(Bloomberg) — Everlywell Inc., a health startup that sells a Covid-19 home-testing kit, is in talks to raise fresh capital at a valuation of $1 billion or more.
Prospective investors including venture capital firms are participating in the discussions, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named. The company reached a valuation of $175 million after a fundraising round last year, according to Pitchbook estimates.
The latest effort, if successful, would vault Everlywell to unicorn status, giving it a lead among niche telehealth startups that are rushing to expand. The global pandemic has been a boon for such companies as patients seek to avoid the risk of visiting a doctor.
A spokesperson for the Austin-based company declined to comment.
In May, Everlywell, led by Chief Executive Officer Julia Cheek, received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to sell a home Covid-19 test. It costs $109. Last month, the company hired Andy Page, former president of 23andMe, as president.
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Everlywell raised $50 million in April 2019 from investors including Goodwater Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Next Coast Ventures, NextGen Venture Partners and SoGal Ventures, among others.
The company may exceed $100 million in sales this year after achieving $40 million in 2019, according to the Austin Business Journal.
Everlywell, which has partnerships with CVS Health Corp. and Humana Inc., is luring investor interest even as its products have attracted criticism. It is best known for its controversial tests for food sensitivity —- and an appearance on the popular reality TV show Shark Tank. Experts have said that test, which the company has called a best-seller, is medically dubious.
Last week, another player in this sector, Hims Inc., which also sells a Covid-19 test, said it would go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
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