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Andrew Dudum is a disrupter. In 2017 he founded Hims Hers (NYSE: HIMS), a digital health startup with the goal of upending the traditional healthcare market. Today, Hims Hers includes women’s health as well as a variety of telehealth services and products spanning primary care, mental health, sexual health, and more.
$HIMS went public earlier this year at a valuation of $1.6 billion. Dudum has grown the company exponentially over just four years, since its initial focus in late 2017 on telehealth for men. In addition to telehealth services, the company has helped eliminate health and wellness stigmas, and filled major gaps in education around personal care.
In a recent Public.com Town Hall with retail investors, Dudum discussed the challenges of starting a digital health company and how $HIMS continues to grow today.
The below is excerpted from Andrew Dudum’s Public Town Hall, which can be viewed in full here.
Have a clear roadmap and vision when you first start
Starting Hims Hers was “super tough” in the beginning, Dudum told retail investors. It was difficult to get people excited about telemedicine and issues like erectile dysfunction and hair loss. Dudum shared, “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.”
When it comes to marketing, cultivate your community
One retail investor wanted to know what key performance indicators (KPIs) the company considered around their marketing efforts.
For Dudum, the KPIs he focuses on are 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.”
Ultimately $HIMS’ marketing comes down to cultivating their community and is an extension of their already existing customer base, he added. “The content we prioritize focuses on the topics that our customers truly care about – whether that’s cultural, emotional, or educational.”
Keep testing and experimenting with new products
Growth is tough for any new company. For $HIMS, continuing to grow means constantly testing, experimenting and scaling new categories and products, Dudum said.
“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.”
Dudum is building that future by expanding $HIMS’ roster of services to continue to be a one-stop destination for health and wellness.
When times get tough, remember your customers
Founding a company is “brutal,” said Dudum. But what keeps him and his team motivated is the customers who benefit from $HIMS.
“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.”
Network, network, network
One Public.com member wanted to know about $HIMS’ first fundraising round.
Perhaps surprising: The key was networking through social media, Dudum shared.
“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.”
Dudum shared another tip around networking in an authentic way: “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.”