Building Amazon health brands as a community | Yadin Shemmer | Intrinsic
In this Prime Talk Podcast Sponsored by GETIDA – Yadin Shemmer - Co-Founder and CEO of Intrinsic talks about Building Amazon health brands as a community, also more information about his life's journey. #YadinShemmer #Intrinsic
About Yadin Shemmer of Intrinsic - Yadin Shemmer - Serial consumer health entrepreneur, former CEO, and president at a publicly-traded company, with several successful exits. "Intrinsic is building the consumer health products business of tomorrow by acquiring and accelerating eCommerce native brands. Health & wellness eCommerce is immense and growing at a breakneck pace as consumers move their spending online. Intrinsic is purpose-built to meet this opportunity and address the unique needs of consumers and founders in the category," said Yadin Shemmer, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Intrinsic.
Find the Full Episode Below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Hi everybody. Welcome to another episode of Prime Talk today I have a special guest today I'm having Yadin Shemmer. Yadin is the co-founder and CEO of Intrinsic, which is an acceleration platform for healthcare brands. So Yadin welcome to the show.
Yadin Shemmer 0:20
Thanks, Yoni, thanks for having me.
Yoni Mazor 0:22
My pleasure. Actually, I wanted this you know, I know this interview for a long time. So thank you for dedicating the time. Today's episode is gonna be the story of you. Right, it's gonna be the story of a Yadin Shemmer. So you're gonna share with us? Where are you? Where are you from? Where did you grow up? How'd you begin your professional career all the way to where you are today, especially with the world of E-commerce. So I guess without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Yadin Shemmer 0:44
Okay, so where should I start? I guess the very beginning, very beginning, I'm from Israel originally was born there. And moved to the States at an early age I came when I was eight years old, my family moved here and came to the New York City area I grew up around here. So in the city and the suburbs surrounding,
Yoni Mazor 1:02
but was if I can ask, What was the reason for the change? It was an opportunity for your parents of some kind.
Yadin Shemmer 1:07
Yeah, my parents’ jobs. My dad was a banker, and he had an opportunity to move here and my mother was a scientist and wanted to get her Ph.D. And that's what brought them to New York.
Yoni Mazor 1:16
Nice. Okay, so you come here, AJ, continue as your
Yadin Shemmer 1:20
Yeah, came at AJ grew up around here, ended up splitting High School between Israel and here, came back to college here, went to college in Philly, and studied psychology, wasn't sure what I was going to do, you know, after college really had no idea. But in the summers, I interned for an Israeli tech company called Vocal Tech, which is a company not many people have heard of, but they invented Voice Over IP. Nice. So classic, you know, Israeli tech story that technology was, was groundbreaking, came out of the army, and was commercialized privately. And they really created the category I'd intern in there. And that ended up being the key to the next step in my career, which was going to Wall Street because of that experience, an investment bank on Wall Street that focused on technology, reached out to me and was looking to hire analysts and it all worked out. So I went
Yoni Mazor 2:17
Let's backtrack, let's backtrack a little bit. Okay. Do you want to Philly? What university Philadelphia
Yadin Shemmer 2:21
Yoni Mazor 2:22
Pennsylvania got it? Okay. So when you studied psychology, and then during school, you already got an internship with VO, what was it called, Vocal Tech. And where was that when you started working for Vocal Tech? Or did an internship?
Yadin Shemmer 2:33
I think it was 1995 or 1996.
Yoni Mazor 2:37
Okay, it's the early days of the .com. This is when the bubble was just getting its momentum. I just want to mind everybody around 2000. It was 2000. Yeah, even before so. Yeah, high tech was so hot, it was just exploding to above because anybody who had an idea was able to raise a lot of money. Not necessarily provide any anything that kind of blew up around the 2000. But you were much earlier 95 It's really early days of, you know,
Yadin Shemmer 3:01
The very beginning, I mean, the internet, really the internet, as we know it today started around 1994. So if you looked at Mozilla and the Netscape that were the first browsers that were 1994. And so, you know, this was when we had dial-up modems, some of your viewers might not even know what that is, right? With dial-up to get an internet connection, that was 14 4 28 8 bandwidth. So the internet was just starting, and I had this internship with a company that was very early in voice over IP, they invented it. And that was the experience that eventually got me on the path.
Yoni Mazor 3:40
So so how many years did you stay? Or how long did you stay? By Vocal Tech?
Yadin Shemmer 03:44
I did that for two summers, I think two or three summers. I would go back to Israel every summer to see my family. And in those summers, I worked and I had an internship at this company Vocal Tech.
Yoni Mazor 3:55
Got it Oh, so they're based in Israel. Yeah, company. Yeah. So you Okay, your internship was International? That's pretty interesting. Yeah. Across the Atlantic. internship. I think the first time I hear anything like that. It's pretty cool. Okay, so during the time there the somebody from Wall Street reached out to you, but they were probably based in the US in New York.
Yadin Shemmer 4:13
Well, it wasn't that it was as I was graduating from college, which was 1998. I was looking around for what to do. And investment bank reached out to me and said, hey, you should apply for this analyst position. Because we're looking for people with a tech background. In 1998. There weren't a lot of folks who had worked in tech, it was a kind of a new or at least on the internet, right? It was new, and I happen to have an internship that was relevant, which is what got me in the door.
Yoni Mazor 4:41
Got it. So, you started 1998, right away.
Yadin Shemmer 4:43
1998 was when I left college, graduated, and went to work.
Yoni Mazor 4:47
Alright, so your professional, you know, career starts 1998, the first station take us there?
