May 17, 2020

Amazon looks to disrupt the competitive pharma market

Catherine Sturman
2 min
With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, it has been reported that Amazon is looking towards the pharma market

With pharmaceuticals becoming a multi...

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, it has been reported that Amazon is looking towards the pharma market

With pharmaceuticals becoming a multi-million-dollar industry, Amazon is now looking at ways to expand its services further through developing markets. The pharma market is predicted to reach $1.12 trillion by 2022, something which Amazon would be foolhardy to ignore.

 The recent news that the company has recently hired Box Healthcare Vice President and Managing Director Missy Krasner, signifies Amazon’s interest within the healthcare space, and its current investments in cloud products and services to further advance the healthcare industry.

Since May, Amazon has been selling medical products in areas such as Japan, alongside investing in new technologies such as Google Alexa, which will support patients from home. This is in addition to Amazon’s investment in drone technologies, which could drop pharmaceuticals directly to the patient’s home.

The recent acquisition of health food company Whole Foods even sent Walgreens and CVS Health stock prices falling by over three percent.

However, Amazon faces an uphill battle, with strong regulations to overcome within the industry, as well as PBMs and insurers. However, if the company is able to overcome these challenges, it is sure to grow rapidly. A strong distribution network will further see Amazon grow its market reach within ecommerce and create further competition in terms of drug pricing.

Tech companies are increasingly moving into, and undertaking significant investments in health technologies. Whilst Google has been looking at new innovative ways to provide patient-centred healthcare technologies, and even transportation company Uber has been hiring workers to collaborate with healthcare specialists in two new programmes.




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May 13, 2021

Birdie aims to reinvent elderly care with tech

3 min
We take a look at homecare software startup Birdie, who are aiming to transform elderly care in the UK

British startup Birdie has announced it has raised £8.2 million to invest in innovation and scale up the business. 

The company's announcement is timely as it follows the criticism of the UK government over their lack of a plan for social care, despite acknowledging the sector is in crisis - around a quarter of the UK's home care providers are on the brink of bankruptcy due to a lack of funds and staffing. 

Birdie was born with a mission to  "radically improve the lives of millions of older adults", by using app-based solutions, IoT and machine learning to put preventative care at the forefront.  The company was founded by Max Parmentier,  after experiencing his own frustrations with the care system - his grandfather struggled with the impact of life in a care home, but lacked any other option. 

In 2017 Parmentier partnered with venture builder Kamet Ventures to  set up Birdie, in a bid to fix this problem. Since then, Birdie has partnered with almost 500 providers across the UK, and supports more than 20,000 older people every week. In the past 12 months alone the number of people Birdie supports has got six times greater. 

Birdie’s solution is an app to help care providers deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care, by giving them access to digital assessments, medication scheduling and planning tools. By using digital tools to take care of admin, staff have more time to spend with their care recipients. 

The new investment will be used to fund Birdie’s next phase of growth in the UK, as the company scales to meet the rapidly growing demand of the aging population. The company will also invest in product innovation, creating new features to address customer requests.

In addition, Birdie is piloting new care models, including partnering with the NHS to identify COVID-19 symptoms, building predictive pharmacy models with AI, and helping health authorities to detect early warning signs of patients’ health risks.

Internally, Birdie is committed to having a progressive company ethos. All salaries are transparent, and staff work asynchronously to maximise flexibility and equity. Staff members also volunteer in their local community during office hours, and the company offsets all its emissions.

These efforts have led to numerous awards, including having the best SME culture in the UK, an Honorable Mention in the Health category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, and innovation in care at the LangBuisson awards. 

“We believe the future of care for older people should be helping them to live at home for as long as possible through the delivery of personalised and preventative care" Parmentier said. 

"Birdie is already the partner of choice for caregivers up and down the UK, and this new funding will help us rapidly increase the number we partner with and what we can offer them - meaning more people benefiting from more affordable, quality care. We’re proud of our mission and the values we embody to pursue it.” 

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