Rob Schutz, co-founder of telehealth startup Ro, will retire from his position as Chief Growth Officer after Labor Day, according to a memo sent to staff and obtained by londonbusinessblog.com.
Schutz told employees in a memo on Tuesday that he will transition to an advisory role and continue to serve on the board, according to the note shared by a source familiar with the matter. He added that he will be taking time off shortly to reset. “I may be working with some of our investors to advise some of their portfolio companies at an earlier stage, but I won’t be starting anything new right away,” Schutz said in the note.
“This was not a decision I took lightly. I’ve been discussing it with Z and Saman over the past few months as I pondered how my areas of expertise can best move the company forward,” added Schutz, referring to his co-founders, Zachariah Reitano and Saman Rahmanian. Reitano and Rahmanian will continue their roles as CEO and CPO, respectively.
“Again, as I’ve learned over the past 6 years, I’m learning from Rob. His decision to step back, pass the baton and put the best for Ro above all else is a typical example of Rob’s selflessness,” Reitano said in a note to employees following Schutz’s announcement. The company declined to comment beyond sharing Reitano’s comments.
Since its launch in 2017, Ro has become one of the most valuable digital health companies. Supported by patients seeking virtual care, telehealth companies have experienced strong growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ro announced in February that it has raised an additional $150 million in a funding round that boosted its valuation to $7 billion, Bloomberg reported. That round was led by ShawSpring Partners, which included the companies General Catalyst, Signal Fire and FirstMark Capital, all existing investors. The startup has raised $1 billion in total funding since its inception, according to Crunchbase Data.
However, the current market downturn has caused companies to scale back their workforces as venture capitalists and private equity firms warn their founders to prepare for the dark days ahead. In June, Ro laid off 18% of the workforce (at least 135 positions, according to Business Insider) in an effort to “manage spending, increase the efficiency of our organization and better align our resources with our current strategy,” Reitano wrote in a note to employees at the time.
First launched as Roman, Ro had built his business on selling erectile dysfunction treatments and hair loss medicines online. However, the company has undergone a rebrand, moving beyond its original focus on sexual health and wellness services to enter new areas such as mental health and fertility.
Schutz, who helped build out the company’s marketing and communications functions, said in the memo that the company has grown fast enough that he feels comfortable “passing the baton.” He added in his note that his skills are most useful for smaller-stage companies.