Sydney startup Mosh has secured $1 million in funding, including from Tinder founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, as it expands the scope of its accessible and taboo-busting health platform for men.
Investment firm Parc Capital has also taken part in the latest funding round.
Founded almost three years ago, Mosh was conceived to tackle men’s reluctance to take action to deal with their own healthcare.
However, founders Gabe Baker and David Narunsky only left their corporate careers behind to focus on the startup full time at the end of last year.
Over the 12 months, the startup’s revenue has increased 150%, and the team has grown from the two founders to a headcount of 15.
Baker, formerly a lawyer and management consultant, and Narunsky, an investment manager and accountant, started the business as a side-hustle from their Bondi apartment.
Initially, the platform focused on men’s hair loss, purely because it’s a problem Baker has experienced himself.
“I was dissatisfied by the way the solutions on the market were trying to cater to my needs,” he explains.
He was offered very long-term contracts, solutions with “exorbitant fees”, and medicines with little basis in science, he says.
“The current system was a little bit broken, to say the least,” he adds.
Now, the startup has moved into tackling sexual health — specifically, premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
The solution is intended to help men “take control very easily”, Baker explains, offering accurate information and access to treatments.
Users can connect with doctors on demand, talk through their symptoms, and receive medicines in discreet packages in the post.
“You can access these things privately at your own convenience,” Narunsky explains.
“At the same time, we want people to talk about it openly and have those conversations,” he adds.
According to the 2016 Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health, more than half of all men have experienced some kind of ‘sexual difficulties’.
Yet, Baker says, they don’t talk about them.
“Do we ever sit around the table and talk about those issues? For me, the answer is still no.”
Part of Mosh’s mission is to normalise these kinds of health problems, he adds.
“We want to encourage people to talk about it more openly, and to convert it into a non-taboo issue.”
Mosh attracted the attention of the Tinder co-founders when a mutual connection put them in touch.
The founders of the global dating app “saw a lot of synergies between the company they built in Tinder and the company we’re trying to build here”, Baker says.
Both are targeting millennials, and trying to inspire them to take action, he explains.
Rad and Mateen have been instrumental to the early growth of Mosh, Baker says.
They kicked off the first round of funding, contributed to the latest one, and “will continue to fund the ongoing requirements of the business”.
However, they have also been “a huge asset”, offering advice and helping guide the business strategy.
“To get access to great minds like that is unique,” Narunsky says.
“The significant value they have been able to deliver for us personally, as well as for the business, has been phenomenal.”
The Mosh founders describe the latest funding as a ‘bridging’ round, to get them through the next six months, before they raise a larger chunk of money.
However, in the short term, they’re looking to increase their headcount further, and move into three new product categories: skincare, vitamins and mental health.
The latter, in particular, is important to the founders.
“There’s clearly something there that needs to be addressed,”
“It’s something we hold dear to our hearts. We know there’s a large need for it,” Baker says.
“I’m not saying that we’re going to be the solution, but if we can have a positive impact on Australian men in some capacity, then that’s going to be fulfilling our mission as a business.”
In the longer term, while there is scope for international expansion, Baker makes it clear the startup is very much focused on the Aussie market, for now.
“We want to have an unwavering focus … and make sure that we own the market before we look elsewhere.”
“Quit your job and go for it”
Although Mosh is seeing success in its transition from side-hustle to growing startup, Baker doesn’t necessarily recommend that as the best route. In fact, he advises other founders not to start out as a side-hustle.
“If you want to go into a startup go into it with open arms,” he says.
“It’s easy saying that now in hindsight, because we’re getting significant business traction,” he admits.
Of course, founders want to hedge their bets, and many, many startups don’t work out.
“The truth is, if you want to see real success in a business, you have to dedicate 100% of your time, love and attention to it,” Baker says.
“Take the plunge, take a risk, quit your job, and go for it.”
Narunsky adds that it can be easier to take that plunge, and to stick at the business, if you’re solving a problem you feel passionate about.
“The overall thing is that you need grit in the startup world, and that’s intelligence and perseverance — being able to keep persisting if you believe in something,” he says.
“If you’re proud about what you do, and you’ve got the right team around you, then the sky’s the limit really.”