Trans healthcare startup Plume fires dozens of employees


Trans healthcare startup Plume fires dozens of employees -Gudstory

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Plum, a startup founded to provide essential online health services to transitioning people across the US, laid off more than two dozen employees in October, multiple sources close to the company told TechCrunch.

Transphobia is rampant in the healthcare industry; This is one reason why transgender patients struggle to access basic care. Legal hurdles are also increasing. In the US alone, state lawmakers have introduced nearly 150 bills this year to restrict trans healthcare.

The need to increase access to life-saving, gender-affirming therapies was clear when Plum launched four years ago, as it is still clear today, especially for people in rural areas. So it’s disappointing to see telehealth company Plum, a rarity in the startup world for its focus on serving the marginalized, quietly lay off nearly a sixth of its employees. About a year ago, the startup raised $24 million Series B.

In an email to TechCrunch, a spokesperson confirmed that Plum has laid off a portion of its staff. The spokesperson said the layoffs were part of its decision to accelerate the “buildout” of a “fee-for-service business” that will make gender confirmation care more accessible and affordable for the majority trans community.

According to Plum, the laid-off employees received severance and “a range of support services.”

Plum said he was not withdrawing his offer. Today, the startup’s website promotes a Monthly subscriptions for trans people seeking hormone therapy, as well as one-time fees for supporting letters requested by insurers and surgeons. Going forward, it seems that Plum will expand to offer other services for a one-time fee.

A TechCrunch source, who left Plum earlier this year, said he has heard about the layoffs from former colleagues. “The writing was on the wall” this summer, the source said. “They definitely pushed people out early by creating a very toxic work environment for me and other trans people,” the source said. “It was all a really frustrating experience.”

In response, a spokesperson said that the company “strives to be a thriving, supportive workplace and we celebrate diversity.” She said one of Plum’s co-founders is trans, and “about 70 percent of the team is trans or gender diverse, and that reflects the members we serve.”

Plum co-founder Jerrika Kirkley said in August that the startup had worked with 13,000 patients in 45 states since 2019.

Plum’s Series B is just about a year old. However, many companies a little further down the VC funding path – middle-aged companies, as reporter Joanna Glassner calls them – are struggling to access funds. Especially securing the Series C round is much harder this year than last year. According to the Q3 PitchBook-NVCA report, the recession is driving many late-stage startups to take “cost-cutting measures such as layoffs.”

If you have information to share about plumes, contact this reporter via email at personal device – at


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