- Hims closed its $1.6 billion SPAC deal with Oaktree and began trading as a public company Thursday.
- While the health startup is focused on the US, CEO Andrew Dudum tells Insider about a secret trip he took to Asia just before the pandemic hit.
- "That will be a market that we look at," Dudum tells Insider.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Digital-health startup Hims just went public in a $1.6 billion SPAC deal with Oaktree, opening at $17.16 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.
The successful exit values the three-year old company at just over $3 billion and puts about $205 million in cash into its coffers, giving founder and CEO Andrew Dudum a lot of options to expand the fast-growing, but still unprofitable business.
While the company is mostly focused on the US, where it counts over 280,000 subscribed customers, Dudum tells Insider about a secret trip he took to Asia in November 2019, right before the global pandemic. Hims is most well-known for providing online consultation and shipping prescriptions for issues ranging from erectile dysfunction to hair loss and mental health.
"I think that demand is very, very strong, so I do think in the next few years, that will be a market that we look at," Dudum tells Insider exclusively.
He describes the international tour he took through Asia, with stops in Singapore, Hong Kong, and mainland China, landing right before the Thanksgiving holiday.
The purpose of the trip, according to Dudum, was to "get to know the hospital systems, the governments, and the regulators," and to "understand where they were from an adoption of telemedicine standpoint," he said.
"I think they're fairly quickly adopting, just like we are here and I think the desire for healthcare is very strong there because the mobile penetration of digital devices is so prevalent," said Dudum. "It kind of skipped over the desktop computer market and went straight to a mobile first experience."
Some of Asia's largest technology companies are involved with telemedicine. There's Alibaba Health, a unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, and JD Health, the health-care unit of the Chinese online retailer JD.com. WeChat, China's most prevalent social media app owned by internet giant Tencent, also has a WeDoctor platform.
A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the specific companies, or individuals that they met during the Asia trip but did tell us, "we have no specific plans for Asia expansion at this time."
Dudum also said that the company will stay focused on the US for now, at least for the next three to four years.
"We feel like we can get a tremendous amount of growth out of the US without having to go too quickly overseas," he said
Besides the US, the company has also quietly started expansion plans in the United Kingdon with a small footprint in London to build out the groundwork in the region, confirmed a company spokesperson.
Overall, Dudum sees Asia as a "massive and very under-penetrated" market opportunity. "I think we've already planted a lot of seeds and have a number of investors actually in the business today that are strategic in the Asian market," he said.
READ MORE: Hims went public after just 3 years. We dug through its financials and spoke with its CEO to find 4 key metrics that could determine the company's success.
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