Tech

Amwell confidentially files for IPO amid surging demand for remote health care

Key Points
  • Amwell, formerly known as American Well, announced last month that it raised $194 million to help it keep up with skyrocketing demand for remote telehealth services.
  • Now it's filing to go public later this year amid surging demand for telehealth.
  • Shares of rival Teladoc are up 88% this year.
An in-home health-care worker from Amwell coordinates a telehealth visit with a doctor on-screen.
Amwell

Less than a month after raising almost $200 million to meet skyrocketing demand for remote health care services, Amwell is gearing up to go public, according to people familiar with the matter.

Telemedicine has seen an uptick in recent months, as people in need of health services turned to phone calls and video chats so they could avoid exposure to Covid-19. The company told CNBC last month that it's seen a 1,000% increase in visits due to coronavirus, and closer to 3,000% to 4,000% in some places.

The company confidentially filed for an IPO earlier this week and has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to lead the deal, said the people who asked not to be named because the plans have not been announced. The IPO could take place in September, they said.

The company changed its name from "American Well" earlier this year, but still goes by that name on recent financial filings.

Amwell can see that public market investors are hungry for opportunities to buy into the growth. Shares of Teladoc, one of its top rivals, are up 88% this year and 34% since the broader market peaked in February.  Livongo, a provider of remote monitoring services, has more than doubled its stock price this year, while One Medical, which offers telehealth visits in addition to its physical clinics, is up 120% from its IPO price in January.

Amwell has also benefited from a loosening of laws that previously made it difficult for patients to get online access from doctors in different states. Regulators have removed many of those barriers in recent months to help patients avoid unnecessary exposure to the coronavirus.

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Amwell CEO Ido Schoenberg told CNBC in May that the markets are being "very kind to companies like us" in the current environment.

"We don't know how long it will last, and it's possible the window for any type of funding might not be available quite soon," Schoenberg said.

Amwell could face criticism for the lack of diversity on its board as it goes through the IPO process. All 10 members are men. Real-estate company WeWork drew criticism when it first filed to go public without any women on its board, and added Frances Frei shortly after its filing; it later withdrew its IPO filing amid widespread scrutiny of its financials and leadership.

Unlike many pure technology companies that have benefited from increased usage of cloud software and remote collaboration tools, Amwell needs capital in order to scale because it has to hire and train medical experts and manage a host of sensitive compliance issues.

Still, if Teladoc is any guide, Amwell could fetch a software-like multiple on the public market. Coming off a quarter of $180.8 million in revenue on 41% growth, Teladoc is valued at about 20 times sales.

Amwell's investors include U.S. insurance giant Anthem, Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda, and Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health.

An Amwell representative declined to comment. 

CNBC's Alex Sherman contributed to this report.

Correction: A prior version of this story misstated Teladoc's latest financials. After publication, Amwell updated its website to reflect that former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick rejoined the board. The company says he returned in March, after his presidential campaign ended.