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Exclusive: Caraway collects $11M seed for women-focused virtual care

Erin Brodwin
Jul 26, 2022
Illustration of a woman in a hospital gown made from a one hundred dollar bill sitting on an examination bed.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

A month after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, virtual reproductive and mental health startup Caraway raised $10.5 million in seed funding, CEO Lori Evans Bernstein tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The company launches at a time when women are facing devastating consequences from the reversal of Roe, including poorer mental health, reduced access to reproductive support and lower economic mobility.

  • "A lot of Gen Z women previously assumed they’d have the right to make their own health care decisions just like they’d have the right to clean drinking water," says Bernstein. "Overturning Roe has overturned that basic assumption."

Deal details: 7wire Ventures and Omers Ventures led the round and HopeLab Ventures participated.

  • Additional investors include Oxeon Investments' Trevor Price, PillPack's Elliot Cohen, Lux Capital's Deena Shakir, ACME's Aike Ho, GoodRx's Doug Hirsch, Maven Clinic's Kate Ryder, author and investor Leslie Schrock, WCAS' Brian Regan and Missy Krasner.

Of note: This is Bernstein's third health care venture following her service as senior adviser to the nation's first Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) under the George W. Bush administration.

  • She previously co-founded and led HealthReveal, a clinical AI startup that Accolade acquired in 2021.
  • Before that, Bernstein led GSI Health, acquired by Medecision in 2015.

How it works: Focused on women in college, Caraway uses a team-based approach to offer virtual mental, reproductive and physical care through an app. It'll accept insurance and charge a $19.99 per month membership fee.

  • That team includes gynecologists, psychiatrists, adolescent specialists, therapists, nurses and coaches.
  • The above providers can prescribe birth control and education and guidance on emergency contraception. If patients need a procedural or medication abortion, Caraway will refer them to legal locations.
  • Caraway also offers tests for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

One fun thing: Bernstein says her team spent a lot of time pre-launch interviewing Gen Z women and currently has a text group of 60+ of them that it consults regularly on issues related to the app.

  • "There are a lot of companies asking, ‘How might we adapt this existing tool for this particular audience?,’" says HopeLab CEO Margaret Laws.
  • Laws says Caraway's perspective is: "'This is a really important time in the life and evolution of a human — what might we create to help those people be healthy and happy?’"
  • The company has also hired 11 Gen Z women across its product and engagement teams. "This is built by and with students," says Bernstein, "for women of all races, gender identities and sexual orientations."

What they're saying: Caraway leaders and investors say college is the perfect time to begin setting young women on a path to healthier outcomes later in life.

  • "There’s so much opportunity to get ahead of a lot of potential issues down the road and have a different health journey than the one I’ve had, which is much more reactive," says Bernstein.

What's next: Caraway eventually plans to offer medication abortions, Bernstein tells Axios.

  • "Depending on how the launch goes and how quickly we can scale on the clinician side, we want to flip the switch and take that piece on," she says.

State of play: Women's-focused health tech startups are gaining significant traction with investors. Recent deals include:

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