Capsule Founder Eric Kinariwala Discusses The Origins Of The Digital Pharmacy And The Recent LA Expansion
Founder and CEO of Capsule, Eric Kinariwala, has been on a mission to innovate the pharmacy experience after having his own struggles with them in the past. Capsule, the nation’s largest digital pharmacy provides tools for users to manage their medications and currently serves several major cities: New York, Twin Cities, Austin and more. The also recently launched the Los Angeles area. Ultimately, Eric wants to continue innovating in the healthcare space to make it more accessible for those who are in need.
In our Q&A below Eric Kinariwala details what led him to start the company and more. Take a look!
Q: How did the idea for Capsule come about?
I started Capsule coming out of what I thought was the world’s worst trip to the drugstore, where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. For me, that was trying to get a Z-Pak that my doctor had called in. After walking past aisles of candy bars and cigarettes, I finally found the pharmacy — it was in this dark, dingy basement — and there were 40 people in line ahead of me. After waiting for an hour, the pharmacist told me they were out of stock! I went home without my medication, and the next morning, I started to learn about how pharmacies work and how the experience could be so terrible. I quickly learned that my experience was not uncommon and set out to solve the familiar frustrations of the pharmacy by building a better way for people to get and manage their medications.
Q: What was the hardest part about getting the project off the ground?
The pharmacy is complicated, and making something simple, easy, and delightful is hard. We built our own pharmacy from scratch, including all of the software that powers the pharmacy, as well as an amazing team to put everything you’d ever want from a pharmacy in your phone — the ability to chat or text with a pharmacist, seeing the price of your medications before you get them, making sure your medications are always in-stock, details about medications and refills and side effects, and free same-day delivery. Bringing it all together, so you never have to worry about your medications, was hard. We’ve done an amazing job and people love using Capsule.
Q: Are there specific goals you hope to meet by expanding to Los Angeles?
We hope everyone in LA has the chance to experience Capsule, and the peace of mind that comes from having your healthcare and medications looked after by our team.
Q: Where do you see the company heading in the future?
We’re excited to continue bringing Capsule’s simple, delightful experience to Americans everywhere. Everyone deserves a better way to get and manage their medications.
Q: Are there other elements of healthcare that you feel still need to be improved?
Before I started Capsule, I had a lot of conversations with others in the healthcare ecosystem – from the doctors who interact with the pharmacy dozens of times each day, to the drugmakers that develop medications, to the insurers that pay for them, to the hospital systems responsible for the health outcomes of their patients – and I began to hear a consistent theme: the way the conventional pharmacy was set up wasn’t working for anyone. That’s why we built Capsule — to build a pharmacy that works for everyone.
We did that by developing an end-to-end technology platform that enables us to partner across the healthcare ecosystem, which allows doctors, insurers, drugmakers, insurers, and hospitals to drive personalized healthcare outcomes for patients. We’ve streamlined communication between doctors and pharmacists to better ensure that customers are getting the right medications quickly and effortlessly. We’ve also empowered doctors to have real-time visibility on their patients’ treatment plans, which reduces friction and costs and increases access and adherence. That creates value for everyone in the healthcare ecosystem.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you have for others working on a startup?
I would say to make sure your heart and your head are aligned as you work on your start-up. Your heart — that’s your passion — your belief that the world should be a better, different place based on the product you’re creating. The source of energy during the inevitable ups and downs on the journey. Your head — that’s knowing how you’re going to build a business — the industry, market, the financials, the economics. If you have one without the other, it’s difficult to persist over long periods of time. If you have both, you’re in a magical place.