We hosted an AMA session with Hims & Hers CEO Andrew Dudum, where he candidly shared lessons learned from the early days, and their journey from idea to public company, in just three years. Here are the key takeaways:
Biggest contributor to your early success?
Lots of luck contributed to his lightning speed success. Andrew also attributes success to key hires with deep domain expertise. He’s surrounded himself with super smart people from the early days.
Why a SPAC?
A SPAC was right for him because he 1) first and foremost, was ready to go public with strong fundamentals and the business trajectory was healthy 2) they wanted to raise money so that crossed off direct listings and 3) a traditional IPO would take more time and he didn’t want to distract his team with this. He also appreciated the long term incentive alignment that comes with the SPACs. He has partners like Oak Tree invested in the long term success of the company. Going public for Andrew gave his brand the credibility he desired to continue to make big strides in the market (hire the best talent, secure the best board members, the best partnerships etc). These advances would not be as easy if he were private, he believes.
Three big learnings/mistakes he made in the early days: 1) hired the wrong people at the wrong time. It’s important to be aware of what your company needs and to hire proportional to those needs. Not too senior in the early days when scrappiness is needed, for example. 2) don’t outsource your brand. If you want to build a brand that’s unique and special it needs to come from you. Not a fancy and expensive agency. 3) focus on uncovering demand above all else.
The value of over communication
Pains of growing so quickly are curbed with honest communication. Andrew will often over-communicate with his team and investors to set expectations.
“Every day is day one”
Every day is day 1 – even as a public company. Andrew meets with all product managers regularly. He is constantly testing and iterating on new ideas, and once one sticks, he hires a team to build and execute it. Andrew fundamentally believes in moving fast to uncover key nuggets of intel. He does not believe that if you build a good product, that alone will drive people to come. Execute and learn quickly, then build and perfect later.
Ruthlessly optimize your time around uncovering demand
In the early days, you need to show investors that you’ve uncovered a key insight and have demand for your product. Pre-series A things were chaotic at Hims, the product wasn’t perfect, shipping and operations were unreliable, etc. But he had confidence there was significant demand for what he was building, and that nugget of intel was incredibly valuable. This is what he raised on and this is what he believes all pre-series A companies need to prioritize uncovering and demonstrating before fundraising.
As they continue to grow their team, Andrew is intentional about hiring team members who add value and support the long-term goals/vision. Revenue per hire is a more valuable metric than total hires. Post pandemic, he is also confident they’ll remain a remote-fist company. Amazing talent is distributed, not concentrated in one geography.