Yadin Shemmer 4:52
That's right. Yeah. I worked for this investment bank called Broadview, which was a boutique bank, focusing on M&A in the IT sector. That's all they did. And they were outstanding. And I was an analyst at a bank, I was analyzing deals, putting spreadsheets together, presentations together, and helping buyers and sellers decide and negotiate on deals. Like an MBA, the first real foray into business, it's how I cut my teeth. It's how I learned how to think, really about business. And it was a fantastic time to do this in 1998. This was when you were saying before, this was when the tech boom was really starting the first tech boom, there were many, but it was really the first of my lifetime. And it was the .com era, it was a very exciting time to be doing M&A.
Yoni Mazor 5:43
So how many years, you stay in that position,
Yadin Shemmer 5:46
Yoni Mazor 5:47
two years, so exactly year 2000
Yadin Shemmer 5:48
Yeah, I have great timing. So I left in March of 2000, or February of 2000. And like, a month after I left, and I went to the startup a month after I went to a startup, the market collapsed. And so this was the startup I had gone to which I was very excited about then had a rough time because the entire market just basically evaporated.
Yoni Mazor 6:09
Melted. Yeah. So did it survive or not, the startup?
Yadin Shemmer 6:12
The company ended up being sold about two years later, to another company, and they merge the technology survives with the company does not.
Yoni Mazor 6:19
But you stay there or you moved away fairly quickly.
Yadin Shemmer 6:22
I was there for about two years through some tough times, you know, after the market collapsed.
Yoni Mazor 6:28
So that was the second station after college at, first of all, was in the banking and then took an offer with the actual startup he jumped, jumped right into the industry itself, by playing and you know, startup companies, and he survived the two years with the company that's, that's impressive that they're able to survive. And you had that experience of, you know, the down, they know the cyclical, everything cyclical. So on the downturn, you're you experienced firsthand what it's like to be, I guess, lean, frugal, humble, things like that.
Yadin Shemmer 6:52
All of it. And you know, when I was a banker, first job out of college, I had no idea. I thought markets only went up I never understood, happened on the other side. And so it was, it was a very humbling experience. And I actually think, as a young person starting out, seeing that teaches you a lot more than being at a company that's just wildly successful because you see all the pressure points of where the business is, you understand what's going well, what's not, you see companies going through change, having to restructure, you learn a lot. And so it was an eye-opening experience, I learned a ton, ultimately, the company got sold. And then I had to kind of go figure out what to do next.
Yoni Mazor 7:32
Yeah, I think what's remarkable is that in such a meltdown, a company was able to, I guess, find its real purpose and thrill clientele, and it has to be valuable to survive. If it's really not valuable. It's not based on anything, it doesn't survive, because the markets only let something survivor or prosper or thrive if there's really usability or need for it. So I guess, your industry, or I mean, a company that really had a need, and we're able to survive, and then get merged and sold. And like you said, the technologist, or maybe the branding of the company didn't. But the technology itself, as a product as a utility survived, which, you know, it's good, it's a good thing to realize, you know, especially in a crisis, what is the core fundamentals of a company that's really viable out there? If that survives, the whole organization has a better chance to survive. So I think that's a good experience early on for you. Okay, so 2002 hits. What's your next station?
Yadin Shemmer 8:21
So then I applied to business school and decided to go traveling for a year while I waited to hear from business school. So I applied to a bunch of business schools, and I hit the road. And I basically spent a year in Southeast Asia and Australia just backpacking around and seeing the world. I had, up until that point, I'd been stuck at a desk in a cube for four years after college, working 80 to 90 hour weeks. So I figured 2002 I figured there's got to be a lot more to see in the planet. And so I went off with a backpack and, and just ran around and had adventures. And while I was out there, I heard back from a bunch of business schools, and I ultimately decided that I was going to go to London Business School, named appropriately in London. And, and so in 2000, and this was in 2002. So 2001 You know, I kind of left applied when traveling 2002 I ended up starting business school.
Yoni Mazor 9:20
Got it. Okay, so but business school, granted the same language, a little bit of a different dialogue, but a whole new country for you. So
Yadin Shemmer 9:26
Yeah, a whole new country, a whole new adventure. A fantastic two years in London, really learning and hanging out with people like me who were trying to figure out what to do next in their career, and sharing experience in the business. It was fascinating and fun.
Yoni Mazor 9:45
So before we dive in, I guess what you did next, in a nutshell, comparing New York to London to megacities, important cities in the world, you know, your 10 cents on the main differences. Share with the audience a little bit. There. So you're coming to London. Yeah, go ahead.
Yadin Shemmer 9:57
There's so many differences. I think, you know, number one London's on the doorstep of Europe so you can get on a flight. And in two hours you can be in Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, the travel opportunities are just awesome out there. And so we all took advantage of that a lot. I think they have in England a better work-life balance all around than in New York, you've been around New York City, you know what it's like to work here, people work very hard. And work is kind of a religion in America.
And in Europe, it's a little more balanced, I found. And you know, the other thing beyond, you know, food and weather, and all the cliche things, the other thing that we found was at least back then things changed a lot. But this was 2000 to 2004. entrepreneurism was in Europe, not where it was in the US. So in America, entrepreneurs are celebrated. And if you start a business, you can get a meeting with anybody, you know, you just have to have enough kind of Moxie. And you can get a meeting with anyone who's an investor you can get with partners, and startups and entrepreneurs or, you know, our positive things. In England and in Europe, it was viewed at the time a bit differently. I remember vividly starting out, I'll tell you about what I did after business school.
