Roman is a rocket and I'm not talking about how he sells Viagra and Cialis. Less than a year after launching his erectile dysfunction cloud pharmacy with $ 3 million in funds and a five-person team, Roman has grown to seventy team members and a multi-million dollar revenue rate, an increase of 720 percent since January. It has provoked more than a million doctor-patient visits, telephone calls and text conversations through its telemedicine portal to obtain diagnoses and recipes.
And now Roman is ready to expand beyond the men, so he's falling off the Man.
Today, the recently renamed & # 39; Ro & # 39; He released his next product, Zero, a $ 129 kit to quit smoking. It contains one month of medication to stop taking medications, bupropion and nicotine gum, plus an application to track progress and learn to stay motivated by hunger, nausea and cravings. Advance orders open today.
"The medication for erectile dysfunction is a knee brace, it helps you walk again, but the goal would be to not need a knee brace," says Ro co-founder Zachariah Reitano, who started the company because he lives with his own ED because of a side effect of heart medications. " Some people will need medication for erectile dysfunction, but we hope that many people, through changes in lifestyle or quitting, will no longer need us."
To spread Zero to women and men alike, as well as build an electronic medical record system, Ro has also lifted a jaw dropping $ 88 million Series A round. He was led by FirstMark Capital and joined SignalFire, Initialized Capital, General Catalyst, Slow Ventures, Sinai Ventures, Capital Torch, BoxGroup and Tusk Ventures. Initialized and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and FirstMark CEO Rick Heitzmann will join Ro's board to manage this massive infusion of capital.
"The plan for the money is to continue building our own pharmacy" as well as "a large part of the back-end infrastructure that we call & # 39; Ro & # 39; that will allow us to launch these other products and verticals in the next two to three years, including health products for women, says Reitano. "Ohanian writes that" the only thing that exceeds Ro's execution to date is his vision for the future of medical care. Unlike other companies in space, Ro is complete and is actually rebuilding the health care experience from scratch, which means they can provide unparalleled care to patients across the country. "
Until recently, 80 percent of Viagra sold online was fake, which not only made it uncomfortable to buy erectile dysfunction drugs, but also dangerous, but that number is starting to decrease thanks to the explosion in the popularity of Roman, as well as the new male direct consumer health organization. "Roman does not lend itself to the typical Instagram unboxing experience, but we received many face-to-face conversations," says Reitano laughing. has been key to the growth of income, since it is the first organic search result to buy Viagra & # 39 ;.
" One of the things that helped me was Go my story [he’s dealt with ED since he was 17] and this & # 39; check engine light concept that sees erections as indicators that a man's body is in good working order. Roman even built a somewhat silly application called Morning Glory to help men track morning erections. Roman's experience is designed to make patients feel comfortable with a fundamentally uncomfortable subject. "The fact that this stigma exists is why people do not talk to their doctor or their partner," says Reitano.
Now Ro wants to adopt the same clear approach to helping people quit smoking, starting by having them chat with their "telehealth assistant" to order the documentation before talking to a doctor of Ro. The startup says that of the 37.5 million people who smoke in the US UU., 70 percent want to quit smoking and 50 percent try to quit smoking every year, but only 3 to 5 percent do not smoke after six months. But with medication, nicotine replacement therapy like chewing gum, decreasing smoking before quitting and counseling, the dropout rate dramatically improves to 33% after six months.
You get all that from the Zero kit for $ 129 per month, compared to $ 120 at Amazon just for the nicotine gum. Reitano admits that "the margin is not really great to begin with". Let's say it is slightly lower than what would be a typical commercial purchase. "But the idea is that if Ro and Zero can help a person quit smoking, patients will turn to more of their online pharmacy needs.
One barrier to Ro is that he does not currently accept insurance for his appointments. $ 15 telemedicine, Roman pills or the Zero kit Eventually, you want to accept FSA cards for tax-advantaged expenses in the hope of reducing the cost for some patients, but otherwise Ro will require people to pay out of pocket, restricting it to a richer segment of the population, Reitano admits that "in any space that is incredibly competitive and highly regulated, there are things beyond your control. Under our control, there is an incredible opportunity to make sure we take advantage of the infrastructure we have. "
Reitano concludes:" Honestly, I hope we can accomplish what we want to build. "