I'm Andrew Dudum, Co-founder and CEO of Hims & Hers Health, Inc. ($HIMS). Curious about the company's vision, our products or services, or my experience as a founder? I'll be here June 16 from 1 PM to 2 PM ET to answer your questions.
24 questions answered
As a founder how hard was it when you started? Having the idea and then getting the money and who/how are we’re products developed?
Hi Sharelle - it was super tough to get started. In those early days you don’t have anything other than your idea for what the future will look like - and even though we could see that future so clearly, it was really tough to get people excited about issues like erectile dysfunction and hair loss...So as you can imagine, some of those initial meetings with investors were a bit awkward when we first kicked off! What we did was to try our best to paint the picture of what Hims & Hers could be visually, which really helped a ton when getting investors, early team members and even partners excited to help manufacture and design our first products. It seems pretty normal now, but a few years ago - and before COVID especially - a lot of people didn’t really understand telemedicine, so at the outset, there were many questions early on about whether or not people would ever even WANT to talk to a doctor online. But we knew that we wanted to focus on the young demographic who we felt and continue to feel are left out of the archaic healthcare systems - and we knew that there was a future of healthcare that was right for them - and that we were the right people to build it. We could see ahead a clear roadmap that opened us up to conditions they care about like Sexual Health, Hair Loss, Acne, Depression, and so on - all of which I’m proud to say we’ve brought to market!
Very cool! I see your products advertised all over NYC. Are you planning on releasing a lineup of general healthcare products (ie shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, body wash, etc) thanks!
Hey William - I’m pumped to hear you’re seeing us out in the wild in NYC! Always good feedback to hear. I’m really happy you asked this question because we do have a lineup of health and wellness products available on both Hims & Hers! Our high quality products fit well into any routine - from our shampoos and conditioners for healthy hair, supplements like Biotin, sleep and immunity gummies, top notch skin serums & moisturizers - plus so much more! We are constantly listening to customers about what they want and need, and doing our best to provide high quality products that will work for each individual. You can always send us ideas via any of our social channels too!
How do you foresee, if at all, Hims and Hers utilizing other distribution channels than its own website over time? Do you plan on expanding a physical retail footprint, partnering with on-demand channels like Instacart/goPuff/Uber, or something different? Thanks!
Jason - thanks for the question! This is a fun one, because we’ve recently expanded our digital footprint when it comes to retail - you can now find some of our most popular products on DoorDash (in select locations), as well as on Urban Outfitters’ website, and we’ve been selling products on Target.com and in Target stores for over a year. We are really excited about the opportunity to meet our customers wherever they are - and continuing to develop these retail relationships to help more people access effective, affordable health and wellness items is key to that. Regarding our own retail locations, it’s something we’ve thought about for sure. I feel like Hims & Hers would really come to life beautifully in person!
Why did you call it Hims & Hers and where do you see Telehealth going in the future?
Grier - our intention with the name was actually really simple. We started as Hims because of our desire to destigmatize the experience of men’s health and wellness conditions. When we started building out the same type of platform geared toward women, Hers felt like a great fit - we liked how Hims & Hers played together. In terms of the future of telehealth - it’s more well-known and regarded than ever before. It’s here to stay and the market is ripe with opportunity. I truly feel we’re in the first few years of what will become a decade of improvement in digital health. I couldn’t imagine being better positioned as a company when it comes to riding a growing and accelerating wave! Thanks for your questions.
You guys have GREAT marketing. What are some KPI’s your team looks for when hiring content creators and creating ads?
Thank you so much. I’m so proud of our incredibly talented marketing team - we have what I consider to be some of the best content creators, designers and strategists out there. But what it all comes down to is the community we’re trying to create when pushing our content out. The presence we are cultivating is simply an extension of our direct relationship with our consumers. The content we prioritize focuses on the topics that our customers truly care about - whether that’s cultural, emotional, or educational. Our uniquely passionate and loyal base is constantly sharing their journeys and that’s truly our inspiration - and why we’ve been so successful building our organic community and ultimately, a winning marketing strategy. From a KPI standpoint, I like to quantify something subjective, which is hard, but unique. The one area I focus on is emotionally resonant. Does the creative make you FEEL something? Does it spark conversation? Does it catch your eye? If it doesn’t do those three things, we’ve failed from my perspective.