But I remember when we started out, it was very hard to get meetings with companies, we even tried to get a bank account once with the startup that I ended up doing. And it was very difficult even to get a bank account, people wanted the history of trading doors were hard to open, it was hard to get started. And that was, you know, business-wise, something I remember. And I still joke about with my former partner to this day,
Yoni Mazor 11:41
that's very interesting. And then realize all out, it's okay, good points. Appreciate that. All right, let's move on to the next station. You said in London, New London, I wonder,
Yadin Shemmer 11:50
My plan. So my career was never really well planned. It was all a series of fortunate accidents. Really, my plan was to go to business school for two years, and then go back to New York. And at the tail end of business school. When I was in business school, I did a project we all had to do projects. As part of graduation, I did a project for a small company in London, that was in the film business. They had financed movies for many years. And I did a project for them on piracy, pirated DVDs and movies, and the effect on the industry and how to combat it. And just as I was graduating, bout to get on a plane to go back to the US, I got this job offer from this crew to go help them launch a fund to invest in films, that was a different type of investment than they had done historically. I love movies, it's one of the things that I, you know, I'm passionate about. And I thought this was an amazing opportunity to be in a space that I loved and be close to kind of the filmmaking process and also be an investor. And so I jumped at it. And I ended up staying in London.
Yoni Mazor 12:54
All I see you basically the role was raise money, invest in the industry that you love, which is movies, or film. Okay, before we jump head onto that, top three films, real quick, of mine, It’s the question, yeah, but top three that you recommend?
Yadin Shemmer 13:08
God, there's so many, it's hard to really say I'll come back to you at the end of the podcast.
Yoni Mazor 13:13
Okay, so the fund rises and what's your role in that, take us to the station?
Yadin Shemmer 13:18
So I was a junior partner as a principal at the fund. That was four of us. And we raised a bunch of money from another fund, and we're lenders to films so we were not equity investors in the film. We were lenders, which was a safer bet. A lucrative bet but not, not the red carpets not, you know, out in premieres and that stuff, we were classical financiers in the film business and we lent money to all sorts of movies, big movies, Hollywood productions,
Yoni Mazor 13:48
So international this you're based in London. But Hollywood, like I mentioned, that's already international that's outside of the UK.
Yadin Shemmer 13:56
Yeah, based in London and lending monies to film to movies everywhere. big Hollywood productions and small independent films and
Yoni Mazor 14:03
everything anything worth mentioning.
Yadin Shemmer 14:05
A bunch that you may have heard of "Loving the time of cholera, the watchmen.
Yoni Mazor 14:11
That sounds like Sony, I think Sony was watchmen or No,
Yadin Shemmer 14:14
Yeah, there were a bunch that we did we did. And then a bunch of like smaller ones that you know went right to a video that were also they were good investments, but they were movies that most people haven't heard of, like,
Yoni Mazor 14:24
what's what was the APR back then? What's basically the yield on a loan?
Yadin Shemmer 14:29
It depended on the type but it was, you know, mid-teens, so somewhere between 15 to 20% for those guys.
Yoni Mazor 14:34
The duration was 12 months, five years, which usually
Yadin Shemmer 14:38
typically 12 to 18 months.
Yoni Mazor 14:40
Got it. Okay, interesting.
Yadin Shemmer 14:41
Yeah. So small, small duration because you know, the film gets made film gets distributed and marketed. And the producers need the money upfront to make it.
Yoni Mazor 14:50
Got it. Okay so, how many years have you stayed in this role?
Yadin Shemmer 14:53
Two years. And it was different than what I'd expected. I'd expected something that was much more have a movie role. And you know, close to the thing I loved. And this was really a finance job, first and foremost. And it also had another difficulty, which was, we were in London working LA hours. So, you know, my day really started properly at like 7 or 8 pm. So it was it was hard. And two years in, I was burnt out and itching to do something else. And so I left finance, and got into a startup, which was really the beginning of what happened the next 15 years else when I got into healthcare was 2006. In London,
Yoni Mazor 15:39
All right, take us there.
Yadin Shemmer 15:41
Again, another fortunate accident I had a friend in the EU in the UK, it was an American guy. He was a very accomplished individual. He was a JD MD and MBA, from some great institutions. He had built a business in the UK, that was to build and operate hospitals, in partnership with the NHS, the NHS is the National Health Service, it's the UK is healthcare, you know, service
Yoni Mazor 16:09
that socialized, right, it's not the some private, that's public,
Yadin Shemmer 16:13
heavily socialized, something like 90% of the healthcare in the UK is socialized, and where the government doesn't only pay for the care, but they also own the hospitals and employ the doctors, most of the doctors. So the whole system top to bottom is government-run. And he can build hospitals in partnership with the UK under a program at the time, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who were in power, had instituted to try to bring private hospital owners into the UK to compete with the government-run hospitals. They were starting to introduce competition, you know,
Yoni Mazor 16:48
So, in a way, it's like privatizing healthcare in a way,
Yadin Shemmer 16:51
It was small privatization of a certain sector of the UK, which the health care system there, which was hospitals, in an attempt mostly to bring down wait times. Got it. And so it was
Yoni Mazor 17:03
So it sounds like supply and demand, there's a lot of demand, but not enough supply on infrastructure. So you got to basically create some programs to reduce or expand the supply. So it reduces all the pressures. Yeah,
Yadin Shemmer 17:16
That was part of the thinking was, let's bring more supply. And let's bring private operators to compete with the government-run hospitals and see if we can do it better with shorter wait times. Got it. And so the government tendered these contracts. And my friend was a big winner. And he was selling his hospital chain when I was leaving the hedge fund I was at, and we got together and he said, Hey, let's do a health care business together. And I had no clue about health care at the time, you know, I had never done anything in health care. But he was a doctor and a business person who had done something successful. And I said, Yeah, let's do it. And so we built a business together. In the UK.
Yoni Mazor 17:55
How'd you guys meet up, by the way, from what kind of circles? You know each other,
Yadin Shemmer 17:59
We had a mutual friend who introduced us, and
Yoni Mazor 18:02
it was British, I would assume
Yadin Shemmer 18:04
he was actually an American guy who knew both of us and said, Hey, you guys are both in London you should meet
Yoni Mazor 18:09
Now You are saying yeah, the the partner that was a doctor, he was British, right? Or
Yadin Shemmer 18:13
No, he was an American.
Yoni Mazor 18:14
So three Americans.
