Start-up delivers Viagra to your door

A new start-up wants to make getting your hands on Viagra a whole lot easier.

"We handle everything from online diagnosis to the convenient delivery of medication for erectile dysfunction, a condition experienced by over 30 million men," says 26-year-old Zachariah Reitano, co-founder and CEO of Roman. "I was one of them."

Roman

When Reitano was 17 years old he experienced erectile dysfunction. Instead of hiding his condition out of embarrassment, Reitano consulted his physician father, and discovered it was the first sign of a serious underlying heart condition.

"Fortunately I had a dad — who is a doctor and expert in sexual health — I could speak to and confide in," says Reitano. "I wanted to provide that experience for other guys."

His solution is Roman: an end-to-end service for men's health. For $15, patients complete a five-minute online questionnaire about their medical history. U.S. licensed physicians then review each treatment request and if appropriate, write a prescription. Finally, the Roman Pharmacy Network will ship Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, or a less expensive generic to your home for free, and even set up automatic refills.

Roman

Reitano likens an erection to a car's "check engine" light. Erectile dysfunction can be the first sign of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. But the majority of men who experience ED do not seek treatment, according to the American Urological Association. Reitano hopes his start-up will help to destigmatize the condition and lead more men to start talking about their health.

"What happens, as a result of the stigma attached to ED, is that men wait until less embarrassing and more serious symptoms reveal themselves," says Reitano. "They wait until things get worse."

Attempts to bypass a doctor and buy medication on the Internet can also have potentially dangerous consequences. About 80 percentof Viagra sold online is counterfeit, according to a study by Pfizer. Reitano hopes that by providing a fast and simple alternative — with medication purchased exclusively from accredited manufacturers—men will avoid purchasing fake drugs.

Roman

"Our mission is to provide the most seamless and affordable way for men to receive treatment, and to start them on the path of identifying the root cause and improving their overall health," says Reitano.

Reitano says Roman's target customer is a 25 to 45-year-old man. The start-up's digital marketing campaign reflects this; Roman's social media accounts are filled with gifs, memes, and a commercial that pokes fun at the traditional ED drug ads featuring gray-haired men throwing footballs or taking baths.

But Reitano says the start-up's digitization of diagnosis and delivery does not seem to deter older men from signing up as well.

"People in their 40s, 50s, 60s are very comfortable going through it," says Reitano. "We've seen great success so far."

Roman

Headquartered in New York City, Roman launched in October 2017 and has raised $3.1 million in funding to date. The business is currently operational in 17 states.

While Reitano hopes to one day expand Roman to include other treatment categories, he says he does not fear competition from larger firms such as Amazon.

"We can provide an unrivaled experience if we own and focus on the specific conditions: ED, cholesterol, things like that," says Reitano. "If you are the everything store, you can't provide that similar experience."

So far, both Roman's business model, and its mission to encourage men to talk about ED seem to be working.

"In our first two months since launch, we've far exceeded our 12-month goals through digital acquisition," says Reitano. "And, surprisingly, word of mouth."

--Comments, questions, suggestions? We'd love to hear from you. Follow us @CNBCPowerPitch and join the #PowerPitchconversation