HealNow is the Technology That May Help Battle Amazon Pharmacy Dominance

December 10, 2020

HealNow, an onboarding and payments platform for pharmacies, has raised a $1.3 million round of funding from SoftBank Opportunity Fund and Alabama Futures Fund.  They are a NYC-based startup but have also announced that they are moving to Alabama.

Why is this interesting?  Because it gives the small fry pharmacies a fighting chance
Amazon recently splashed into the pharmacies market with the launch of Amazon Pharmacy.  If this story follows the familiar path they have taken in other spaces they entered, the independents should be sweating.  HealNow gives smaller pharmacies the technology tools to compete with Amazon and the bigger corporates. 

SaaS white label onboarding and payments solution
HealNow was started by Halston Prox and Joshua Smith who met as undergrads at the University of Texas.  The HealNow SaaS is made for pharmacies of all sizes and types but is especially attractive to independents, specialty and mail order pharmacies that probably don’t have an IT team to build their own system for online ordering and fulfillment.  HealNow’s system is meant to be white label – they don’t want to become an online pharmacy themselves.

“We’re embedded in their current workflows and pharmacies don’t have to do anything manual, even if they’re using a pharmacy management system,” said Prox.

The investors in the deal
AFF served as the lead investor on the round with participation from the recently launched SoftBank Opportunity Fund. The SoftBank Opportunity Fund is a $100 million venture fund dedicated to supporting and building a community of outstanding Black, Latinx, and Native American founders.

Independent pharmacies are on the rise
Interestingly, mom and pop pharmacies, the independents, are on the rise and not on the decline, according to data from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP)

Independent pharmacies still represent a significant portion of U.S. pharmacies.  None of the major chains has more stores than all independents combined.  The independents represented around 35% of all retail pharmacies and a $77.6-billion marketplace in 2017, according to B. Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association. 

The stage is being set for yet another David v. Goliath battle with Amazon, and this time, maybe David will have an even better slingshot.

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