools like Stanford and Harvard and having the opportunity to build real, ongoing relationships with the doctors."