Navigating the Stages of a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) E-Prescribing Startup

Navigating the Stages of a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) E-Prescribing Startup

Passion Economy
Platform for Telehealth
Shopify for HIPAA
September 19, 2023
The Bask Team
Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) companies have revolutionized the way businesses interact with consumers, bypassing traditional retail channels and establishing direct connections with their target audiences. The journey of a DTC startup is a dynamic and challenging one, characterized by distinct growth stages. In this blog post, we'll delve into each of the first five stages of a DTC company's life cycle, providing insights and examples specific to DTC businesses like Hims and Hers.

Stage 1: Idea and Inception - Conceiving the Vision

The inception of a DTC company is a pivotal moment driven by an idea. This idea often emerges from a deep understanding of consumer pain points, unmet needs or a market edge. Founders recognize an opportunity to offer products or services directly to consumers, eliminating the intermediaries.
The two most common types of people we see at this stage are “Fact Gathers” and “Clift Jumpers”. Some people gather a lot of facts and go out to understand how much money it will take to launch, how much it will cost to buy the product, the costs associated with selling the product, and so on and so forth. The other are the clift jumpers who have the idea, figure out they want to do it, and then run as fast as they can to the next stage - the Proof of concept stage.
It is also important to note that getting set up in the inception stage quickly and cheaply is vital to get past this stage. Due to the high cost of DTC E-prescribing this has been a barrier to entry for a long time. Bask health is the best way to launch quickly and affordably in the DTC E-prescribing. Feel free to try us out :)

Stage 2: Proof of Concept (POC) Milestone:

At this stage, the POC milestone is all about validating the feasibility of the concept. Market trying to sell too becomes crucial, diving deep into consumer preferences, behavior, and competition. Additionally, DTC startups may create initial product iterations and branding to showcase their unique value proposition and iterate on various things like pricing and branding until they find something that works. For example, Hims and Hers initially focused on issues related to sexual health and hair loss. Their POC included identifying target demographics and finding success with products that people didn’t want to go in-person for those types of doctor visits. It was easy and less embarrassing for them to go through that online rather than in person.

Stage 3: Laying the Foundation

Laying the Foundation is the stage where DTC companies lay the foundation for their future success. They have an initial POC with a product in a market. Usually, if you are doing digital marketing of a product with refills, you would have established a CAC and CAC payback time (2-3 months is considered very good) and can now consider pouring gas on the fire.
Early Growth and Development: Once funding is secured, DTC E-prescribing startups can concentrate on the initial market entry. For example, many DTC companies, including Hims and Hers, launch beta versions of their products or services to gather feedback and refine their offerings. This stage is about proving that there is a demand within the DTC consumer base for the unique value proposition.
Founders seek seed funding to transform their vision into reality, often attracting investments from angel investors and consumer focused early investment companies. They can also use their own savings or funds to capitalize on the early growth potential.

Stage 4: Expansion and Scaling - Fueling DTC Rapid Growth

At this point you should know if your product will sell and whether you can scale. As companies gain traction, they often seek more funding to fuel rapid growth. This financing allows them to scale operations and significantly expand their customer base.
Key milestones at this stage include achieving substantial revenue growth. For instance, Hims and Hers expanded their product offerings to include a broader range of healthcare services and over-the-counter products, attracting a larger and more diverse customer base. Expanding into new markets, both geographically and within different consumer segments, is another critical milestone.

Stage 5: Maturity - Sustaining DTC Success

In the maturity stage, DTC companies like Hims and Hers have typically gone through multiple funding rounds, including Series B and C. The focus here is on sustaining the success achieved in earlier stages while continuously innovating to stay competitive in the DTC landscape.
POC milestones during the maturity stage revolve around consistently generating profits and achieving a significant share of the DTC market. Hims and Hers, for example, demonstrated strong customer retention and consistently generated profits by providing a great product to market that preferred non-in-person doctor visits, maintaining a diverse product portfolio, and nurturing a loyal customer base.


The journey of a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) E-Prescribing startup is a thrilling adventure marked by innovation, resilience, and a deep understanding of the evolving healthcare landscape. In this blog post, we've explored the first five stages of this remarkable journey, from the initial inception of a visionary idea to achieving maturity in the competitive DTC space.
In the Idea and Inception stage, founders identify unmet needs or market opportunities and conceive a vision to offer healthcare solutions directly to consumers. Whether they are meticulous "Fact Gathers" or daring "Cliff Jumpers," their goal is to transition swiftly to the Proof of Concept (POC) milestone. Here, validating the feasibility of their concept is crucial, with in-depth market research and the creation of initial product iterations being key steps.
As the startup secures seed funding in the Startup and Formation stage, it lays the foundation for growth. Early Growth and Development involve fine-tuning the product and establishing initial market presence. The Expansion and Scaling stage propels the company forward, with substantial revenue growth and market expansion as vital POC milestones. Finally, in the Maturity stage, the focus shifts to sustaining success, consistently generating profits, and maintaining a strong presence in the DTC market.