- 98point6 scored $118 million to grow its platform, which could include more services beyond primary care.
- And the virtual primary care provider could catch the eye of Walmart's primary care arm.
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The virtual primary care provider scored $118 million in a Series E funding round, which it plans to put toward research and development and to expand its online medical practice as the demand for remote care rises. For context, 98point6 is a text-focused primary care startup that provides on-demand digital care via text messaging to users in all 50 states of the US.
After witnessing a surge in users fueled by the pandemic, 98point6 could use the cash infusion to broaden its scope of telemental health options and keep riding the telehealth boom. The coronavirus pandemic catalyzed a large-scale shift to virtual care, and 98point6 reaped the fruits of patients' sudden interest: From the end of 2019 to the first few months of 2020, the telehealth company saw a 238% upsurge in membership, and it now touts over 240 commercial partnerships.
Earlier this year, 77% of employers expressed their intention to expand their offerings to include digital mental health services. Despite spikes in telemental health usage amid the pandemic, as of July 2020, behavioral health visits made up just 10% of 98point6's total visits. Considering 98point6's major consumer segment is employers, it makes sense for it to further develop its platform in this area and to target those intending to build out their benefits packages to include telemental health.
We think we could see Walmart—a brand 98point6 already has a relationship with—become more interested in bringing the virtual care startup's telehealth offerings into its retail care clinics given its recent success. 98point6 is no stranger to the Walmart brand: Last month, the virtual care startup struck a deal with Walmart subsidiary Sam's Club to offer $1 telehealth visits to Sam's Club members. Meanwhile, Walmart has been expanding its primary care footprint across the US: Last month, Walmart announced its plans to roll out 22 clinics in its supercenters across the US.
And although Walmart has signaled its commitment to broadening its primary care play, it has not yet integrated any virtual care options within its network of retail clinics. Seeing as the pandemic has reeled in hordes of telehealth users, the retail giant might want to tap an affordable telehealth service like 98point6's to hook in consumers who want to keep using virtual care: More than 50% of consumers plan on using telehealth once outbreaks subside, per a June 2020 Amwell survey of 2,000+ US adults.
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