Pillpack: Adding $50M in funding to bring redesigned pharmacy to all

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There are some people in the world that it is simply a joy to work with, and when good things happened to them you can only feel joy.  TJ Parker and Elliott Cohen are two such people and I’m delighted with the new milestone our company Pillpack has reached. 

$50 Million in New Funding 

Pillpack just announced a $50M round led by George Zachary (of Twitter and Yammer fame) and Rafael Corrales at CRV with new money from Pravin Vazirani and Tylor Sosin at Menlo Ventures (another awesome duo) and Shervin Pishevar at Sherpa Ventures (with a fashionably minimalist website :-)).  Accel Partners is also participating meaningfully to the round.

Pillpack signing Term-sheet

Yes this his how this stuff gets done – Exhausted but happy TJ and Elliott (behind camera) with George and Rafa signing the term-sheet

It’s not so much that raising a big round in itself makes me happy (though it does), it’s the fact that our team can now take their dream of better medication through design to a very wide audience.

Better Medication Through Design

PillPack is a full-service pharmacy designed to simplify the process of managing multiple medications through a combination of packaging, technology, and service.

Pillpack one of these companies that exists at the intersection of design, technology and health with a simple mission : to help people medicate better.

Every two weeks, PillPack ships a personalized roll of pre-sorted prescriptions, vitamins and OTC’s, in individual packs, and the company manages refills for customers by coordinating with physicians and insurance providers.

Everyone now sings the praises of good design but few understand how painful it is to truly achieve excellence.  Pillpack has always obsessed about the little details to ensure the service is “just right”.  As a young company, we over-invested in design from the start, internally and externally, including taking on design-firm IDEO as an early equity partner in the company.

Design pays off in many ways (such as winning Webby Awards) but most importantly for a trust-based service such as ours, design succeeds in giving users great confidence in the product from the get-go.  Indeed, they correctly assume the front end is as well executed as the back end.

As for myself, I always think of my job as that of an architect or a designer so working with a company like Pillpack is real privilege.

Passion and Vision shared by Investors 

It’s funny how serendipity plays a role in our business.  

I originally met Pillpack in the context of Techstars Boston.  I did not mentor the company but I kept asking everyone “who’s the team to back?” to which most people who respond “Pillpack”.  My colleague Dustin who knew Elliott organised coffee and boom! I was hooked (as you can tell from my blog post).   I joined an equally bullish and passionate investor in seed investor David Frankel of Founder Collective.

I continue to be a fan of the company and pre-empted any attempt at Series B fundraising as soon as I joined Accel.   Still have the burn scare from cooking omelettes for TJ and his wife at their East Cambridge flat to prove it :-)  We closed that round only a few days after my start date!  

Our Series C raise started with furious pace as we approached only a few investors who we thought would be a natural fit for one these “scale rounds”.  I talked to my buddy Rafael (a founder of Learnboost, backed by my partner Jeff at Atlas) about the company and he and George immediately took the bull by the horns.  They had been monitoring the company, loved the vision and as I did immediately embraced the founders.  

Pillpack’s board and management team were super-impressed by the vision and conviction that team CRV displayed and we are incredibly excited to have them on board.  A little personal nod to Pravin/Tyler at Menlo who displayed such a deep grasp of the space and such wonderful engagement with both company and investors. 

When we raised the Series A round (I was with Atlas Venture at the time), I made the rather bold statement to the Verge that we wanted to “the most recognized name in pharmacy with a brand and reputation that matches that of Apple“.  

Cringe, me ?  Noooo:-)

I stand by that lofty goal of becoming the Apple of Pharmacy (with 100% reliable products) and raising this round with such a fabulous group of investors takes us one little step closer to achieving that vision with our fabulous new band of investors and some serious balance sheet depth to enable the wonderful team at Pillpack.