53 Degrees North interviewed Roger Hassan (COO) & Benoit Machefer (Business Development Manager) from Echo at their WeWork Offices in Marylebone.
Nearly half of the UK is on a repeat medication with the market worth almost £8 billion a year. With all that value you would imagine that the process would have evolved to be cost efficient and convenient, but sadly that is not the case.
At the moment if a patient is on a repeat prescription in the UK they have to travel to the pharmacy whenever they run out of a specific medication. But the quantities/regularity of which medication are dispensed often vary wildly between specific medications and pharmacies. If this process could be streamlined the process could be made significantly easier for patients, whilst being cheaper and more efficient. A win-win.
And that is exactly what Echo has set out to fix. Its two co-founders Sai Lakshmi (Previously a Bain Consultant & Business Development Manager for Apple) and Stephen Bourke (Previously a Lloyds Pharmacy General Manager) were both on repeat prescriptions and knew there could be a better way to solve this problem.
From this they created Echo, a platform and remote pharmacy that aggregates your repeat prescription needs and sends them to your home via Royal Mail. The app is user friendly, beautiful and functional, making it ideal for fulfilling the needs of its varied patients.
More than Tech: Key Partnerships & The Challenges of Scaling
Echo doesn’t just face the challenges of a fast-growing tech company, but as it’s user base rapidly expands they face the logistical problem of servicing this demand. This is one of the key reasons they brought Roger Hassan (previously COO of HelloFresh) on board.
The expansion requires logistical and process exactitude directly from the offset, and this is not only challenging, but it will lay the blueprint for what they hope is exponential expansion in the coming years. As Roger puts it to us “It requires tech and operations working together”.
Life In a Startup
It is clear to anyone that talks to them that both Benoit and Roger are enthused by their work for Echo. When we ask them more about it they effusively describe how challenging and stimulating their roles are. What they both seem to love the most is that no day ever seems to be the same. As Roger describes “I can be at a high-profile investor and strategy meeting in the morning, and in the afternoon be unloading boxes and orders at Echo’s pharmacy”. The diverse and motivated Echo team clearly shares their founders drive and belief in the service they provide.
The future vision for Echo is huge, with room for massive expansion just within the UK. As Echo sees it, if they can become integrated in the healthcare process the sky can be the limit for this company. Let us not forget that Amazon just bought US e-pharmacy PillPack for $1 billion… Although I did mention this to Benoit and Roger during the meeting, they reassured us that Echo is dreaming, but it is not running before it can walk and they are determined to grow quickly, efficiently and safely for their growing and devoted users.
And finally our two wacky questions…
… If Echo was an animal what would it be? “An otter as it is sleek and caring” (Did you know Otter’s hold hands when they sleep?)
… And if you can hire anyone in the world for Echo who would it be? “Ricardo Semler for his ability to be data driven and dynamic, but energise his workforce through trusting them to meet their goals”
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