Yadin Shemmer 18:16
Yoni Mazor 18:17
Okay. All right. It's interesting dynamics America bringing Americana into the UK. Okay. Yeah, the doctor was American. He's in the UK won this contract. And you got you became your friend or another fellow American?
Yadin Shemmer 18:30
That's right. Got it. And we were both free agents at the same time looking for the next thing. And we said, hey, let's build a business together. And so we built a business called Better to Know. And kind of the model
Yoni Mazor 18:43
To know, what the k right? Better than Yeah, k n o w. That's right. Or something, it's better to know something or not knowing.
Yadin Shemmer 18:49
That's exactly right. Okay. And our model was pretty, pretty simple. It was let's look at the NHS. Let's look at the government-run health care system in England. Let's look at areas where it's not doing a good job. And let's try to build a private alternative for patients in the UK. And one of the areas that the UK at that time had a very bad where the NHS had a very bad reputation in was STD testing sexual health. It was
Yoni Mazor 19:17
STF correct me if I'm wrong, sexual, sexually transmitted diseases. Yeah,
Yadin Shemmer 19:21
That's right, yeah, sexual health. And the testing was had a very bad reputation. It took you hours to get seen sometimes. It took you months, sometimes to get results back. And there were questions over confidentiality and anonymity. And so there was a private market for this. And we decided to build a national business doing this with one brand and one price nationwide, and better known as the first thing that we did,
Yoni Mazor 19:49
Oh, now I understand the meaning and the meaning of the name better to know. Okay.
Yadin Shemmer 19:53
Yeah. And we built that business together. We ran around the UK signing up doctors to actually provide these tests and provide treatment and counseling to patients. We built a network of doctors around the UK. And then we built a website to help patients, find a doctor, make an appointment, make payment.
Yoni Mazor 20:10
So a network of doctors or doctors’ clinics are basically the distribution center. That's where it gets, you know, the solution gets delivered when the solution is you're able to get tested. And then you go online, you see the results?
Yadin Shemmer 20:21
That's right. That's exactly right. And, you know, initially wasn't that easy to have, it was me and my friend, two Americans running around the UK, trying to sign up British doctors to a business it didn't yet exist.
Yoni Mazor 20:34
And, then 2006 When you get started.
Yadin Shemmer 20:36
Yoni Mazor 20:37
And this connects what you're saying earlier that it was just hard, and entrepreneurs in the UK or Europe is not as applauded. You know, there's all these roadblocks, like you mentioned, though, opening a bank account. So there's a lot, it sounds very challenging with a lot of hurdles, but you still took a leap of faith and you went through the grind. So it's pretty.
Yadin Shemmer 20:55
Yeah, it's even worse than that. Because in the UK, when it comes to medicine, and especially the business of medicine, it's even like that same hesitation about entrepreneurship applies times 10 In medicine, the British at that point at that time, and still today, I think it persists, this notion that you shouldn't, you shouldn't have a business of medicine, and doctors shouldn't market themselves, that whole thing was kind of a dirty word. And so we were going to doctors and saying, hey, sign up with us, we'll will market your services, and we'll bring you, patients. And the whole thing for a lot of doctors felt very uncomfortable. Because, again, as a doctor, in the UK, you weren't supposed to market yourself, you weren't supposed to be in business to make money. It was supposed to be very pure about the profit,
Yoni Mazor 21:40
it's almost their shame, I'm making a good living right out of the profession in a way,
Yadin Shemmer 21:45
A lot of doctors at that time in the UK felt like that. And most of the medicine in the UK was was socialized in public. So we were running around, you know, trying to sign up docs and making an argument to them that this was going to be good for the patient and good for them. And enough, Doc's believed in us and signed up with us that we got our start.
Yoni Mazor 22:04
That's great. But tell me, the actual laboratories were yours. Are you a contractor that also
Yadin Shemmer 22:09
No, we contracted with third-party labs, one of the labs that we work with over there was Quest Diagnostics, which is American, one American lab, one of the two biggest we also had a private UK lab over there, that was fantastic. And so we, we provided the doctors with the lab, the lab testing, equipment, and the contract that we put in place, and we sent the patients to the doc they did the rest.
Yoni Mazor 22:33
Wow. So it's amazing how you saw this, cease, and saw this opportunity in this country and whole infrastructure. And you connected all the dots, you not only you found the strategic partner with the laboratories, you told the laboratories working on machinery they need so they can have the finance and the right people to operate it. And it's like an orchestra. You guys were the composers. It's pretty
Yadin Shemmer 22:50
Yeah, we kind of put it all together. And we created the only national brand in the UK for the service outside of the government. And within six months, we were the second biggest player outside of the government in sexual health. And then we thought to ourselves, okay, well, let's look at other parts of the healthcare system that aren't doing a great job or that have a mixed reputation. And we kind of photocopied the model. So the next thing we did was maternity, we offered we created a whole service that was similar in structure to better to know around giving birth privately, at the time, delivery and maternity in the UK had a very bad reputation. And there were every week articles in the major papers about horror stories of deliveries gone wrong. And there was a need and a demand in the UK for a private alternative. So we built the same thing we went around, we
Yoni Mazor 23:42
So I understand the dynamics. So during the pregnancy, there's a lot of you know, lab work, and that is being mismanaged in a way so you wanted to create a better a better infrastructure for that. So ladies who are, you know, pregnant and need to get all these Lab works? You provide that solution? Yeah.
Yadin Shemmer 23:57
It wasn't just lab work. It was end to end it was, you know, your nine months of pregnancy plus your delivery plus your two months afterward. That whole episode of being pregnant delivering a child put ultrasound, ultrasound blood visits with an OBGYN.
Yoni Mazor 24:14
The whole experience Wow. And yeah, and the delivery as well.
Yadin Shemmer 24:18
And the delivery and the hospital fee and the postnatal visits, the whole thing end to end and it was at a very high price point we charged like 7 or 8 thousand pounds for the full thing, which in the UK when you have a free alternative is a lot of money. Right. And we offered it to the Publican, you know, that didn't do as well as better to know but it did okay. And that
Yoni Mazor 24:41
It was done the same way. It was brand that solution.
Yadin Shemmer 24:45
No, that was branded differently. We call that the Birth Clinic. And we had it was mostly in London and somewhat outside of London, but it was geared heavily towards London, where we had a network of obstetricians, hospitals, ultrasound clinics, and labs that provided the service end to end
Yoni Mazor 25:02
It’s quiet, it's very ambitious. I mean this seems, uh, you know what you guys did there? Okay, how do you target for both actually for, you know, the sexual health and you know, the pregnancy solutions? How'd you guys found your target audiences? How do you market and basically,
Yadin Shemmer 25:21
we, marketed both of them almost exclusively online. And what we discovered was on the sexual health side of things online was the perfect way to do it. Because people didn't talk to each other about this type of service, it’s very private, very private, and people are, there's a stigma around it. So people will just go search online. In maternity and delivery, the opposite was true. Women who weren't pregnant spoke to each other all the time about where they got care, how the experiences is going. And so word of mouth was the main way women discovered obstetricians and hospitals.
Yoni Mazor 25:55
So how did you tap into that, for example,
Yadin Shemmer 25:57
it was much harder, and that's why it didn't go as well as the other side of things.
Yoni Mazor 26:00
Got it. It’s not as scalable as quickly as one year, you know, you can really do outline outreach, and that's, that's globle its that's like, you know, it's a second explosion anyway.
Yadin Shemmer 26:11
Yoni Mazor 26:12
Okay, All right. So what was the next thing? For better to know? Or that was another company better to know? Or would you call it? What was the infrastructure, like, what was the group?
Yadin Shemmer 26:20
We had an Umbrella company, but Better to Know was the brand that sort of patients. And so we built this up four years, after four years.
Yoni Mazor 26:30
2016 to 2010
Yadin Shemmer 26:31
Yeah, 2006, 2010, or 2011, four and a half years, something like that. And after four or five years, we've grown the business substantially. And we decided to sell, the main reason we decided to sell was, we didn't, its growth, that started to slow down a bit. And we weren't sure that we were the right people to take it to the next level. We thought to really scale the model, you needed to do one of two things, either go partner with the NHS, and not be exclusively private, so try to tap into the government funding, or take the business abroad. And we didn't think that we were the right people to do either of those things.
Yoni Mazor 27:12
Let me backtrack? So those four or five years? A was a profitable B, how'd you fundraise? What was the financial structure of the company?
Yadin Shemmer 27:21
No, we bootstrapped, the whole thing started money, we didn't fundraise, we didn't need to, because the business was profitable day one, almost, which was, which was terrific. And so we just, you know, use the cash flow of the business to grow. And all the growth was focused on the UK domestic market, it was just about signing up more docs and doing a better job with, you know, our digital marketing. Got it. But to get to, we got big pretty fast. And then after a couple of years, to get to the next level, we have to do those two things I talked about.
Yoni Mazor 27:52
So that's very honest, how you looked at it said, you know, I took this baby all the way here, where does it go next? Can I do it? Is my organization good enough to do it? Or, you know, be honest, and maybe this opportunity out there that can do a better job? Let's see, you know, and materialize that. So I guess that's what you guys did?
Yadin Shemmer 28:10
Yeah. We were brutally honest with ourselves. And we said, look, we, we don't think that we can, you know, five X's business from here, let's sell, let's go do something else. And so we ran a process, we hired a banker, we ran a process, we had a bunch of bids. And we ended up selling the business for a good price. And the folks that we sold the business to have done a terrific job with it in the past 10 years, and they've taken it to 17 countries around the world. Wow. Oh, now, I think I can say without reservation, I think it's the biggest sexual health testing business on the planet now, outside of the government's. It's like everywhere, based
Yoni Mazor 28:53
On the private sector. Yeah, that's pretty. You know, it's helping out it's helping people all over the world doing Better to Know, you know, it's better to know, absolutely. There's their state of health and take action on time and not, you know, drag things and stuff like that. Right themselves. So that's a good move. Alright. So there was a big liquidity event life-changing or doing that exit or was modest. What was a or just,
Yadin Shemmer 29:14
it was good. It wasn't great. It was like, you know, a double, I would say, but it was the whole thing was successful, because we had built you have to keep in mind, this was two we started in 2006. This was before digital health was even a word. Right? Now, if you look at digital health, it's the hottest segment, you know, there's maybe digital health, there's maybe crypto and there's cloud
Yoni Mazor 29:36
Yeah, remote health, the remote health with COVID just made everything on the virtual side. Yes, it has to be done because you can't even see people. Yeah, to happen. Yes, it exploded
Yadin Shemmer 29:46
In the whole sector of digital health and health, technology is now one of the hottest sectors in globally, certainly in America. Back then, you know, we were so early that it was it was much harder. And so it was a great experience. got me into healthcare. Did we sell it? Well, we then both moved back to the US independently. So moved back to the US. At that point, I'd been away, for now, a decade. And I wasn't sure
Yoni Mazor 30:12
So it was 2010, 11 when you move back.
Yadin Shemmer 30:14
It was 2011, 2012. Got it. I have been away for a decade. I wasn't sure if I should start something, or if I should join something. And because I'd been away for so long, I thought, why don't I just join something? And get going that way?
Yoni Mazor 30:33
I assume you settled back in New York City. Yeah,
Yadin Shemmer 30:35
I did. Yeah. Anyways, home base. My wife and I got married. By this point. I had my firstborn in England. And my wife and I wanted to be in New York. That was where our families were.
Yoni Mazor 30:48
So your wife is American, not English.
Yadin Shemmer 30:49
She's American yeah.