Where do you see your company in the future
Hi Troy - the long-term vision of the company has always been to serve as the front door to the healthcare system. When we launched in 2017, we started with highly stigmatized conditions for which there was an unmet need. Today, we offer access to treatment for dozens of conditions across areas like primary care, mental health, dermatology, sexual wellness and more - we’re really just getting started. We expect to continue to expand the categories of care for which we offer access to treatment through Hims & Hers, with the goal of becoming the first stop for people’s health and wellness needs across hundreds of conditions.
What's your competitive edge over services like Keepa and Roman?
Hi Jeff - when it comes to competition, our focus is the current experience the majority of people have when they interact with the healthcare ecosystem today. They have to wait 24 days to get an appointment, take time off work and spend money to find childcare. And then when they see a doctor, the vast majority are stuck with high deductible insurance plans, which leave them paying out-of-pocket despite the fact they have insurance coverage. Just typing that out is exhausting! That’s why we are laser-focused on our experience: what we are able to provide through innovation and a modern care delivery system is much more convenient and affordable while putting more control back into the hands of consumers. Hims & Hers is only three years old, and we’re confident that once people realize what a healthcare experience can look like when it truly centers on them, they’ll be excited to join us. When it comes to specific players in the market, I’ve found our differentiated brand speaks really authentically to the future generation of healthcare consumers, and our broad spectrum of services and products from Mental Health to personalized Dermatology really attracts customers in a truly unique manner.
What's your biggest challenge for growth moving forward?
Hi Jeff - another good question. It’s all about continuing to do what we do best, which is test, experiment, launch and scale new categories and new products. Since our founding we’ve gone from serving just a few conditions to now dozens, with nearly a hundred products we’ve made available in consultation with highly-qualified doctors. I fundamentally believe 80% of baseline healthcare services can be supported by a platform like ours in the future, so we are building to expand for that world. What that means is every few months, and every year, we will continue to expand our roster, serving more customers with more conditions so that we truly can continue to be their one-stop, trusted destination for personalized health and wellness.
What was the journey like for you, raising your *first* round of capital? Any tips on getting connections with the right seed investors?
Hey Hugo - it’s a grind. Thankfully in the early days I had a great network of advisors who could point me in the right direction. Generally what I’ve found from raising capital, whether it’s your seed cash or your Series D, or F, it’s all about painting the story for what you believe the future will look like, and exciting investors with your confidence in being able to bring that future to reality. From a connections and networking standpoint, I’ve found that investors are actually really receptive to taking meetings if you can figure out how to contact them. For example, many of them have Twitter accounts, LinkedIns, Quoras, etc. They engage really heavily in those channels. Instead of a cold email, I’ve found a lot of luck engaging directly and in a lot of ways more organically via those social mechanisms. Those conversations can quickly turn into a DM, that then quickly turns into a Zoom. The other thing I’ve found is people love giving advice. Being asked for money? Not so much… So I've found that often when you ask for advice, you’ll end up with people who want to give you cash... But if you ask for cash, you’ll end up with people giving you advice. 😄
Can you explain how a potential patient obtains services through Hims & Hers? Do they need to have medical insurance or would they pay for the services out of pocket, are they billed & then make monthly payments, etc.? Can anyone obtain services or does their primary physician have to be in the H&H network or do you have your own group of Doctors? Thank you!
Gina - this is a great question! Consumers can access telehealth services through Hims & Hers simply by visiting forhims.com or forhers.com, selecting the condition they are seeking treatment for, and clicking “Consult with a provider” or “Start my free visit.” Anyone can leverage our telehealth services completely on their own (unless they are under the age of 18), and can easily connect with a high quality licensed provider seamlessly through a healthcare provider network we partner with. Patients seeking care through Hims & Hers platform are not required to have insurance and have options for how they want to be billed; our most common payment format is via monthly subscriptions.
