Berlin based Maidow has seen an opportunity in Europe to build a drug delivery platform, partnering with small-scale pharmacies that are the norm on the continent, capitalizing on what the pandemic has typically driven the demand for on-demand delivery. How to accelerate.
The startup, which was only founded earlier this year, has received €13 million ($15M) in seed funding from 468 Capital, Earlybird and Target Global to support its vision of getting meds to Europeans’ doorsteps faster. Can be manufactured – within 30 minutes if they are ordered before noon (or the next day, at selected slots starting at 8am).
Regulatory restrictions and fragmentation across Europe, coupled with a patchwork of per-country regulations around prescriptions, may explain why this use-case isn’t already cobbled together by a handful of pharmacies or platform giants.
The picture for drug delivery in Europe is very different than in the US, per Mayday co-founder Lucas Piezonca, who notes that a patchwork of regulations may apply to different countries in Europe – including (still) on e-prescription. There are some limitations involved.
“Most US companies are those pharmacies. So they have pharmacy licenses for every state or for a select few states and they are operating as a pharmacy. That’s not true for us – we are pharmacies and A platform for consumers,” he says. “We will not be a pharmacy. We will work very strictly with our partners but we are not a pharmacy. I think that’s the biggest difference.”
In Germany, where Mayday is starting out, the country is in the process of gearing up for an e-prescription system, which is due to go live in January – as part of broader steps to digitize health services (such as electronic by bringing in the patient record) )
Such per-country regulations likely (partially) explain the meaty size of Meyed’s seed growth, along with the general technology and recruitment challenges of growing an urban logistics app business.
“There is a different situation in Germany which medicine can deliver. Ultimately the pharmacist needs to have control over the delivery process that is slightly different from the typical delivery model,” notes Piezonca. “We set up an infrastructure where [the pharmacist] Can control exactly what kind of rider is delivering what to whom now… if the pharmacist, for example, puts the wrong medicine in the bag or something like that you should always be able to stop the delivery.
“The other thing is you have a lot of regulatory stuff in your market that you need to implement… you really need to focus on the specific segment to maintain credibility even for pharmacies.”
Starting next year, Germans will be able to get a digital prescription from their doctor, which they can send to a pharmacy to complete – including reimbursement for a related health insurance claim.
Performing e-prescription delivery also means integration with specific pharmacy infrastructure – which would include the use of QR codes in Germany.
Then again this isn’t just another product that can be stowed in the backpack of a giant food delivery rider.
That said, European regulations haven’t been a complete deterrent to launching such models before, per Pieczonka. But he argues that the time has come – with the increasing digitization of healthcare services and people in the region far more open to app-based delivery and convenience than they could have been pre-pandemic.
“Normally we could have done this model two years ago. In fact that was also the first thing we were thinking about why no one is doing this in Germany – or maybe in France or in other big European countries. And Actually we didn’t really get an answer. But what we found on our way out is that there are some regulatory tweaks for every country that you need to crack first unless you can actually manage to operate ,” they suggest.
“When we go through the different topics – groceries, food delivery, beverages – you see that almost everything gets delivered instantly. But if you’re sick and you really don’t want to go out then what you really need is medicine – so this is something where we said hey it really makes sense. “
It’s worth noting that there are several telehealth platforms in Europe operating private services that can deliver prescription medicine directly and quickly after a virtual consultation with a doctor – such as Sweden’s Cry.
But – again – Mayed argues that there is room for many models to bring Made to Europeans’ doorsteps.
“You’ll see different approaches — one solution is just sending your prescription to a pharmacy so you can pick it up, another tells you which pharmacy probably has it in stock, another tells you what’s probably the cheapest for you. Where does the price meet the product? But these are all single solutions and we think you need to integrate,” says Piczonca.
Meyed is set to switch to reimbursement for e-prescription next year for Germany, now rolling out a service ahead of that change – which means it initially The pharmacy is limited to distributing only non-prescription items from partners.
So, starting today, Berlin residents can kick the tires of its delivery service to have non-prescription products like Bandaids or baby formula delivered to their doorstep.
And while there exist on-demand delivery platforms in some European markets that can rapidly deliver the same (non-prescription) ingredients you might buy at a pharmacy – Spain’s Glovo, for example, calls itself ‘ Deliver Anything’ App – Mayed argues that there is room for a specialist platform for pharmacies that address complex and variable requirements around delivering prescriptions.
Starting January, Mayday will be able to take orders for prescription items — connecting patients with pharmacies that will process their prescriptions; Pack your medicines for delivery (this is accomplished by e-bike or scooter riding delivery staff who No gig worker but full-time employee); and provide advice to the patient in text form through a phone call or through its app depending on the patient’s preference.
The patient will not be given a prescription before seeking advice from a pharmacist on how to take the medication and possible side effects, per pyzonka.
fat delivery service Starting in the German capital – where he says most of its city is covered by pharmacy partners (it has about 30 so far) but more needs to be added to reach the outskirts of Berlin.
Pieczonka also says Mayd will expand the service as well. This year to other cities in Germany – as an addressable market worth €60BN across the country.
ThisHowever, its ambitions don’t stop there, as it looks to broader European expansion. No decision has yet been made on whether to target other regional markets — but Piezonca is confident the model can scale.
“Our first focus is on Germany because it’s the biggest market in Europe and if we crack that we can go to other countries. Finally you also see a big trend that everybody delivers their stuff – so there’s no reason why people shouldn’t meet in Spain or Italy or France or anywhere [medicines] given,” he says.
Meyed’s business model in Germany is to charge a commission from pharmacies on the sale of any non-prescription items – and a delivery fee (or listing platform fee) to complete e-prescription deliveries.