Update: October 2, 2020 — Hims is going public via merger with Oaktree. The deal values Hims at $1.6 billion.
Hims (aka forhims)
For the past six months, I have seen an inordinately huge number of online and TV ads concerning a relatively new US-based company called Hims. The startup also goes by the name “forhims”. The direct-to-consumer company sells men’s wellness and grooming products. They have an especially keen focus on the hair loss and erectile dysfunction (Sildenafil) markets. Hims is planning to add more products in other sectors, especially in skincare.
The surprising thing is that hims only commenced operations in November 2017. Yet, they already have a global Alexa website traffic ranking of under 35,000. Their Google Trends chart for the US (ht/ HLprevention) has also been on quite an impressive continuous upwards trajectory in 2018. How on earth can such a recently formed company succeed so spectacularly? Especially considering that they still having some relatively barren pages on their website as if in Beta mode?
Of course the answer as always is money and funding. Absolutely tragic that most world renowned hair loss research scientists who are working on hair loss cures can never get this type of access to funding. In fact several scientists and companies have even been desperate enough to ask me to help them raise funds in the past.
By March 2018, hims was already valued at $200 million, and had raised $40 million in funding. All this less than four months after starting business.
Update: Shortly after I wrote this post, they raised another $50 million.
Company CEO Andrew Dudum seems to have great connections in the venture capital world. His company managed to get positive reviews in well known online publications just weeks after launch. Such favorable publicity continues to this day, and hims now has Snoop Dogg on board.
Hims and Hair Loss
One of the main consumer markets hims serves is the hair loss treatment sector. Their focus is on men’s hair loss products, although most of their products can also be used by women after consultation with a doctor.
Normally, I do not write about any hair loss product related company on this blog. I do not want to promote anyone for no strong reason, especially if I have not tried their products and the products are not groundbreaking. However, hims has become so big, that at this point I can not ignore them. Moreover, I am extremely glad that they are providing these products at a very low cost relative to existing vendors.
Currently, hims will give you all of the below for just $44 a month. Prescription for Finasteride is given via an online consultation. Disclaimer: I do not get any commission or advertising income from this company.
- 30-day supply of 1-mg generic Finasteride pills.
- 2 ounce supply of Minoxidil (I assume this will last for a month).
- A DHT blocking shampoo.
- 30-day supply of biotin gummies.
Not bad at all, although at this low price, I would want a lab to check the ingredients, quality and veracity of all the above products. For example, the DHT blocking shampoo page does not really list many DHT blocking ingredients at present. Moreover, it seems like one of the listed ingredients (Ketoconazole) was not in the shampoo in 2017. At least per the footnote in the Racked magazine article that I linked to earlier in this post. Instead, the shampoo had salicylic acid in it at the time. You should also check reviews and ratings for hims hair loss products before purchasing.
Despite these reservation, I am glad that after years of us consumers being gouged by crazy high prices of Finasteride and Minoxidil (even after generics version came out), this type of company is now succeeding. It represents a mini-revolution in the hair loss treatment world.
If hims were to ever come out with topical Finasteride or topical Dutasteride, I would seriously consider buying from them every month.
Interestingly enough, shortly after the launch of hims, a new competing company named Keeps was launched in early 2018 with significant fanfare and publicity. Unlike hims, Keeps limits its offerings exclusively to the hair loss market, and is focusing on monthly Finasteride and Minoxidil subscription plans. Keeps has obtained nowhere near the funding levels as hims, but nevertheless has still managed to get decent publicity in recent months.
Update: Keeps will open a state-of-the-art hair transplant center in New York in early 2022.