How a little-known men’s health startup became a key coronavirus testing partner for 61 colleges, SpaceX, and the NBA

Vault Health's saliva test for coronavirus.

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SpaceX, 61 colleges and universities, and the NBA are all using the same startup to test workers, students, and athletes for coronavirus. 

Vault Health, a New York-based men’s health startup, pivoted to coronavirus testing in May, as the pandemic ramped up in the US. The company, which offers testosterone therapy and erectile-dysfunction pills, was founded in February of 2019.

Vault’s test, produced by Rutgers University’s genetics institute, can be taken at home or, in some cases, at in-person clinics and testing sites. Since May, Vault has sold about 1.5 million test kits to summer camps, offices, schools, states, and sports leagues.

Coronavirus testing wasn’t really the plan when CEO Jason Feldman, a former Amazon executive, set out to get men more involved in their healthcare. Most men try to wait as long as possible before seeing a doctor, one survey by the Cleveland Clinic found, and Feldman said that 70% of them don’t get healthcare consistently. 

“There’s no doctor for guys,” Feldman said in an interview. 

Physicals, meanwhile, don’t exactly spark long-term relationships, he said.

“The guy tells me to eat better, sleep better, and exercise more, takes some blood, tells me I’m not going to die, see you next year. After you do that a couple times, you’re like, you know, I’m good,” Feldman said.

Whatever the reason, dodging care can leave men vulnerable to fatal, but preventable diseases. Vault sells monthly membership services that promises better sex drive, sleep, hair, muscle mass, and memory as part of a broader strategy to get men more looped into the healthcare system, Feldman said.

Vault was already working with Rutgers on a male fertility program when the pandemic started, and saw itself as a natural partner to distribute the university’s saliva test once ready, he said.

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“When COVID broke out and I started to look at the business and said, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re going to be screwed if we don’t do something,'” Feldman said.

In March, Vault announced $30 million in funding from Tiger Global Management, Redesign Health, and Declaration Capital. Now with about 530 employees, up from 22 in February, the company has a testing and telehealth infrastructure in all 50 states with no plans to ditch the diagnostics business when the pandemic subsides, Feldman said. 

“Covid taught us how to do that. And so now we’re able to do blood testing and some other things remotely that we couldn’t do before,” he said.

Purdue’s reopening strategy

Vault said that it’s working with SpaceX and the NBA, in addition to other companies and sports leagues. It’s also working with 61 colleges and universities, according to a client list Vault provided.

The NBA confirmed it was working with Vault Health for at-home testing of players and staff. SpaceX didn’t answer Business Insider’s request for information about its testing programs.

Vault’s academic clients tend to share one thing in common, according to Feldman: They shipped Vault’s tests to students before they got to campus in the first place. The move kept hundreds of infected people home, and likely prevented some of the virus’ …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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