Echo, the start-up in the UK that offers an app to help you manage your medications and order repeat prescriptions for delivery, raised $ 7 million in Series A funding. Tour is led by White Star Capital, with the participation of MMC Ventures, LocalGlobe, and Global Founders Capital of Rocket Internet.
Notably, Public.io, the accelerator and the investment vehicle founded by Alexander de Carvalho and former government adviser Daniel Korski to support start-ups that transform the public sector , also invested. It brings the total funding of Echo to 8.8 million pounds sterling and follows a round of 1.8 million pounds in 2016.
Founded by Sai Lakshmi, who previously worked at biz dev for Apple, and Stephen Bourke, who was previously in charge of Lloyds Pharmacy's online doctor service, the Echo app for iOS and Android allows you to order NHS prescriptions and receive your medications at your door. You simply indicate to the application the name of your GP and the medications you are taking, which you can enter using the camera of your phone and with the help of Echo's NLP technology.
From then on, the application warns you when you need to take your medicine and when you run out of energy. When a new prescription is required, Echo will notify you and, under your instruction, send the appropriate request to your physician and appoint a pharmaceutical partner on your behalf. Once approved by your GP, your medicine is shipped by second class mail and you pay the standard NHS fee, if applicable.
All this is made possible by the way the echo has been deeply integrated with the NHS Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), which means that it works with NHS England GP systems and technology existing and does not require additional work. part. The idea is to make medication management, especially for people with chronic diseases and to take medication regularly, as simple as possible.
According to the detailed Echo demo that I gave Lakshmi and Bourke a few weeks ago, it is also clear that the details of the application have made it possible. subject of special attention. one who tries to improve the quality of life of people on long-term medication.
Rather than thinking of Echo as merely useful in the Uber sense of the word for people who do not like to visit the doctor or the local pharmacy – what it does – the application has also the potential to eliminate the stress and anxiety associated with the possibility of missing or forgetting to take your medications. Even though the first few days, it has been shown that Echo improves compliance.
The latter is potentially quite important; I am told that the NHS spends nearly 18 billion pounds a year on drugs, but it is estimated that between one-third and one-half of all medications prescribed for long-term conditions are not taken as recommended. This has direct cost implications in terms of rejection of unused drugs, but also indirectly because a lack of compliance can lead to unnecessary hospital stays or other more expensive treatments.
In a call, Christian Hernandez of White Star Capital, who joins Echo's board of directors, said the US start-up was an attractive investment in different ways. Just thought of as an ecommerce piece – which, in many ways, taking a reduction of partner pharmacies by order – the company's offer has the value of the customer's life cooked in.
People on long-term medication are going to be pretty sticky once enrolled in the application, of which 50,000 have, and are the customers of Echo to lose. As long as the startup remains firmly focused on customer service and can offer a superior experience to competing online pharmacies, he thinks the company can take a decent share of what is a big market.
In 2016, 1.1 billion prescription items were distributed by the NHS in England, while there would be 15 million patients in England with a long-term condition.
Beyond e-commerce, Hernandez sees other potential sources of revenue, such as offering data to the pharmaceutical industry to better manage the supply chain, but insists that the impact of Echo goes well beyond its commercial opportunities. Specifically, he talked about the health benefits of patients, cost savings for the NHS with regard to drug wastage and increased adherence, and for GP surgeries that can further reduce the costs of drugs. 39; administration.
In other words, Echo could actually be an example of a Silicon Valley-style startup that truly creates more value than it does in capture.