Based in berlin Mayd has spied on an opportunity to build a drug delivery platform in Europe that partners with the small-scale pharmacies that tend to be the norm on the continent, capitulating on how the pandemic has generally accelerated demand for on-demand delivery.
The startup, which was only founded earlier this year, has raised € 13 million ($ 15 million) in seed funding from 468 Capital, Earlybird and Target Global to develop its vision of delivering drugs to Europeans’ doorsteps quickly. , in 30 minutes if ordered before noon (or the next day, at a selected time from 8 am).
Regulatory restrictions and fragmentation across Europe, with a patchwork of country rules surrounding prescriptions, may explain why this use case has yet to be crafted by a handful of pharmacy or platform giants.
The drug delivery landscape in Europe is very different from that in the US, according to Mayd co-founder Lukas Pieczonka, who notes that a patchwork of rules can be applied in different countries in Europe, including (still) some limitations. in electronic prescriptions.
“Most of the American companies are pharmacies. Therefore, they have a pharmacy license for each state or for a selected number of states and function as a pharmacy. For us it is not true, we are a platform for pharmacies and for consumers ”, he says. “We will not be a pharmacy. We will work very closely with our partners, but we are not a pharmacy. I think this is the biggest difference. “
In Germany, where Mayd is starting out, the country is in the process of preparing for an electronic prescribing system to launch in January, as part of broader moves to digitize healthcare services (such as bringing in electronic patient records).
Such country regulations likely explain (in part) the substantial size of Mayd’s seed production, along with the usual recruiting and technological challenges of scaling an urban logistics applications business.
“In Germany there is a different situation where drugs can be administered. Ultimately, the pharmacist needs to control the delivery process, which is slightly different from the typical delivery model, ”says Pieczonka. “We create an infrastructure where [the pharmacist] you can really control what kind of rider is delivering now what to whom … If the pharmacist, for example, puts the wrong drug in the bag or something, they should always be able to stop the delivery.
“Second, there are a lot of regulatory elements that you have to implement in your market as well … so it’s not like you can just add them if it’s a food delivery service or any delivery. You really need to focus on the specific segment to also have the credibility of the pharmacies. “
Starting next year, Germans will be able to obtain a digital prescription from their doctor that they can send to a pharmacy to fill, with reimbursement of the associated health insurance claim.
Delivering electronic prescriptions also means integrating with a specific pharmaceutical infrastructure, which in Germany will involve the use of QR codes.
So again, it’s not just another product that can be hung in an acting food delivery driver’s backpack.
That said, European regulations haven’t completely blocked the launch of such a model before, according to Pieczonka. But he argues that the time is now, with the increasing digitization of healthcare services and people in the region much more open to app-based delivery and convenience than they might have been before the pandemic.
“In general, we could have made this model two years ago. Actually, this was also the first thing we asked ourselves why there is no one who does it in Germany, or probably in France or other large European countries. And we didn’t really find an answer. But what we discovered on our way is that there are some regulatory adjustments for each country that you must first break until you can actually operate, ”he suggests.
“When we look at different topics (groceries, food delivery, drinks), you see that almost everything is delivered instantly. But something you really need if you’re sick and you don’t really want to go out is medicine, so this is something we said about, hey, this really makes sense. “
It is worth noting that there are a number of telehealth platforms operating private services in Europe that can deliver prescription drugs directly and quickly after a virtual consultation with a doctor, such as Kry from Sweden.
But again, Mayd argues that there is room for various models to bring drugs to Europeans’ doorsteps.
“You will see different approaches: one solution is to simply send your prescription to a pharmacy so you can pick it up, the other tells you which pharmacy is likely to have it in stock, the other tells you where you are likely to get the cheapest price for you product. But all these are unique solutions and we believe that it is necessary to integrate them ”, says Pieczonka.
Mayd is preparing for Germany to change e-prescription reimbursement next year by launching a service now, prior to that change, which means it is initially limited to delivering only non-prescription items from partner pharmacies.
So, starting today, Berlin residents can kick the tires of their delivery service to get over-the-counter products like band-aids or baby formula delivered to their doorstep.
And while there are on-demand delivery platforms in some European markets that could quickly deliver the same type of products (without a prescription) that you could buy in a pharmacy (Spain’s Glovo, for example, promotes itself as an application of ` “ delivery of anything ”). Mayd argues that there is room for a specialized platform for pharmacies given the complex and variable requirements around prescribing.
Starting in January, Mayd will be able to take orders for prescription items, linking patients to the pharmacies that will process their prescriptions; pack your medications for delivery (this is done by your delivery staff on an electric bike or scooter that is no concert workers but employed full time); and provide advice to the patient, either through a phone call or in the form of text through its application according to the patient’s preferences.
No prescriptions will be issued before the patient receives advice from pharmacists on how to take the drug and possible side effects, according to Pieczonka.
Mayd’s Delivery Service It’s starting in the German capital, where it says it has most of the city covered by partner pharmacies (it has around 30 so far), but needs to add more to get to the outskirts of Berlin.
Pieczonka also says that Mayd will also expand the service. to other cities in Germany this year, promoting a € 60 billion addressable market across the country.
ThatHowever, its ambitions do not stop there, as it aims for broader European expansion. No decisions have yet been made on which other regional markets to target, but Pieczonka seems confident that the model can scale.
“Our first focus is on Germany because it is the largest market in Europe and if we solve it, we can also go to other countries. In the end, you also see a bigger trend of everyone getting their stuff, so there is no reason why people in Spain, Italy or France or wherever they shouldn’t get. [medicines] delivered ”, he adds.
Mayd’s business model in Germany is to charge a commission from pharmacies for the sales of any over-the-counter items you send to them, and a shipping fee (or listing platform fee) for fulfilling e-prescription deliveries.