On a trip to your local pharmacy, you’ll typically encounter long wait times, littered repetitive questions and inefficiency, resulting in an archaic experience that has not integrated technology. Capsule changes that. It has created the modern pharmacy that works for doctors, hospitals, insurers, manufacturers, and consumers by offering 2 hour delivery of medication with a focus on a consumer-centric approach, leveraging technology to optimize the experience for all parties.
AlleyWatch spoke with founder Eric Kinariwala about how its mission to create the best pharmaceutical experience possible, its plans for nationwide expansion, and its latest funding, which brings the total amount raised to $70M over two rounds for the startup founded in 2016.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
This round was a $50M Series B, led by Thrive Capital and Glade Brook Capital Partners.
Tell us about the product or service that Capsule offers.
Our vision is to provide you with the peace of mind that comes from having your healthcare looked after — the feeling of trust that you have when someone has anticipated your next question about insurance coverage, remembered a refill when you would have otherwise forgotten, called your doctor to verify an interaction, delivered your medication when and where you want it, or used a purpose-built technology platform to determine the best price for your prescription.
I grew up in suburban Detroit and started my career investing in retail, healthcare, and technology companies. In early 2015, I woke up with a throbbing headache that sent me to the pharmacy. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. That experience brought together the big structural shifts in the retail and healthcare industries that I’d explored as an investor. We set out with a blank sheet of paper to redesign one of the most archaic experiences and the most frequent interaction in healthcare — the pharmacy.
How is Capsule different?
We’ve designed every aspect of our product to give our customers and partners the peace of mind of being looked after. Our emotionally resonant customer experience builds trust and loyalty. Our proprietary technology supports the first pharmacy system that works for all of the stakeholders in healthcare — enabling customized outcomes for doctors, hospitals, insurers, and manufacturers. And our holistic pharmacy model meets the demands of the modern consumer.
What market does Capsule target and how big is it?
Our first market, New York City, is a $10B market. We are targeting the United States’ entire $450B prescription drug market and ultimately have global aspirations for the business.
What’s your business model?
At Capsule, we have obsessed over what it means to rebuild the pharmacy experience to meet the modern consumer’s rapidly evolving expectations, giving our customers the control over their healthcare that they have come to expect in every other part of their life. Our unique model provides access — in person, by phone, SMS, chat, or email — to the timeless warmth and expertise of a pharmacist who is using technology to view your full health record. And our trackable two-hour delivery windows eliminate all of the inefficiencies of both conventional mail order and traditional brick and mortar pharmacies. We have created a new, holistic pharmacy model that meets people exactly where they want to be.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Glade Brook Capital Partners joined this round alongside Thrive Capital, who has been our partner since day one. Glade Brook has an outstanding track record of being early to identify big ideas. We’re thrilled to be able to leverage their experience building global category-defining companies like Meituan, WeWork, and Airbnb. Our investors are excited by our emotionally resonant customer experience and our vision to build a pharmacy that works for everyone.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Focus on one thing at a time — it requires ruthless prioritization, but sequential execution is the best way to succeed. Spend time crafting your strategy so that it unfolds as your business progresses. The work you accomplish today makes tomorrow’s work easier and more impactful.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We continue to see large windows of opportunity to redesign the pharmacy experience and to look after our customers, our doctors, and our partners across the healthcare system. We are energized by our rapid growth in New York and are excited to double down on our business here, while also bringing our model nationwide.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Sid Gold’s Request Room on 26th Street — right between our pharmacy and our office.