It looks like Shopify has become an inspiration for all sorts of things, including pharma business. Or, to put it differently, “Shopify it” has basically become a new word.
If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out today’s news: a health-tech Toronto based startup named Locke Bio is currently trying to become the Shopify for pharma (their own words) by building a Shopify-like platform in order to allow US and Canada based businesses to launch DTC (direct to consumer) pharma brands and digital health, provided such thing even exists.
If by digital health they mean household robots taking care of “health” stuff, sign me in! Seriously now, Locke Bio is led by Cathy Tie, and its business model revolves around the concept of healthcare meets e-commerce.
Here’s where Shopify’s business model comes into play, most probably.
The startup managed to secure solid funding from big names like Origins Pharmacy, Metro Drugs, Mapleview Medical Pharmacy, 10xCapital, IKJ Capital, and Empros Capita, and its recently released platform will allow businesses to start online pharma brands and telehealth in a matter of weeks instead of months, and at a more reasonable cost.
Basically, they are imitating Shopify’s business model, especially the part about opening an online store being made “boomer-tech friendly”:
“Despite the popularity and massive growth of healthcare DTC opportunities, each DTC brand still has to build most of their infrastructure from scratch. This includes customized web applications, condition-specific patient intake forms, payment processing, and partnerships with supply chain partners.”
dixit Cathy Tie in a recent interview.
“Just as the democratization of tools to set up e-commerce stores became widely popular to consumers and enterprises alike, we think that now is the right time to democratize these tools for the healthcare industry”
The pharma-tech startup is looking to reach (or already has, it’s not clear yet) over $1 million in annual recurring revenue, and it’s open to all businesses trying to launch their own direct to customer online pharmacy brand or telehealth. The platform takes care of everything ranging from e-commerce payments to video/phone consultations, intake forms, medication packaging or prescription dispensing, while allowing companies to receive payments via its integrated payment system and providing customers with access to analytics.
“What would normally take companies millions of dollars and nine to 12 months to build is ready now. It’s literally as easy as setting up a Shopify store, in fact, we like to think of ourselves as the Shopify for pharma.”