Oscar Adelman, Co-Founder and CEO
Oscar is the co-founder of Remi, a direct-to-consumer sleep and wellness brand based in San Francisco. Prior to starting Remi, Oscar worked at venture capital firm Sinai Ventures, a $100m fund focused where he focused on early stage consumer investments. Previously, Oscar worked at BMW’s VC arm on mobility, autonomous driving, and marketplace investments. Oscar is a graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business and is on the board of the Emerging Venture Capitalist Association.
Yana Yasevich, Co-Founder and Head of Product
Yana is the co-founder of Remi, a direct-to-consumer sleep and wellness brand based in San Francisco. Prior to starting Remi, Yana worked in New York in Estée Lauder’s e-commerce arm, leading teams of engineers to support the portfolio’s global online businesses. Yana is passionate about product development, women in leadership, and how people are really at the core of everything.
1. What is Remi?
Remi is a direct to consumer sleep and wellness company based in San Francisco. We’re a team of former VCs, Founders, and Product all-stars from the likes of Estée Lauder, and is backed by Tier 1 VC fund Foundation Capital. Our first product is a custom night guard sold directly to consumers via an at-home impression process. In the US, where between 1/3 and 1/5 of adults suffer from teeth grinding, we provide a high-quality custom solution between the one size fits all over-the-counter guards and $500-800 custom guards sold by dentists. We utilize an advanced production process, making night guards thinner and more comfortable, and an innovative business model that sells on a subscription or single purchase basis, allowing for a sustainable and scalable revenue model. We also launched custom teeth whitening kits and have a product roadmap that continues our mission of unlocking the best in our customers with effective products and exceptional services that soothe, restore, and revitalize.
2. How did you come up with Remi?
Remi was born out of a real pain point of ours. Both Yana and I have been grinding our teeth for the better part of a decade. Like most teeth grinders, we’ve tried it all – we’ve tried multiple one-size-fits-none solutions from the drug store and we’ve had multiple night guards made custom at the dentist office and have paid $500+ (I once paid $950 at a dental office in New York..) Back in November 2019 I had lost my fifth or sixth custom night guard. I know I sound careless, but it’s so easy to lose this little piece of transparent plastic when traveling or just living a busy lifestyle. I started thinking about how much money I had spent over the last few years on these little pieces of plastic. I thought about how gross they get. I thought about what a pain it is to make the dentist appointment, go to the office, get the impressions done – which always took less than 5 minutes despite waiting in the reception room for 20 minutes filling out paperwork – and then having to drive back two or three weeks later to pick it up. It was one of those “there has to be a better way” moments. I started looking into the space, found the outsourced labs the dental offices all used were marking this piece of plastic up 200% and then the dental offices were marking it up another 400%. I called Yana, we spoke for hours on the phone every day for a week figuring out how we could do this better, and the rest is history.
3. Can Remi work alongside Dentists or is this an alternative?
We have a handful of dentists who recommend Remi to their patients rather than a drug store one-size-fits-none guard when the patient can’t/won’t pay $500 for it at the dental office. Every day we have more dentists who come to us realizing this is a better option for most of their patients, even if it’s not a better option for the bottom line of their dental practice. We love working with these dentists because they’re truly putting their patients above profits. That said, the majority of dentists see us as a threat to a 400% marked-up product they can outsource and knock out in 5 minutes, so it’s unlikely you’ll find us in every dentist’s reception room one day. At the end of the day we are an alternative that wins not just because our product is significantly more affordable, but also because our customers never have to leave the comfort of their home, can get an automatic replacement every 6 months (so important with how smelly and gross these can get), and always a thinner and more comfortable product than what dental offices offer because we use the latest technology and a subscription business model. While the difference between 1mm and 3mm may seem small, it makes a huge difference in your mouth as you’re trying to fall asleep.
4. Oscar, why did you choose to move from Venture Capital to working on your own startup?
VC gave me an incredible toolset to go into this business. I know what metrics to focus on. I know what investors are looking for. I know how to speak the VC language. I also had the privilege of working with 80 portfolio companies and seeing what traits/skills/strategy the successful founders employed and the less successful ones missed. I had a great data set to study from. Remi is chapter two of my career. Who knows what chapters three, four, and five hold, but I know that if the focus is on learning, then building a company and investing in companies are some of the most powerful things you can spend your time on.
5. Yana, what skills from being a Technical Product Owner at Estée Lauder have helped you in your journey with Remi?
Interestingly, I have thought about this question a lot since starting Remi, because slightly unexpectedly, the transferability of technical skills, mental frameworks, and general approaches has been very high. Through my experiences managing teams of engineers and balancing technical capabilities with stakeholder priorities, I have learned how to quickly and effectively prioritize and reprioritize, sometimes on a daily basis. I have learned how to break down a high-level goal into tangible and achievable tasks, skills especially valuable when you’re starting a company and there are a million things to do at once. Overall, I think my previous experiences actually prepared me really well to take on the both tremendously exciting and absolutely mammoth task of starting a company, and I continue to pull on those learnings every day.
6. What is the future for Remi?
We have some exciting products up our sleeves – but without giving away too much now we can say that night guards and whitening kits are only the first step for us. We’re thrilled to be receiving such overwhelmingly positive feedback from these two product lines, but plan to continue perfecting the process and experience in the short term. We want to make sure everyone can get a good night’s sleep and feel their best.
7. What advice would you give to young budding entrepreneurs?
There’s never going to be a perfect time to leave what you’re doing and start a company. It may seem that the more experience you have and larger your financial cushion is, the easier it will be – and therefore you should “wait a few years” – but having watched older and smarter people around me fall into this trap, I knew I did not want to do the same. You’ll always need more. Sometimes, having less helps you take bigger risks and run faster. Frankly, having limited financial and family obligations means working more – which is crucial in the beginning stages of building a company since you’ll have a thousand things to do and only time for a few each day. If you have an idea, go start exploring it – today.
We would like to thank Oscar and Yana for speaking with us.