Mark Cuban speaking into a microphone
Gage Skidmore via Flickr

The Story Behind Mark Cuban’s Low-Cost Drug Company Is a Great Reminder That a Cold Email Can Change Your Life

Jessica Stillman
3 min readSep 20, 2022

“One of the best-kept secrets in the startup world is that you can access almost anyone you want to with a great cold email. Most CEOs and VCs personally read every well-formed email they get, even if they don’t know the sender,” tech CEO Auren Hoffman has opined on his blog.

To which many aspiring entrepreneurs without impressive connections or superhuman levels of self-confidence will probably reply — yeah, right.

Sending missives into the void can feel like a colossal waste of time or an invitation to embarrass yourself in front of your icons. But Hoffman isn’t alone in insisting that a well-written cold email can be the difference between toiling in obscurity and making a true impact. So how do you work up the courage to start sending them?

Encouragement from Hoffman and others isn’t a bad place to start, but sometimes the best way to convince yourself that something can be done is by hearing a story of someone who has already successfully done it. Which is why every aspiring entrepreneur who’s agonized over hitting the send button should check out the backstory of Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company.

So you think cold emails to bigwigs never get answered …

My colleague Jeff Haden has previously covered the innovative and much-needed idea behind the business. Basically, Cuban’s company promises to offer prescription drugs at way lower prices, saving Americans from the predations of drug companies.

It’s a great idea, but it didn’t originate with Cuban. It originated with a cold email from a doctor named Alex Oshmyansky. Industry publication Becker’s Hospital Review explains how Cuban’s latest venture got started when an email arrived in his inbox with the no-frills subject line “Cold email.”

“I asked him a simple question, because this was when the whole pharma bro thing was going down,” Oshmyansky recalls, referring to the infamous felon and pharma CEO Martin Shkreli. “I was like, ‘Look, if this guy can jack up the prices 750 percent for lifesaving medicines, can we go the opposite direction? Can we cut the pricing? Are there inefficiencies…

Jessica Stillman

Top columnist/ Editor/ Ghostwriter. Book lover. Travel fiend. Nap enthusiast.