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After raising $500 million earlier this year — bringing its total funding up to $897 million — Ro, which made its name selling erectile dysfunction and hair loss drugs to men, this month announced it would acquire women-centric brand Modern Fertility for a reported $225 million.

To some observers, Ro’s acquisition of Modern Fertility follows a well-established pattern: Companies founded by men might have an easier time raising capital, even very early in their histories, while companies focused on or founded by women might struggle to scrape together a seed round or secure further financing. Ro and competitor Hims, for example, were both founded by men with a focus on men’s health and raised millions within their first two years with that emphasis, before going on to add health offerings specifically for women.


“It starts with who starts women-focused health care companies and extends to who funds women’s health care, which is mostly not men,” said Lisa Suennen, an investor who leads the firm Manatt’s venture capital fund and its digital and technology businesses.

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