Startup Roman Diagnoses Erectile Dysfunction and Sells Meds—All Online
Zachariah Reitano was 17 when he took his first stress test. His heart rate peaked to 240 beats per minute and he collapsed on the treadmill. It was a scary thing that never would’ve happened if he hadn’t talked to his dad about his erectile dysfunction.
Zachariah says 17 is a shockingly early age to experience ED, which in his case was the first sign of a far more serious underlying heart condition. He says he was incredibly lucky to have a father who was both a physician and an expert in sexual health.
For other men who might not have a doctor for a dad, Zachariah, Saman Rahmanian, and Rob Schutz created Roman, a direct-to-consumer men’s health company that diagnoses ED and delivers medication right to your door.
Something most people don’t know, Zachariah says, is that ED is often the first sign of a far more serious underlying condition—such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. It is also commonly associated with obesity and depression.
Roman works with men to treat their ED, identify the underlying cause, and try to improve their overall health, Zachariah says. And the brand handles the sensitive subject matter with some humor.
The first Roman commercial, which has more than a million views on Facebook, pokes fun at the clichés in so many ED ads. Rob says 20 years of ridiculous ED ads showing guys throwing footballs through tire swings and couples in separate bathtubs didn’t make a lot of sense and were easy to poke fun at. Roman’s humor makes it a little easier for men to start a conversation about ED.
But Roman takes the medical side of things seriously. The company’s leadership team of 10 doctors includes former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders. Licensed physicians handle every online visit. Saman says that after that initial conversation with a physician, that same doctor also follows up with the patient to make sure the treatment is working well, to ask about any side effects, and to answer any questions.
Online doctor’s visits cost $15, which Roman will refund if you’re not a candidate for meds. Prescriptions average $30 a month with free shipping. Those prescriptions arrive in a completely unmarked box, Saman says.
The package has no branding until you open it privately at home. And that discreet approach is resonating with a lot of men.
Rob says the company did more volume in their first month and a half than they anticipated doing for the entire year. And now Roman does more business on a daily basis than they had projected doing in its first few months.
Roman prescribes Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra as well as sildenafil, the generic version of Viagra.