Josh LeVine and Oliver Walsh wanted to create a brand for men that wasn’t just targeting the “french male model on a motorbike.” So, to bolster inclusivity and diversity for men’s health, the duo built ASYSTEM, a startup which sells skincare and supplement products.
“No one is really building in an aspirational, modern, diverse and inclusive way, which is the way we feel that brands should be built,” Walsh said from the ASYSTEM beach house in Venice.
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The “betterment” startup offers a subscription-based daily vitamin supplement package for $75 a month and a 3-step skincare package for $45 a month. While ASYSTEM wants to “redefine men’s wellness” it’s hard to forget about the obvious, also venture-backed competition that has risen up recently.
A Crowded Space
Another company in the direct to consumer male wellness space is Hims, a San Francisco startup that works on men wellness and has raised $197 million in known venture capital to date, according to its Crunchbase profile.
LeVine said that Hims mainly focuses on Rogaine and Viagra through telemedicine. He pointed to two other brands, Roman, which sports “healthy hair starting at $0.53 a day” and Keeps, that also offers hair loss treatment and said they are not building products for “traditional” uses.
“When you build a proper brand, you put the sticker on your car,” he said. “I don’t know how many men would put a Hims sticker on their car; I’d wear an Asystems on a t-shirt.”
ASYSTEM’s “superhuman supplements” promise optimization in focus, stamina, energy, mood, and sex drive, according to a press release. As a WIRED story pointed out this year, the blurry line between pharmaceuticals and supplements can be vague and potentially dangerous.
That said, Walsh said ASYSTEM worked with a range of individuals—scientists and a qualified nutritionist—to formulate the line.
The skincare uses fruit stem cells, avocado oils, and other ingredients, LeVine said. The entrepreneur started another fruit-based skin care product almost 15 years ago, which made its way into hotels and business airlines and used grape extracts from vineyards.
Along with building new products, the company will use the new funding to build out its experiential hub. Two weeks ago, along with the launch, ASYSTEM had a party in its beach house on Venice beach in California. Roughly 50 men from all ages showed up for a dinner, a beach workout, and guided meditation.
Walsh says the biggest surprise was that everyone was able to stay quiet for more than 10 minutes. It’s proof, he says, that “dialogue and camaraderie can come from this.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias