By Jules Maltz and Alex Lim
Today, we are thrilled to congratulate Andrew Dudum, Jack Abraham, Hilary Coles, Joe Spector, and the entire team at Hims & Hers on a successful public listing. Hims & Hers is a multi-speciality telehealth platform that connects consumers to licensed healthcare professionals and has built up a healthy online business with 100%+ compounded annual revenue growth over the last two years and a valuation over $3 billion. They are using technology to eliminate decades-old stigmas and improve the daily lives of women and men seeking access to quality healthcare – and in the process have developed a vision to rethink patient engagement and modern medicine.
IVP first invested in Hims & Hers in January 2018, less than three months after its public launch, and then led a $50 million Series B in June of 2018. At the time, the company was among the first businesses applying the direct-to-consumer playbook to healthcare with incredible early growth and ambitious intentions of building a full-service service for a variety of chronic conditions.
When we first met Andrew, Jack, and Hilary at the Atomic offices three years ago, we were so impressed that we literally didn’t want to leave the meeting. We paced around their building in the Presidio trying to figure out how we could invest in this amazing company and team, and called Andrew back later that day to express our interest. We’re so thankful that we were able to partner with our friends and earlier-backers at Redpoint and Forerunner to join them on the journey to help and support such an innovative business.
While Hims & Hers has pioneered a new model within the larger healthcare market, we also love that it has challenged assumptions on how startups should grow. Here are three things that Hims & Hers did differently that have helped them get to where they are today.
Hire Early for Massive Scale
IVP is used to helping companies go public, but it’s not often that it happens just over three years from launch (the average tech company takes twelve years!). As Andrew shared in a recent Business Insider article, Hims & Hers was intentional about building a public-ready company from the beginning. Andrew hired amazing, senior executives early on including Melissa Baird, Soleil Boughton, Spencer Lee, Patrick Carroll, and many others, who had experience scaling companies to hundreds of millions in revenues. Andrew, Jack, Hilary, and Joe also were committed to building a true healthcare platform for men and women, and launched new products faster than we’ve ever seen. This focus on hiring for scale and product expansion resulted in a financial profile that had not only high growth, but also strong margins and unit economics that set the company up for long-term success.
The Studio Advantage
Hims & Hers got their start within the walls of Atomic, a venture studio headquartered in the same San Francisco Presidio complex as Lucasfilm and Industry Light and Magic. Atomic founds and funds companies at the earliest stages who are on a mission to solve some of the world’s biggest problems and provides them with shared back-office infrastructure to help them focus on the core drivers of growth. The studio model provided Hims & Hers with the advantage of being able to rapidly test and iterate its service, setting the company up for a phenomenal public launch. The company also learned important lessons about marketing, product, and sales from other Atomic startups that helped make the business even more successful.
A SPAC-tacular Debut
Hims & Hers went public through a reverse merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which was IVP’s 116th portfolio company to list publicly. While historically, all of our portfolio companies executed traditional IPOs, in June 2019, we had our first portfolio company, Slack, complete a direct listing. Today, Hims & Hers is our first investment to go public through a SPAC. While we wouldn’t recommend SPACs for everyone, as the process is more complicated than traditional IPOs, the Hims & Hers SPAC had three advantages over a traditional process: (1) it set a floor on valuation during a volatile macro environment; (2) it provided access to a wider range of institutional investors over a longer time period; and (3) it allowed the team to tell their story in a more proactive manner than traditional IPOs, which was important in a new disruptive space like telemedicine. It’s good to have options when you’re going public and SPACs are here to stay. We’re so thankful for the tireless work by the Hims & Hers team to execute this difficult process and pioneer a new model for premium companies.
The Journey Continues
Hims & Hers is a company that thinks and acts differently. It’s challenging stigmas around physical and mental health conditions, opening up access to safe, quality healthcare, and reimagining primary medicine in a rapidly-changing world. Today’s public listing is only a milestone on a long journey far into the future, and Hims & Hers impact on healthcare is just beginning. Lastly, we’re so proud of Andrew and his team for building such a special business while also staying humble and committed to the mission. Onward!
Jules Maltz and Alex Lim are Partners at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA.