Entrepreneur of the Week: Eric Kinariwala, Capsule
Capsule offers a new model of pharmacy care, currently only in New York City, which provides integrated medication adherence information to the full care team, payers and caregivers and also includes medication delivery.
We spoke to founder and CEO, Eric Kinariwala, about Capsule and the opportunity he sees in the 50+ market.
Longevity Network: What does Capsule, the company, do?
Eric Kinariwala: Capsule is a healthcare technology business with a mission to reconnect medication to the healthcare system. We are rebuilding the pharmacy from the inside out – the things you see and the things you don’t see.
LN: Can you tell us about your product and how it works?
EK: Capsule sets a new standard for how people interact with their healthcare. Capsule works directly with doctors and insurers to manage copays and refills and to ensure your medication is there when you need it. We designed Capsule to ensure that switching to Capsule is a seamless experience for consumers. You can transfer your current prescription by visiting the website or downloading our app and entering your current prescription information. You can also start using Capsule by telling your doctor to e-prescribe Capsule at your next visit without signing up or creating an account first. We deliver anywhere in NYC in two hours or less, so all you have to do is pick your two-hour delivery window and your prescription will be delivered right to your door via our bike couriers.
LN: What opportunity did you see that you wanted to address with the creation of your product?
EK: I was inspired to create Capsule after realizing that against the backdrop of value-based care, rapidly evolving consumer preferences and increasingly sophisticated therapies and medications, the pharmacy had not changed in decades. After a poor experience of my own waiting at a local chain pharmacy, listening to customers ahead of me speak to the pharmacist about personal details regarding their various ailments and waiting in line for more than an hour, I ultimately was turned away without my medication and forced to return when my prescription was back in stock. At the time, I worked as an investor in retail and health companies and realized that the current pharmacy system was disconnected from medication. After recounting the experience with my friend Sonia Patel, our Chief Pharmacist, we started to conceptualize the idea of what a modern pharmacy should look like. We wanted to create a simple and seamless experience that worked for everyone across the healthcare system.
LN: Who are your primary users? How will your product benefit the 50+ population?
EK: We are focused on building trusted relationships with all of the people who use our service, no matter their age. About 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug and half take two or more according to a Mayo Clinic 2013 study. Better tools for adherence are needed, especially for those taking multiple medications like the 50+ population. Capsule coordinates with doctors and insurers to provide smart refills and adherence reports, providing insight into what is happening after medication is prescribed.
LN: How did you assemble your team?
EK: Capsule is built on the strength of our pharmaceutical and technology experts. The entire team is diverse in both background and skill set, featuring some of the best in the tech and healthcare space working together to develop the platform and provide the care that everyone deserves from their pharmacy.
LN: How has what happened with your company differed from what you envisioned would happen?
EK: We were truly blown away by the response from our physician network — NYC doctors who are passionate about creating better experiences for their patients and harnessing technology to modernize medicine. Having launched just over a year ago, the feedback we have received from all parties in the healthcare system has been overwhelming. Hearing the stories from those who have used Capsule about how it has made their live better professionally or personally is what fuels our team each and every day.
LN: What do you wish you had known before developing your product?
EK: How difficult it is to balance priorities while building a pharmacy system that works for everyone — consumers, doctors, hospitals, insurers and manufacturers . The role of medication is changing rapidly and Capsule is constantly improving to stay at the forefront of technology in order to provide better care and create real-time feedback loops with our partners.
LN: What most excites you about the aging/health technology market?
EK: According to the National Institute of Health, people 65 years and older comprise only 13 percent of the population, yet account for more than one-third of total outpatient spending on prescription medications in the United States. This is a huge part of the market, so we wanted to make sure we developed easy-to-use and intuitive technology to make the pharmacy experience simple for everyone. Whether it be delivering medication to your door, coordinating automatic refills or being available to chat through text, call or the app, Capsule is all about looking after others. Being able to do that for years to come is what excites me.
LN: What is your best piece of advice for startups who want to include or target the aging / tech market?
EK: There’s a stigma that technology doesn’t appeal to older age demographics and we believe that is not true. I encourage startups to explore this market and to consider their needs in the early stages of production. There’s no reason why an audience as large as this one should be ignored and we think about the challenges as opportunities.
LN: Where do you see your company five years from now?
EK: We see a future where healthcare is connected, with pharmacies and medication on the frontline. Capsule is building the first holistic pharmacy system that works for everyone — the technology platform for consumers, doctors, hospitals, insurers, and manufacturers to exchange information about medication in real time feedback loops.
LN: What health or wellness technology do you hope exists by the time you retire?
EK: Better and transparent access to information. I look forward to a world where patients can access their medical information, securely, in order to share with their doctors and progress their own care. We have seen this develop even over the past few years through innovations and regulations around electronic health records but there are still many gaps to fill in terms of connectivity between healthcare providers and those receiving care. When that gap is filled, companies like ours will be able to deliver better outcomes to all parties in the healthcare system faster than ever before.
LN: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
EK: Everyone deserves a better pharmacy experience and we look forward to making that a reality in the years to come.
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