This couple is building an app to find LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers - Philly


Mar. 9, 2017 10:15 am

This couple is building an app to find LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers

Nic Anthony and Catherine Hofmann realized that finding a healthcare provider is one of the top concerns of queer and trans folks.

QSpaces founders Nic Anthony (left) and Catherine Hofmann.

(Photo via Twitter)

When Nic Anthony moved to Philadelphia for medical school, she needed to switch her insurance plan and find a new primary care provider. She and her partner, Catherine Hofmann, asked for recommendations on several local queer Facebook groups, but realized they weren’t the only ones.

By far the biggest requests in these groups involve finding a therapist or doctor who’s LGBTQ-friendly. Anthony and Hofmann even conducted a survey with over 200 participants affirming people were most interested in LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers compared to housing, restaurants and other common spaces. Sometimes, the trans and queer communities face discrimination when seeking medical services, creating a barrier to accessing care.

This problem served as inspiration for a project called QSPACES, which Anthony started with Hofmann a year and a half ago. Hoffman is an independent designer with backgrounds in the startup world and design activism. However, both professionals’ fields — design and medicine — collide with activism.

“[QSPACES] is an app to search, rate and review health care providers based on LGBTQ competency,” explains Anthony. In other words, therapists or doctors who won’t discriminate against queer and trans folks. Users submit ratings and reviews anonymously.

Every year, Jefferson and Philadelphia University hosts the JAZ Tank Challenge, an annual health care startup competition. For a $10,000 grand prize, professionals are asked to pitch their projects live to a panel of judges.


In 2016, Anthony and Hofmann were one of ten teams, chosen from more than 60 applicants, that were invited to pitch their idea at the event. Although the duo didn’t place, Jefferson Innovation later contacted them to personally invest $10,000 into the app.

Using the funds, the founders joined forces with Webjunto, a web development company based in Northern Liberties, to build and design the app. Anthony and Hoffman’s $10,000 prize money wasn’t enough to cover the cost of building an app but Webjunto offered QSPACES “a community partnership package” that covered the basics in exchange for recognition on the app’s website. Because the app is primarily crowdsourced, there is an urgency to launch sooner than later.

“[Webjunto] worked with us to get the bare minimum of what the app will be to start accruing the reviews,” Anthony added. “Their business exemplifies a lot of the same values as we do like prioritizing diversity and working with the community, which is hard to find in the tech world.”

The app’s launch date is this spring. The beta version, which filters listings by rating, location, and speciality, will focus on medical providers based in Philadelphia.

QSPACES plans to expand to other cities nationally. They will also soon launch a crowdfunding campaign as a fundraiser.

“We want to use this information to contact the doctors that have the lowest reviews and set up a possible training with them,” Anthony said. “If they’re not open to remedying that, we can show that data to someone that can do something about it.”

In the distant future, the founders are interested in organizing friend speed dating and other events not oriented around alcohol for the surrounding LGBTQ community. They are also eager to curate city-specific travel guides.

“We hope to create a go-to platform for the LGBTQ community to figure out safe health care providers,” Hofmann said. “In order to do that, we need to build a big community and gather a lot of reviews through it, so others can learn from the knowledge already there.”

Companies: Webjunto
Already a member? Sign in here


You can now take a Jefferson course in blockchain for health care

JP Morgan Chase scoops up InstaMed, but the healthcare-tech company isn’t leaving Philly

What Philly tech should learn from a hate speech incident at a local meetup



How Macquarie blends tech-fueled financial services with global opportunity

Philadelphia, Pa


Event Sales Ambassador

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA


Director of Product Design

Apply Now


UX Designer

Apply Now

The Meet Group adds a same-sex dating app to its portfolio

NeuroFlow wins pitch competition at HIMSS healthcare conference

Two Philly companies are joining an accelerator inside the ‘largest medical complex in the world’



This apprenticeship program is opening the door for candidates with nontraditional backgrounds

Horsham, PA

Penn Mutual

Software Engineer-Java

Apply Now

Guru Technologies

Senior Front End Engineer

Apply Now
Center City


Product Manager – Sales Tools

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Philadelphia

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!