When Hims launched two years ago, it was well-known among New York City subway riders for its cheeky ads selling erectile dysfunction medication.
The company, which combines telehealth and medication delivery, started with four products and has grown rapidly as it provides inexpensive, discreet over-the-counter and prescription medications for traditionally “embarrassing” conditions.
HIMS now sells more than 50 health and wellness products for more than a dozen conditions. More than 1 million medical visits have been completed through the company’s telehealth platform.
In 2018, Hims launched a sister brand, Hers, as a women’s health business offering birth control and skin and hair care products. The company is reporting more than $100 million in annualized sales.
Entrepreneur Andrew Dudum, Hims CEO and founder, believes the company has resonated with consumers because the platform makes healthcare more accessible and empowers consumer choice—customers know how much medications cost upfront and can bypass awkward and inconvenient face-to-face doctor appointments.
“Our brand is like your loving, badass older sister or mom who is pushing you to seek care for issues that are bothering you,” Dudum told FierceHealthcare.
The company’s telemedicine and e-commerce business model helps to eliminate the stigma around health and wellness issues, he said: “The company is different than the traditional healthcare system; it’s not sterile, impersonal or clinical. We encourage people to take control of how they live and how they feel.”
In July, Hims named its first chief medical officer, former Walgreens executive Pat Carroll, signaling that the company likely has ambitions in healthcare beyond e-commerce.
Dudum said he wants Hims and Hers to be the “front door” to healthcare.
“Too many people have been left out of the current system because of long wait times, exorbitant costs or because they’re too embarrassed to talk to their doctor about their condition. We want to change that experience,” he said.
Fierce insights from Hims CEO Andrew Dudum
What is your best piece of advice for launching a healthcare company that challenges the status quo?
One of the things I’ve learned is how necessary it is as an entrepreneur to ask “why” over and over again. In healthcare, I find that there’s a lot of capital and a lot of money, but there’s also a lot happening that doesn’t really benefit customers and their health. If you want to build a business that disrupts a piece of healthcare and hopefully makes it better for the customer—more affordable and better outcomes—you need to question the existing system to understand the “whys” behind it.
What is the failure you’ve learned the best lesson from?
One thing I’ve learned through failure is the necessity of testing and the importance of really understanding your customers and how to serve them well.
With entrepreneurs, we’re idea people. We’re constantly writing down notes about what could be, how to go to market, how much it will cost and how much it will help people. But those ideas need to be tested and put through the filter of customer behavior and insight. You need to understand who you are servicing, how and why. That requires a little more discernment.
What is one change you predict in healthcare that people wouldn’t expect?
There will be platforms that give customers transparency, access to specialists, and the ability to control their health and wellness, and at price points that are reasonable and accessible by everybody. This wave is happening. As health systems, physicians and products are put through the lens of customer choice, this will force people in this industry to build products, services, and brands that people love, trust and respect and that resonate with them. In this new world order, people will have choices.
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