Yoni Mazor 30:50
Got it. Okay, nice.
Yadin Shemmer 30:52
So we moved back, and I joined the company, I got connected to a company called Everyday Health. And Everyday Health was a big success story in digital health broadly. And also a very big New York City digital health success story. Everyday health, not many people know of the Umbrella brand, everyday health, but everyone knows that the brands we managed. In a nutshell, everyday health is WebMD, his biggest competitor. So it's a very large digital publisher. First and foremost, it provides content to consumers, patients, and physicians in a broad array of disease states and categories. Has a very large online audience with both patients and physicians and then monetizes that audience with advertising and with direct to consumers self-pay.
Yoni Mazor 31:45
Also, let me get this straight because I have such a wide array of audience and in that category in the world of medicine. So anybody wants to launch new products like that, or they advertise on their platforms or their distribution centers?
Yadin Shemmer 31:59
Yeah, It's an online publisher. So we have websites of various kinds and reach patients and physicians, and anyone who wants to advertise to patients and physicians would come to us, or our competitors try to market
Yoni Mazor 32:13
So publication right in the space, and what's your role in the company? What was your mission?
Yadin Shemmer 32:18
So my role was I ran the consumer part of the business, I was president of the consumer side of the business, which was a big chunk of the business. And so I was responsible for growing our online audience and also growing our revenue and our P&L accordingly. And so that was my role there. And it was an awesome, it was an awesome experience. We have joined in 2013. We grew very quickly. In 2015. We took the company public on New York.
Yoni Mazor 32:49
So what did you do between 2011 2013 in New York when he landed back,
Yadin Shemmer 32:54
I had sold Everyday, I had sold Better to Know, in 2011. And I spent a couple of months, you know, in the UK, and then I moved back and got this job. It was It wasn't like a long time. It was a couple of months in between.
Yoni Mazor 33:07
Got it. Okay, so 2013 You're in and then 2015, you said you went public.
Yadin Shemmer 33:12
We took the company public. That's right on the New York Stock Exchange, and then spent the next two years or a year and a half. It's a public company. And a year and a half later, we sold it to another public company was called Ziff Davis, which was
Yoni Mazor 33:28
Zivff in ZIV.
Yadin Shemmer 33:31
ZIFF Davis as if there was yeah, it was a subsidiary of a public company called J2Global. And so the whole ride was fantastic and interesting in many ways and was really kind of step two for me in digital health.
Yoni Mazor 33:47
When it got bought out, delisted from the exchange.
Yadin Shemmer 33:52
The company itself, Everyday Health got delisted because we had been acquired by another public company. Got it, we got integrated into another public company. Gotcha. So an awesome ride on a very big platform with a very big stage in healthcare. We Everyday Health like I said, the brand itself is less well known, but the brands underneath are incredibly well known. So we had a big partnership with Mayo Clinic, where we operated in partnership with Mayo, all of their kind of patient-facing sites. So we operated the mayoclinic.org flagship site, they had something called the Mayo Clinic Diet, which we operated in partnership with then that was one of the big brands we had
Yoni Mazor 34:33
About Mayo Clinic. It sounds like a big name out there but not too. I'm not sure on the scope of it. So what's that talk about Mayo Clinic? Where's that based out of? What's your story a little bit? In a nutshell
Yadin Shemmer 34:42
Mayo Clinic is one of the premier medical institutions on the planet. I think many might consider it the best hospital on the planet. It's based in Rochester, Minnesota. And people travel from all over not only the US but the world to go seek treatment there. They have two I think satellite locations one in Florida and one in Arizona. But the main clinic, which has been around for a very long time is in Minnesota. And they're globally respected as a healthcare institution. And also have an interesting online presence. They have a website that if you go to Google, and you type in the kind of any medical term, they will typically rank top three for it.
Yoni Mazor 35:24
You got a few of these players, right, like big, you know, hospitals, or, you know, world-class organizations. Mayo was one of them. There's also the Cleveland Clinic, I believe. That's right. And then maybe John Hopkins, that's kind of the top three there are, there's a bunch of more names.
Yadin Shemmer 35:36
There's a lot of names in America, but those are big. Those are big names. And it depends a lot also on the area of healthcare that you're talking about. So, for example, if you're talking about cancer, there's Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City, and there's MD Anderson in Texas. So different, different medical institutions have different specialties that they're great at. Yep. Mayo is good at a lot of things.
Yoni Mazor 36:00
Got it. Okay, so they were the Okay, there were that was the house organization.
Yadin Shemmer 36:06
And we had a partner, every health had a partnership with them on the digital side of things with their digital assets. We have another big partnership with What to Expect and You're Expecting. So the author of the book, partnered with Everyday Health to effectively digitize the book. This was the book which anyone who's had kids will know this book. The book is, I think, the best-selling book in any category of all times in the New York Times. Yeah,
Yoni Mazor 36:32
yeah. What to Expect When expecting it to staple in houses, you know, any anyone having kids? That's, I think, has a pink cover if I'm not mistaken.
Yadin Shemmer 36:39
Yeah, that's right. And, you know, it will be when you're pregnant, you know, you're pregnant, someone will give it to you as a gift. Yeah. So everyone
Yoni Mazor 36:46
Take the Bible for you know, when you're expecting.
Yadin Shemmer 36:48
That's right. And so we at everyday health had a partnership with the author of the book. Her name is Heidi Murkoff and we digitize them but we created the website and the app that effectively digitize that book, and we had a big partnership with her. We also had a partnership at the time with South Beach Diet, which we were effectively the digital partners for this brand. And you can see a theme. So the theme was to find really well-known offline healthcare brands and become their digital partner. That was the DNA of everyday health.
Yoni Mazor 37:21
Yeah, it might be a little bit of what you do with the doctors where you give them access with you know, better to know it gives them access to digital space, you know, so you deliver that. So it's sending and doing here with all these offline establishments, you digitalize them and give them access to the online space. So it's right.
