- The CEO of Ro, a healthcare startup whose brands prescribe Viagra and other medications online and ship them to customers’ doors, just accused rival company Hims of ripping off part of its website.
- A new online doctor’s visit experience from Hims copies Ro “word for word,” Ro CEO Zachariah Reitano said in a screenshot-laden Medium post published on Monday morning.
- The tone of Reitano’s post is sardonic, even going so far as to quote Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.
- As two big and well-funded names in this space, Hims and Ro have developed a quiet rivalry. The very public charge by Reitano shows that the competition is heating up.
- Hims did not immediately return a request for comment.
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For patients who want to bypass the doctor’s office and buy prescription drugs online, services like Hims and Ro’s Roman offer rival services to do just that.
Now, the competition is heating up, with an accusation by Ro CEO Zachariah Reitano that Hims cribbed part of Ro’s website.
The claim focuses on an online doctor’s consultation that patients must go through – and which Reitano says a redesign of Hims’s site copies “word for word” from Ro, from the design to the website copy and even copyediting mistakes.
“On behalf of Hims’ patients, thank you for copying Ro,” CEO Zachariah Reitano wrote in a Medium post on Monday. The post is full of screenshots comparing Hims’s website and Ro’s platform, including screenshots of what Hims’s site looked like before.
Hims did not immediately return a request for comment.
Ro and Hims are part of a new wave of startups changing the way people access healthcare like prescriptions by offering it online. The model is also controversial because of the way it could cut medications off from the wider healthcare system.
Reitano’s post takes a mocking tone, even making a reference to a quotation from Marcus Aurelius about imitation being a form of compliment. He also jokes about Aurelius being a Roman emperor, since Ro’s men’s health brand is called Roman, and laughingly encourages Hims to copy other Ro features, like free two-day shipping.
But the rivalry between Hims and Ro is serious business.
Both companies have raised millions from investors in hopes of leading the booming online healthcare market. With such similar services, even an online website’s design can set a company apart.
Ro’s online doctor visits were designed by “Ro’s Clinical Directors, physician network, and world renowned medical advisory board,” Reitano said in an emailed statement to Business Insider.
“Over the last two years, we’ve run thousands of A/B tests and have conducted countless patient interviews to make sure we’re always improving and offering the best possible experience for patients,” he said.
Initialized Capital’s Alexis Ohanian, whose firm is an investor in Ro, waded into the conversation on Monday, tweeting at Atomic founder and managing partner Jack Abraham, who co-founded Hims.
For a company to be so lazy is one thing, but imagine demoralizing your entire team by saying "hey, what you're doing just isn't working… so copy our competitors to the pixel." Not a good look for @jackabraham but at least they're copying the best (@getroman of @Initialized) https://t.co/NgIJgwpkcP
— AlexisOhanian.eth 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) September 9, 2019
Lydia Ramsey contributed reporting.
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