Investor in Action: 5 Questions for Andrew Dudum of Hims & Hers
Wharton’s Global Youth program allows high school students to meet Wharton School graduates working in a variety of industries. Recently, Wharton Global Youth student Marissa Sawicki was able to have a chat with Hims & Hers Founder and CEO Andrew Dudum (Wharton 2011). Dudum completed his Wharton degree with concentrations in entrepreneurial management and venture capital. In addition to being a founder, he is also an angel investor—with an unusual model of investing—and advisor to more than 24 startups.
“I tried to focus as much of the study away from the traditional finance program, which is what Wharton is famous for, and tried to take advantage of some of the up-and-coming entrepreneurial stuff,” Dudum said of his study at Wharton. “I took legal and history classes about venture capital. I took a lot of entrepreneurial classes where we would have to pitch ideas and get good at convincing engineers to build things on our behalf.”
Hims & Hers is not the only company Dudum has founded. After he graduated from Wharton, he started companies with “a whole bunch of Wharton people,” and he co-founded Atomic Labs, which Dudum describes in his LinkedIn profile as being “a company builder and venture fund all in one.”
Essentially, Atomic is a type of startup accelerator. It has a large pool of capital, about $200 million a year, given to Atomic by investors—families, rich individuals, venture capital firms, private equity firms, schools, endowments, and well-known investors including Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen. Unlike well-known accelerators such as Y-Combinator, where companies apply and the accelerator invests in them, Atomic builds companies from scratch.
“All of the companies are started totally internally within Atomic with ideas that come from me or [Atomic Co-founder Jack Abraham],” Dudum said. “Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of company concepts. When we have conviction that one of these ideas is going to work, we will create it as a legitimate company.”
Dudum’s latest company is Hims & Hers, a direct-to-consumer company that offers a range of products from hair loss products to anxiety and depression medications, from sexual health products to shampoo and conditioner. Dudum took the company public through a SPAC in January of 2021.
“It’s a whole new world for me to figure out how to be a public company CEO. I spend my day building the company in a way that is going to create a bunch of value for the people who own shares, like better understanding our customers, how we can market for them, and how we can make the experience better for them,” Dudum said.
When asked for advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Dudum said the best thing to do is go out and meet lots of people and learn from them. “Try to learn from as many smart people as possible. … The best way to learn is through osmosis. Suck as much value from their brain and get it into your brain as quickly as possible.”
Read the five-question interview here.
Watch the full interview video here.