Yadin Shemmer 37:38
Yeah, that's exactly right.
Yoni Mazor 37:39
The repetitive theme on your end. Yeah.
Yadin Shemmer 37:41
Yeah. And it was it was a big business. I think we were doing close to $250 million of revenue when we sold the business at the end. So it was a great run. And after everyday health got sold. I got in touch with Kleiner Perkins, which was
Yoni Mazor 37:58
This year in 2017, this year
Yadin Shemmer 37:59
This is 2016, middle of 2016. got in touch with Kleiner Perkins, some big, well-respected venture capitalist on the West Coast.
Yoni Mazor 38:10
How do you spell that?
Yadin Shemmer 38:11
Kleiner k l e i n e r? Perkins, there's actually four names. It's Kleiner Perkins, Byers Caulfield is the full name of the firm
Yoni Mazor 38:21
Just want to make sure the Kleiner is with the K. And I want to see it because you might talk about it later. Yeah.
Yadin Shemmer 38:25
Okay. It's one of the better-known VCs, and they had a company called Mango Health, which they had invested in and they were looking to hire someone to come into the business and help Mango grow. And I decided to jump at it. And I did that from, late 2016. For the until 2019. Mango health was a medication management platform, it was mainly a mobile application to help patients manage their medications. Medication management is a huge issue in the US both just taking your medications on time and also making sure you're not taking two meds that might interact with each other the wrong way. Right. And so we had an application that helped patients do that. And then we worked with various players, pharma companies, and insurance companies to help them improve the health of their patients. And did that for three years, helped grow that business, and then sold the business in late 2019 to a company called Trial card. Trial card. Trial card t r i a l card. Got it. The trial card is a company that provides services to pharmaceutical companies around what's called Patient Support. So basically everything that happens after the prescription. Some pharma companies offer patients and doctors help with that and a trial card is a vendor to pharma to help them do that better.
Yoni Mazor 39:59
Got it. Okay, so 2019, You say, what was the next station?
Yadin Shemmer 40:03
Yeah. So the next station is where I'm at now, which is Intrinsic
Yoni Mazor 40:07
Well take us there
Yadin Shemmer 40:08
Yeah, so I had sold Mango Health, I then stayed on Mango for a year to help them
Yoni Mazor 40:15
At Mango, you just worked out why you didn't own it didn't have any equity stake in Mango.
Yadin Shemmer 40:20
I had equity in the company. But I wasn't the only owner. And like I said, I stayed on with Trial Card for about a year after I sold mango to help them integrate the business. And eventually started thinking about what I might do next. I left Trial Card in the end of 2019. And I got hooked up with a group in New York City called Redesign Health. And redesign health is a really interesting organization. They are what's called a Venture Studio. So they effectively build companies from scratch. They do the research, they put in the seed capital, they find the management teams, and they launch companies from the ground up. And I got connected to them. I really liked them, I thought they were really smart and ambitious. And we started talking about what we might do together. And we decided that it would make sense to build a healthcare-specific version of an Amazon aggregator.
The Amazon aggregation kind of model had been out there for a couple of years. There's a very well-known company out there called THRACIO, which many people heard of that pioneered the space. But most of the other folks that were in the space, were generalists. Very few, if any, at that time had actually focused on a category or a sector. And we as being healthcare people redesign health as a healthcare only venture studio, I had spent 15 years in healthcare, we thought to ourselves that, you know, we asked the question, would it make sense to build a healthcare-specific version of an Amazon aggregator, and after we did some research, we concluded it would make a lot of sense. And that's how Intrinsic was born. And that's where I am now.
Yoni Mazor 42:08
Nice. Okay, so talk to us, I guess, you know since you started around 2019. Till today, what's the dynamic? What's going on? What's the trajectory? What do you think this is all going? And in a nutshell.
Yadin Shemmer 42:20
When we started in 2021, Intrinsic. So intrinsic is very new, were officially six months old. You know, since we really started, but really, we're kind of three, four months old, if you look at when all the team joined. So things have moved incredibly quickly. Intrinsic is really like you said at the introduction, we're an acceleration platform for health care brands. We do that mainly through acquiring healthcare brands that sell on E-commerce channels, mostly Amazon, we acquire these brands, and then we help grow them and help them reach their potential. Our mission is to accelerate products and ideas that make a difference in people's lives. That's really the health care aspect of what we do, which is these products are actually improving the lives of the people who use them, and the families of the people who use them. That matters a lot to us. And a big reason why we're all here is to make a difference. And you know, in terms of trajectory, things are moving very fast, as I said. So we have hired an awesome team of folks both on the acquisition side, as well as the brand management and marketing side and supply chain side. We've got a team now of folks across all the key disciplines, we've raised a bunch of equity and debt capital to help us go acquire the brands that we want to buy and invest in the operations that was announced. I think six weeks ago, we announced a series of $113 million. So we've got a lot of money to go and find up-and-coming health and wellness brands. We've acquired three so far.
And we're really off and running. And I think we're very different than a lot of these other players out there. In that health and wellness is all we do. You know, we're not going to go buy outside of those categories. In that, we put together a team that comes from a health and wellness background. And so we've got health and wellness folks, e-commerce folks, brand builders, really purpose-built to go find and grow the next generation of health and wellness brands start on Amazon. And I think the other thing that makes us different is for us the sale and the purchase of one of these brands is only the beginning. Right? We don't want this to be the end for an entrepreneur. We're building this concept of an Intrinsic Studio, which is two things. It's a community of other founders and other folks in the ecosystem, plus a bunch of resources to help the founder who has just sold their business to us go do the next thing and go do it. Well. Then, we have an advantage, we think of ourselves as being like the ace in the hole for the next venture that a founder builds.
