Founder Focus: Numan
Eagle-eyed BALANCE readers that followed our OneLove content series in February may have discerned a focus on female pleasure. In this special Founder Focus, however, we caught up with Sokratis Papafloratos, the Founder of Numan, an online health clinic for men and one of the first of its kind in the UK to provide a solution for erectile dysfunction.
With a history of investing in Calm.com (the award-winning meditation app), Secret Escapes, Togethera and TrustedPlaces, Sokratis’ next move is to build Numan into a platform that offers a holistic approach to healthcare that goes far beyond ‘quick fix’ pills by helping men to address the root causes of ED.
We sat down with Sokratis to find out where Numan all began.
WHAT WAS YOUR EUREKA MOMENT?
It was a collection of moments. As great as the NHS is for serious, life-threatening primary care, every time I needed medical help or even advice, I either had to go through a number of steps and wait, or pay to see a private specialist.
As a result, I didn’t take care of myself as I should have done which, as it turns out, is very common amongst men.
WHAT WAS YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH?
Building the future of health and wellness for men. Democratising knowledge, tools and solutions that help them live happier and healthier lives.
HOW DID YOU KNOW NUMAN WOULD WORK?
We spoke to many people in depth before we built or designed anything at all.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE THINKING OF STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
To ask themselves why they want to start a business in the first place.
There are many other paths to finding purpose, make money or be creative – starting a business is not the easiest one or always the most rewarding.
I’d also invite them to think again about setting off on their own. I think sometimes it’s fine to do it alone if you can support yourself but if there is an element of risk to what you want to take on, it is better to have a partner.
DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS MENTOR?
I recently started working with a coach, which I’d highly recommend, and though I’m not a mentor, I am part of an extended support system with other fellow entrepreneurs.
WHAT IS THE BOOK YOU RECOMMEND EVERYONE READS?
That’s a tough one, but I’d have to say “Thinking, Fast & Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. It will change how you think about thinking, which is pretty important.
WHAT IS THE MOST WORTHILE INVESTMENT YOU HAVE MADE?
Firstly, investing money into Calm, I was lucky enough to be one of the first investors. Secondly, time and energy into myself and my relationships with my loved ones.
WHAT ONE FAILURE ARE YOU GLAD YOU EXPERIENCED?
I failed my postgraduate degree, which meant that I stayed in the UK for one more year to complete my course. I didn’t, but London became a true home, which I’m very glad and grateful for.
WHAT COMMON PIECE OF INDUSTRY ADVICE DO YOU OFTEN HEAR BUT DISAGREE WITH?
I don’t like how the “hustle” has become a glamorised, marketable commodity that people make money from.
That somehow if you just work hard enough, break the rules, ignore ethics, “blitzscale”, you’ll get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It ignores the realities of building a company and a business and it’s putting people mental health at risk.
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN B?
Become a farmer, or a fisherman, or both.