How do you believe you will change the stigma of health and wellness nationwide in the next 6 months?
Hi Drew - combating stigma associated with health and wellness is inherently important to our brand. We want everyone to feel like they have a safe place to seek care and that they can also feel welcome and supported no matter the condition they may be dealing with. Reducing stigma related to health is something we tackle day-in and day-out at Hims & Hers, from leveraging our medical advisors to speak publicly about things like sex life and hair loss, to making sure we’re sharing content on our social channels and via email that encourage open and honest conversation, with a bit of humor to break the ice. We believe every day we’re working we are chipping away at stigma and we’re going to continue prioritizing that so everyone feels confident and empowered to not only be themselves, but also seek the care they need.
Are there plans for a future membership model that eliminates the need for insurance to be involved?
Hey Andrew - thanks for reaching out! At this time, consumers who are seeking healthcare through Hims & Hers do not need insurance, but our platform is still fairly focused on condition-specific services. We want to make it as easy as possible for anyone, anywhere to access affordable, personalized healthcare and this is how we’ve been able to provide that from the start. However, we are exploring insurance options for Americans who would like to leverage their insurance provider through our platform, and also broader membership-related models that could even eliminate insurance altogether, as you’ve mentioned. The existing U.S. healthcare system is broken, and the high rates of deductibles and poor experience with insurance has a lot to do with that. You can bet we are exploring ways to entirely rebuild that experience from scratch on behalf of the newer generations of consumers.
Have you considered how the name of your company excludes non binary identifying folks?
Heather - grateful you brought this up. In short, absolutely. Inclusivity is something we weave into conversations on a daily basis at Hims & Hers. Our mission is to make it easier and more affordable for everyone to get the healthcare they need, and we are able to provide access to care for all people, including cisgender and non-gender confirming individuals. There’s work to be done from a branding perspective, and our team is dedicated to making our platform feel like a welcoming, safe place for all. I think all great brands are evolving, and are living, breathing, entities. We too, think of Hims & Hers like that, and you should expect us to continue to find ways to expand the brand so that no individual would ever feel excluded by our experiences!
What is the most significant benefit of being online than being in person for telehealth?
Hi Paresh - to be honest, there are so many! I always like to give the example - which is representative of many Americans - of a single parent who primarily uses public transportation and works two part-time jobs to provide for their family. In order to visit a medical professional in person, the single parent may have some of these obstacles to overcome: 1) long waiting times to get an appointment, 2) taking unpaid time off work, 3) paying for the ride or parking when they get to the health practice, 4) finding a sitter and paying the sitter, 5) wasting even more time in a waiting room, 6) having to then also find a ride to the pharmacy and waiting in a long line there to pick-up their treatment. Thanks to telehealth, said single parent would face none of these obstacles. With Hims & Hers, consumers can skip the lines and connect to a medical professional at a time that works for their schedule; they don’t need to worry about transport as they can have the appointment in the comfort of their own home; and forget about the dreaded trip to the pharmacy - any treatment prescribed to them (if deemed appropriate by a medical professional) is delivered to their front door at no additional cost. Finding quality, personalized healthcare is important to everyone and making it convenient helps more people access the care they need.
How does Hims & Hers view competitors like Amazon getting into the DTC health space?
Hi Kevin - excellent question. Hims & Hers is a multi-specialty platform where people can access information, products and licensed medical providers as part of a personalized health and wellness experience. Quick shipping to your door is an awesome feature, and we include that as part of our service, but the reality is that the benefit of quick shipping our customers enjoy is only one part of the holistic healthcare system we're working to build at Hims & Hers. From mental health to primary care to dermatology and more, we're committed to creating a better healthcare experience for everyone, with personalized services and products that make you feel great. For us, it’s not about utility, but experience, an experience people LOVE, and I think that’s why we’ve had so much success and growth to-date!
What’s next for the brand or what do you see in the future of the wellness market in the next few years?
Hi Tori - thanks for the question! Since day one, we’ve been focused on building a customer-centric healthcare company that looks like nothing else in the industry. Our long-term goal is to be the front door to the healthcare system - a customer’s first stop for personalized healthcare needs across hundreds of conditions. This could mean expansion into new chronic conditions, or wellness products that help people look and feel their best. The whole spectrum is fair game from my standpoint because health and wellness really encapsulates so much in our everyday world. We’ve continued working toward this goal, and we’ll keep our focus on areas of care where access and cost create unnecessary hurdles, including categories like cholesterol, lab testing and sleep. In addition, we’ll continue to launch these categories with products and in manners that people actually love, something I’m not sure is all that common in traditional healthcare. For me, health and wellness services and products should make you feel amazing, not sick, and for that reason we spend a tremendous amount of time not only launching services, but also designing and creating products that make people feel wonderful.
Singles are finally free after a long, lonely lockdown year, and it’s easy to see why sexual health may be more important than ever. Is the demand materializing, and, if so, how has Hims & Hers prepared for this?
It’s so true! We keep a close eye on market trends and have been resoundingly hearing that thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine, people are VERY ready to start mingling again. Luckily for us, we’ve focused on sexual health since the inception of our brand, starting with erectile dysfunction consultations/treatment for men. Over the past few years, we’ve expanded our sexual health and wellness categories to include both prescription and nonprescription products. This past year alone we’ve launched really exciting new nonprescription products like condoms and lubricant, and vibrators (that sold out within days of launching!). In terms of prescription products, we’ve always wanted to create a safe space for people to receive care for their sexual health - no matter how stigmatized the condition. We offer access to prescription products such as birth control pills, as well as genital herpes, cold sore, ED, and premature ejaculation treatment, to name a few. A customer just needs to connect with a health professional via Hims & Hers platform for a consultation to see if prescription treatment is appropriate for them. Sexual health is a space we have consistently focused on since the beginning, and it’s an area we are looking to continue growing in and evolving with… needless to say we are ready for the post-lockdown sex scene! Thanks for your question.
What has been the most exciting thing about building a company?
Minh - there have been so many! The best and most rewarding consistently however is watching customers actually benefit from what you’ve built. The reality is that building companies is brutal. No matter how fast or easy it looks, it often feels just like getting kicked in the stomach repeatedly. For that reason, I find that actually hearing and talking to people benefiting from your business is the best medicine. It keeps you energized, reminded of what you’re doing and why it’s important, and overall is the most powerful motivator for me as an individual, and also for our team.
Looking back on how things worked out for your company is there anything you would have done differently?
Now this is a question that makes me think! Hims & Hers launched in November 2017 so we’ve been operating for about 3.5 years now. In going public just three years after launching the company, you can imagine how fast-paced we’ve been moving - it’s been a bit of a whirl! That said, I sit here today thinking about where our company is at and it really blows my mind - last week we launched a partnership with the amazing Miley Cyrus, this week we announced our first acquisition of a great London-based company called Honest Health. Things are busier than ever, the team is hustling, and we’re crushing expectations. I think every step we’ve taken has gotten us to where we are now and I feel really good about how Hims & Hers is doing - and more important, WHAT we are doing - in providing high quality, personalized health experiences for consumers. Given that, I wouldn’t take back anything we’ve done. Lessons have been learned along the way, but it’s all been worth it from my POV. Thanks for asking, Justin.
I’m curious what the impetus behind founding Hims & Hers was? Was it based on a personal experience you had, or a need you noticed in healthcare?
Hi Victoria - the idea of Hims & Hers definitely came from a mix of both personal experiences and the greater need for a more manageable healthcare experience that truly puts people first. We wanted to find a way to create a system that would prioritize the patient and be personalized, easily accessible and convenient for them - not the other way around, when a patient is at a health system’s beck and call. More than that though, I wanted a brand that would empower people to take care of themselves and feel good doing it. My goal was to create a healthcare experience unlike anything out there - forget the sterile, cold hospital rooms and feeling nervous about talking about your condition. With Hims & Hers, we looked to break down stigmas, encourage conversations, and provide a truly personalized, on-demand healthcare experience.
