Employee morale is low and turnover is high at direct-to-consumer virtual care company Ro, as the company struggles to expand its success beyond erectile dysfunction medication, according to reporting by TechCrunch

TechCrunch’s anonymous interviews with 10 current and former Ro workers detail employee churn across departments and a frantic pace to launch or acquire new products that then struggle or fail, like at-home COVID-19 tests, a mail order pharmacy or a dermatology service.

“Everything we launched [in 2020] was a complete failure,” a former employee told TechCrunch. “As they started to get these funding rounds, you would burn yourself out for a month, you launch it, and it would do nothing because there’s a fancy article and complete failure.”

Ro CEO Zachariah Reitano responded to the article with a piece on Medium, arguing programs outside their men’s health line, Roman, were growing, like its weight management and dermatology offerings. He also wrote that the employees interviewed are a small fraction of the people who work or have worked at Ro, and the company’s employee engagement surveys are positive.

“While it was of course frustrating to read this article at first, I ultimately know that good will come out of it. If this conversation helps us to more clearly articulate who we are as an organization, we are better for it,” Reitano wrote.

“If this helps some people to realize this isn’t the right place for them and others to realize that there is no better place for them, we are better for it. And most importantly, if this helps Ro’ers to give us even more feedback on how we can improve, we are better for it.”

Ro is a giant player in digital health and virtual care, with its most recent funding round raking in a hefty $500 million. When that Series D round was announced in March, Reitano told Bloomberg the company had reached a valuation of $5 billion. In January, there were rumors Ro was planning to go public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. 

After that Series D investment, Ro acquired reproductive health company Modern Fertility in May and announced plans to purchase at-home diagnostic company Kit less than two months later. 

At the end of July, the company rolled out a mental health platform called Ro Mind that would initially be focused on anxiety and depression treatment. It also started making house calls in March to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to older people and those with disabilities in New York.

Ro had a busy 2020 too. It launched a health information website called Health Guide, an allergy care service and a skincare line. Ro also raked in $200 million in Series C funding in July 2020 and moved into the in-home healthcare space with the acquisition of Workpath in December. 

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