Hims & Hers CEO and Co-founder Andrew Dudum
By Jarrett Banks
Hims & Hers Health, Inc. (“Hims & Hers”) just completed its business combination with Oaktree Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: OAC), a SPAC sponsored by an affiliate of Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
IPO Edge sat down with CEO and Co-founder Andrew Dudum to ask about going public through a SPAC and how telehealth is vital during the pandemic and beyond.
IPO Edge: How might Telehealth change the paradigm of care at home?
Telehealth has been around for a number of years, but until recently, telehealth capabilities weren’t up to par with the digital age we live in. In the last few years, the evolution of technology has been the key player in unlocking a new paradigm of healthcare that allows for safe, high-quality virtual medical care for many conditions that people can access from home, or wherever is most convenient for them.
Many people accessed telehealth for the first time this year due to Covid-19; as a matter of fact, 76% of people are now interested in using telehealth vs. 11% in 2019. More people than ever before have recently engaged in telehealth services, and have come to realize the many benefits it provides, from affordability, to convenience, transparency, and beyond.
While the pandemic accelerated awareness of the benefits of telehealth for both patients and providers, I’ve always believed that the type of digital front door to care that Hims & Hers provides for modern consumers is the future of healthcare. This shift to accessing care in a way that puts the patient back in the driver’s seat of their own health was always inevitable — the pandemic has only sped up adoption. There is still so much potential within the telehealth space that will truly disrupt healthcare — accessing care from home may continue to evolve, but it’s definitely here to stay.
IPO Edge: What are some of the exciting advances that you see in the market going forward?
Covid-19 has acted as a crystal ball into what the future will be like for healthcare. People love the convenience of high-quality healthcare without needing to take off work to travel to an appointment, sit in a waiting room, and wait in a long line at a pharmacy. It’s clear consumers want a broad healthcare system that is digital-first—like nearly every industry—where they can pick up their phone and tap the screen for on-demand care.
I think the entire country is very aware that with the recent, wide adoption of telehealth, we are in the very beginning of a long journey that is truly revolutionizing healthcare. There is still so much opportunity to evolve and so much potential for telehealth. At Hims & Hers, we’ve rebuilt the healthcare experience from the ground up—owning the entire experience including the digital EMR, the relationship with the provider network, the telemedicine platform itself, the cloud pharmacy—and, most importantly, the trusted brand relationship with the patient.
Everything we do at Hims & Hers is through the lens of building the front door to the healthcare system for the modern patient. In our next chapter, we’ll keep focusing on the categories of treatment for which we offer access, focusing on chronic conditions where it’s been traditionally difficult for people to get high-quality, affordable care — that includes sleep, fertility, diabetes, cholesterol and more.
IPO Edge: This past year, we have seen a large number of Telehealth companies go public, either via IPO or SPAC. Can you comment on why that is happening? Is the SPAC structure a superior option for this category of tech company?
I wouldn’t say the SPAC structure is a superior option for every telehealth company. Each company, no matter the industry, has to weigh the pros and cons for their own business when it comes to different modalities of going public. After many conversations and goodhearted debate, we decided this was the best way for Hims & Hers. Working with a strong institutional investor as a vehicle to enter the public market is enabling us to share the story of Hims & Hers—and the big problems we’ve been working to solve—in a very efficient and streamlined way. Going public will allow us to accelerate our ability to invest in growth and condition expansion, while helping millions more people access affordable, high-quality healthcare.
IPO Edge: How has Telehealth changed over the past year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?
It goes without saying that telehealth has become a household term due to the pandemic. Over the last 10 months staying home has never been more important, yet millions of Americans have still needed to access care in a safe way (when not required to go in-person). The pandemic drastically shifted the healthcare needs of the country andbecause of that many telehealth companies, like Hims & Hers, reprioritized to help people in dire need.
When the pandemic began, we decided to shift our product roadmap to launch the types of services people needed most, including access to:
- Primary care services, at-cost, in both English and Spanish. We’re able to provide patients access to treatment for dozens of conditions from the common cold and flu, to pink eye and fungal infections (it costs $39 to consult with a medical provider through our platforms).
- 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.
- Mental health services, including anonymous group support sessions that we are offering free of cost for the duration of the pandemic, and access to online psychiatry evaluations and medication.
IPO Edge: What sectors in particular are growing the fastest in telehealth?
Mental health, dermatology and sexual health are core segments for Hims & Hers with massive addressable markets and low penetration. Primary care, about a $280 billion market size, is another sector in which we are actively investing. Hundreds of primary care conditions can be treated safely online, so I believe this will bring a huge shift in favor of digital health. Other fast-growing chronic conditions we believe could benefit from true consumer-centric telehealth include sleep, fertility, diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol.
IPO Edge: What does the future look like in terms of innovation?
The sky’s literally the limit when it comes to the perfect marriage of a massive market, disruptive technology, and trusted sources from a world-class team of healthcare providers. At Hims & Hers, our focus is on demographics of customers whose current health system loyalty is limited. We’re building a consumer-centric brand and high-quality healthcare experience that people can truly love, relate to, and talk about. We are stripping away the cold and sterile feeling of traditional healthcare by engaging with people in friendly and fun ways that encourage and empower them to take care of themselves.
The comfort level for telehealth has exploded for both patients and healthcare providers alike. The number of problems telehealth can solve for consumers and providers is vast, and ultimately, a brighter future for America’s antiquated healthcare system.
IPO Edge Contact:
Jarrett Banks, Editor-at-Large