For Nurx Inc., a telemedicine provider of birth-control services, the mission goes beyond convenience.
The San Francisco company aims to serve young women who lack access to reproductive health services in rural and conservative parts of the U.S. Three years after it launched, Texas and Indiana are among Nurx’s top five markets, and demand has been so strong that it has offset opposition from groups in North Carolina.
Now, with a fresh $36 million in Series B funding and Chelsea Clinton joining its board, Nurx hopes to build out a comprehensive reproductive health platform available nationwide.
Available in 17 states, Nurx allows anyone with a smartphone to get a consultation with a medical professional and obtain a prescription for birth control, emergency contraceptives or the HIV-prevention medication PrEP. It also makes referrals for services the company can’t currently provide.
Ms. Clinton said she was drawn to the company for its approach to serving what she called reproductive health-care “deserts,” particularly in remote places or states with restrictive laws.
“With efforts you see around the country to further restrict reproductive health access, we need to set the bar high to connect people with information and birth control access,” Ms. Clinton said. “We want to see as much innovation both in for-profit and not-for-profit models for sustained access, and this is a moment where we are more likely to see that in a private company.”
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, with participation from Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator and Lowercase Capital. The financing brings Nurx’s total to $42 million and represents a big push behind a startup that initially attracted so much attention it couldn’t meet demand, said Kleiner General Partner Noah Knauf.
“You see a lot of companies really having to throw everything they have into customer acquisition. This it not the case with Nurx,” said Mr. Knauf, who will join the company’s board. “There are very real issues with access to birth control in the middle of country, and there are still stigmas associated with populations Nurx serves.”
Chief Executive Hans Gangeskar said Nurx sees growing demand for its HIV-prevention medication in regions where transmission of the virus has been on the rise.
Mr. Gangeskar said the company plans to use the financing to expand its suite of services, hiring more full-time nurses and expanding its network of part-time physicians and nurse practitioners.