What behaviors has the pandemic changed around how people seek care that you anticipate will outlive COVID and how is your company prepared to manage the behaviors that won’t outlive COVID?
Telehealth usage obviously skyrocketed during the pandemic, especially during lockdowns when people were required to stay home as much as possible to prevent further spread of the disease. What I believe happened during this time, is people who turned to a quality telehealth provider realized how easy, efficient, and high quality the experience was. The total convenience of telehealth is undeniable, and I think we’ll see more and more people continue to turn to telehealth first for things not related to emergency care. We were already tapped into this approach before the pandemic, and I think Hims & Hers is set up really well for whatever comes when the pandemic is behind us. We’re an experienced and agile team that are constantly listening to customers, testing products, offering new products and services and updating existing ones. So long as we continue engaging in these processes and prioritizing the customer, we’ll thrive.
How has the self-care market evolved since the company launched, and how quickly did you realize the need to expand from only men’s products & services to include women’s products & services?
Hi Alexia - self-care has definitely grown as a trend over the last few years, but it really exploded during the pandemic. Many of us found ourselves at home with more time on our hands and the ability to take time to take care of ourselves became more prominent. And when I look back to when we first launched Hims in late 2017, the market for men’s wellness was hypermasculine—think loud, black and red packaging, and stereotypical male positioning. Recently there’s been an exciting shift from more brands that recognize men’s wellness can’t be confined into a 5-in-1 product. We always knew we wanted to offer a similar platform to women, and were able to expand our brand by launching Hers one year after launching Hims. It’s been amazing to see how the self-care industry has advanced over the last 2-3 years… but what we’ve always prioritized doing at Hims & Hers is recognizing the MANY different types of consumers and catering to them as individuals. I think that’s where a lot of brands are heading today as well, which is incredibly refreshing to see. Appreciate your questions!
How has the pandemic impacted the development of $HIMS? Wondering if there have been any interesting trends you’ve noticed.
It’s been quite a year plus, Emma! One thing no one can deny is that the pandemic drastically shifted the healthcare needs of the country. During the early days of the pandemic, we made a decision to advance our product roadmap and launch the types of services people needed the most at that time. In a few short months, we were able to start offering access to primary care services, at-cost, in both English and Spanish on the platform; we also provided access to one of the first at-home COVID-19 saliva tests authorized by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization to help increase the availability of at-home testing; and lastly, we introduced our mental health category by offering anonymous support group sessions (at no cost) and access to telepsychiatry. This was a huge endeavor that dramatically changed our company - we’re able to help more people than ever before and we’ve grown in so many ways. One trend that has remained high on our priority list through the pandemic is the growing need for affordable mental health services. It’s going to continue to be a massive need post-pandemic, and that’s why we feel extremely passionate about continuing to innovate and invest in the mental health category.
Healthcare can seem really messy to many - what is your hope for how $HIMS can reimagine healthcare in the future?
Healthcare IS messy. It’s the only multi-trillion dollar industry that hasn’t been disrupted. In fact, your parents and grandparents likely had a very close experience to what brick-and-mortar health systems still offer today. Not much has changed in terms of the process. Then, think about finance and how online banking, and apps like Venmo have come around to completely shake up the industry and evolve to better fit today’s consumer. And then there’s the transportation industry - taxis are a thing of the past, with ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Everything around us has become on-demand to better fit consumers' lifestyles, many of whom grew up with a cell phone in their hand and expect easy access to everything. This is exactly why we started Hims & Hers - so consumers can have an enjoyable, personalized healthcare experience made FOR them, that has totally flipped the script on what’s been expected of healthcare for decades. With Hims & Hers, consumers can likewise use their phone to access a medical professional for treatment in a streamlined, efficient, and consumer-focused way. We’re dedicated to evolving with consumers and trends so people can have a choice when it comes to how, when and where they seek care. Thanks, Mark!