Yoni Mazor 45:06
So yeah, so that's why, first of all of the name, I think the one first things ever told you is I like the name, they Intrinsic artistic value, where, whereas you go in, and there's more layers of things to do, and to compound and grow from there. So that's what he's saying. So if you if phenomena, if I am an Amazon seller, I did well, in the Health and Beauty category. Basically, you know, I'm a good candidate to be purchased by Intrinsic, but once I do sell my brand, or my organization, my company, I dive into, and there's a whole community behind it.
Yadin Shemmer 45:36
There's a whole community behind it, not just of other sellers, like you that have sold their business to us, but of a whole host of folks that are in the Amazon ecosystem. Plus our team. And so that community is it's a private community, it's a closed community, but it gives you access to some very bright minds on how to build brands and scale Amazon businesses, and a whole bunch of resources to do it. We want to make your next venture faster and less riskier, is all we do.
Yoni Mazor 46:03
Basically, You are telling an entrepreneur, you sold a task you did great, why not you try this again, but now use our platform to try to do this again. And hopefully, if you do well, you might sell again, that's kind of the dynamic you expecting to keep pounding and relaunching brands internally with the right people like best in the industry, best, best, best of best of breed, they say,
Yadin Shemmer 46:19
Yeah, that's exactly right. And, you know, it comes from the reason we did this as it comes from a recognition of how hard these things are. It's, you know, it's not easy to build a brand from scratch. Amazon is a highly competitive place. I don't need to tell you, you know, more than most about this. And, you know, folks need a leg up and they need help. And especially in our category where the products we think can have such an impact on people's lives and their health. We want it to be that step up that ace in the hole for the founder doing their next thing.
Yoni Mazor 46:52
Wow, that's very unique, very special, and original. And wow, I think that's a great opportunity for entrepreneurs out there to consider. Okay, very good. So let me package everything sees if I got everything correctly. So far. Right. So born in Israel raised in New York. In 1998 already start working. Even though you started in Pennsylvania, you did a few internships in Israel with Vocal or what was the name Vocal Tech, Vocal Tech. You started they actually your professional career in Wall Street and then for about two years and then 2000 as the.com bubble burst, did you actually jumped into the mix, survive that you did about two years with the company, and then took a year off? And then you went to London Business School for a few years? And then for most of the decade, you stayed in London? Because you started a company with actually did two years with what was the first thing I think we did in London was before he started doing venture was the film fund. Yeah, Film fund, right? So we got to also you got to give us the top three movies in a moment, you're going to give us that I guess six years in the in funding movies, business industry, but then you 2006 you launch a Better to Know wildly successful and sold around 2011. Since then, the company acquired you guys penetrating to 17 territories and countries and became a world player and in sexual wellness. Okay, so 2011 2012, you head back to New York.
And then you get into the publication industry of the health industry all the way to 2015 you go public, and then it gets purchased again, 2017 by another public company, so you get delisted, and then you hit a Mango for 2016 until 2019. And then 2019, you kind of you know, you're in the evolution of what it is today Intrinsic because you're growing from a what they call a Venture Studio, which is something also very unique I never kind of heard of, but I think it's really really cool. You know, got venture capital, what if you create a studio that keeps on launching ventures, and as the best minds and the best people you know, for some niche or industry, I keep doing it, you know, you can probably gonna find more and more success compounding and that's why I got launched into Intrinsic which is, you know, make sense on the name level. Okay, so this is where we are today. We got everything correctly so far. Yep. I agree. Thank you so much for sharing. So Okay, three last things usually last for two last things but three last things.
The first thing is somebody wants to reach out and connect where can they find you top three movies. And the last thing we'll be is a really shortly. What is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Yadin Shemmer 49:26
So anyone who wants to find us this is it super easy just either hit us up on LinkedIn or just send us an email or go to our website? Those are the three main vehicles for finding us
Yoni Mazor 49:36
intrinsic.com or what's the name of the website
Yadin Shemmer 49:38
intrinsic.us Got it is the website and just drop us a line. We'd love to hear from you. If you're out there and you're in our space in terms of top three movies, man,
Yoni Mazor 49:50
that I know I know it's trendy but what you know what's gonna give you
Yadin Shemmer 49:53
I'm gonna give you three I'm not sure if they're the like my old-time but they're what's on my mind right now. So one is What is the movie called? Moneyball? You may have seen which I love
Yoni Mazor 50:03
that Brad Pitt really good. Yeah. Brad Pitt
Yadin Shemmer 50:05
outstanding movie. The other movies, a movie called The Contender, which much less, folks that was. That's what Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges. And it’s a
Yoni Mazor 50:17
I got to check that one out good. I'm doing this for myself. Mostly. Yeah. Good. Yeah.
Yadin Shemmer 50:20
Check out the movie. And it's awesome. And really not that well. No, I think it's the best political movie ever made. And then the third movie I'll give you is a movie called Nikita.
Yoni Mazor 50:33
Yeah, it's in the 90s I think. It’s the assassin right, Yeah, right.
Yadin Shemmer 50:37
Exactly a french movie. Those are three movies I love.
Yoni Mazor 50:41
Thank you for that. Alright, so the last thing will be a message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there.
Yadin Shemmer 50:46
So my message to entrepreneurs is your yes, I'm going to talk to entrepreneurs in our space or in the health and wellness space is, I know, it's not easy to build a brand and to build a company in our space. But the brands that you've built actually make a difference in people's lives. They have an impact we see day in and day out. And success is often 30 or 60 days away, even though it might seem very hard. Sometimes things can change on a dime. And so keep going keep building what you're building. And if at any point in time you decide that you need help, or you want to go do something else, just give us a call.
Yoni Mazor 51:22
I love it short and sweet. Okay, Yadin, thank you so much for sharing. I learned a lot. Had a good time with this. I hope everybody else also did stay safe, healthy, everybody. Until next time, Take care everybody.
Yadin Shemmer 51:31
Thanks. Thanks for having me on.