Investing In Peak
There’s easy D2C telemedicine and there’s hard D2C telemedicine. The first D2C telemedicine boom, v1, logically focused on the easy categories: hair loss, birth control, erectile dysfunction, skin care. All of these categories require minimal doctor expertise or interaction with patients. Treatments are relatively similar patient to patient. Doctors don’t need to review test results and can process prescription requests within a few minutes.
The companies that enabled D2C telemedicine v1 may disagree with this characterization, but the value they created was easier access to prescription drugs, making them almost like over-the-counter products. The benefit to customers that want access to these drugs is strong, but the problem these v1 companies will face is that the services are effectively identical, as are the drugs. Price becomes the focus when convenience is commoditized.
D2C telemedicine v2 focuses on harder health problems where treatments aren’t the same for every patient, significant doctor interaction is required, and lab tests are necessary. The value of D2C telemedicine v2 services is in the actual practice of medicine for large patient populations, not in the simple access to prescriptions.
Hormone optimization for men with low testosterone is a perfect example of a v2 problem.
Primary care providers often assume there’s nothing wrong with men who demonstrate symptoms of low testosterone, and many endocrinologists and urologists aren’t experts in treating low testosterone. Protocols vary widely from patient to patient and require knowledge to get it right because there are a wide variety of medications that could be appropriate. Labs are required on an ongoing basis. On top of all that, if testosterone is appropriate, there are additional regulations around prescribing as it is a controlled substance.
That’s why we invested in Peak, a D2C telemedicine platform focused on male hormone optimization.
Peak makes the hard problem of hormone optimization easier for its patients through a network of expert doctors available via online consultation and at-home blood testing. More importantly, Peak builds medical relationships directly with its patients given the greater need for physician interaction to maintain proper medical care.
Based on research from the company, 40 million men in the US have low testosterone. 7 million men experience symptoms of low testosterone daily, but only about 2 million men are currently being treated for low testosterone.
Many men go untreated because they may not realize they have low testosterone, which requires blood work to confirm. Others go untreated because of the complexity of finding a good doctor. There are active online communities of men on testosterone replacement helping others who may have been prescribed testosterone but by a doctor who doesn’t understand replacement.
Peak solves both problems. The company offers men a low friction way to get their hormones checked through an at home testing kit. Peak also only works with doctors who are experienced in treating testosterone deficiency. Through Peak’s offering, men with low testosterone who have gone untreated for years now have a convenient, simple and affordable option to get treated.
We view what Peak is building as the early stages of widely available frontier medicine, a frontier technology of a different kind. How we manage our biological reality will be just as important as how we manage our digital reality. Optimizing one’s hormones can have a profound impact on quality of life. I know because I’ve been on testosterone for five years, and it has had the single greatest impact on my life of the many supplements and diets I’ve tried as a health enthusiast and competitive athlete.
We’re excited to back Saad, Stuart, and the Peak team in introducing the world to the power of frontier medicine.