London-based health tech platform LVDNR has raised £1.5 million in seed funding to develop inclusive sexual health solutions for the LGBTQ+ community.
The round was led by Octopus Ventures, alongside Calm Storm Ventures, Soho Ventures and several angel investors.
Research by Backstage Capital estimates less than 1% of VC funding goes to LGBTQ+ founders.
WHAT IT DOES
By integrating into existing services LVNDR’s platform facilitates greater access to tailored LGBTQ+ sexual healthcare.
LVNDR is working with Sexual Health London, the largest remote sexual health service in Europe, to research the benefits of remote interventional tools, starting with medication adherence for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) users.
WHAT IT’S FOR
LVNDR will use the funding to invest in new product development and scale its commercialisation activities through partnerships with UK healthcare providers. It is also expanding its team with a focus on key senior roles in product, operations, and partnerships.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Stonewall’s Health in Britain report found one in eight LGBTQ+ people have faced unequal treatment from healthcare staff. Also, two in five trans people reported experiencing a lack of understanding of the community’s unique healthcare needs.
In the US, OptumHealth Education, recently launched a training programme to advise healthcare professionals how to treat people in the LGBTQ+ community.
Earlier this year, health startup Plume raised $14 million in Series A funding for its virtual platform designed to help members of the transgender community find health services. Meanwhile, Folx Health raised $25 million for its digital health services for LGBTQ+ individuals.
ON THE RECORD
Christopher El Badaoui, CEO at LVNDR, said: “Healthcare is failing the LGBTQ+ community. Queer and trans individuals have faced systemic discrimination and challenges in receiving an affirmative, inclusive, and respectful environment of care.
“At LVNDR, we want to change that, turning a feared experience into a celebratory one. We want to empower individuals to feel seen and have control over their health choices by providing access to tailored sexual health and gender identity services through an integrated digital clinic.”
Will Gibbs, principal and health investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “Time and time again, when health services are designed by communities for their members, they achieve superior results on both vectors, and my experiences as a gay man have also reinforced this. Once you have been to a LGBTQ sexual health clinic (eg. Dean Street Express) it is hard to think why a patient would go anywhere else.
“Building a business where the clinicians understand, and even look and speak like patients is the first step in building a category leading health company that can solve issues that are felt in every country in the world.”
Adrian Kelly, lead commissioner at Sexual Health London, said: “London is excited to work in collaboration with LVNDR. It’s critical we continue to seek out new perspectives, and innovative solutions if we are to succeed in our mission of transforming Londoners’ sexual health.”