Zachariah Reitano was 17 when he first struggled to get an erection. At 27, Steven Gutentag started losing hair. In college, Andrew Dudum would often google embarrassing sex and skin questions at 2 a.m.
All three men are now launching startups to help those in similar predicaments. Their companies — Roman, Keeps, and Hims, respectively — make it simple to buy prescriptions for hair-loss and erectile-dysfunction drugs over the internet. Their websites work like this: You fill out an online questionnaire, and a company-affiliated doctor decides within hours whether to approve your prescription. If approved, you order the medications to be sent to your doorstep.
Hims is about personal wellness. You should look and feel your best all the time. Our job is to make that easy and affordable.
We offer the only two FDA-approved products to treat hair loss. And our dedicated team of doctors, pharmacists, and care specialists are here to support you along the way.
We’re an online doctor’s office not a pharmacy, but we work with mail order and local pharmacies so you can choose where you get your medicines.
Roman offers remote online diagnosis for erectile dysfunction and convenient monthly delivery of medication.
Get your personalized, prescription treatment plan from a board-certified dermatologist.
Hims is one of a crop of new direct-to-consumer, hipster-branded startups selling prescription drugs to men through the internet. But where others like Keeps or Roman focus on one health issue (hair loss and ED, respectively), Hims wants to build a brand that serves men with many different ailments, from erectile dysfunction to acne.
Hims, you see, addresses itself to a delicate, often undiscussable problem facing the hims of the world, even the young ones: erectile dysfunction.
Men younger than 42 who took the drugs for seven months or longer had about five times the risk of long-term trouble getting erections than men who took the drug for less time. It was a hard problem to fix. Taking Viagra or other drugs did not seem to help, they reported.
The imagery and name is meant to reflect a diverse (if young) and broad customer base. “We’re not the frat brother, we’re not the jock, we’re not the tech nerd, we’re not any ethnicity or religion, or homosexual or heterosexual,” Dudum says. “Literally every single guy struggles with these same things in the same proportion and the same likelihood. So down to the name, it’s intended that when a guy sees these products, he knows they’re for him. It’s that simple.”
The best thing about Hims, I think, is that you have access to these drugs at a no-BS price, outside of the mess of a medical system our country has. They’re roughly 50-80 percent cheaper than the retail cost of the brand-name versions, making ED pills and balding treatments much more affordable to the average guy.
The hard truth: erections aren’t everything.
Though Roman’s specifically for men with erection problems, Reitano startup has tapped into a rising trend in the startup world — medical solution targeted for men. Surprisingly, this is one area where women have actually seen more advancement, with startups like Nurx, Maven and The Pill Club providing prescriptions for birth control, and general women’s health.
Women have lots of options for birth control. There's the pill, patch, contraceptive sponge, diaphragm, Depo-Provera shot, NuvaRing vaginal ring, and intrauterine devices, or IUDs. For men, there are still just two effective methods: a condom or vasectomy.
A wave of men’s health startups are prescribing balding and erectile-dysfunction drugs over the internet. But some doctors worry that the companies are set up to push medications on patients who might not need them.