Every time I see a problem, I ask ‘How can technology fix this?’ – Umar Afridi, co-founder, Truepill

Technology is creating new opportunities to proffer better, faster, and impactful solutions in the fields of health management, transportation, education, entertainment and retailing. It is up to visionary young people with a knack for entrepreneurship to take advantage of that endless enterprise possibilities provided by technology. Umar Afridi and his partner, Sid Vaswanathan, did. They tapped advancement in tech to disrupt the heavily regulated pharmacy business through technology.

Truepill, a telemedicine platform built by Afridi and Vaswanathan, takes order digitally, and provides on-demand delivery to pharmacists. The business is primed to turn in $100 million at the close of the year.  

Umar Afridi and Sid Vaswanathan decided to create a new means of delivering medicine to those who need it after connecting via LinKedln. Afridi expertise is in building software, while Vaswanathan is a pharmacist. Instead of competing in the murky retail channel, the founders decided to concentrate on using tech to develop a robust business model that makes the distribution of medicine from manufacturers to retailers more efficient.

As such Truepill serves direct-to-consumer retailers who ‘instagram’ lifestyle and prescription drugs to a large online audience, and those who deploy email marketing to reach users. Serving as the core digital distribution centre that connects drugmakers and a growing list of retailers has paid off for Afridi and Vaswanathan.

One factor that unlocked the path to growth for the business is the shift from in-house visit to doctors to telemedicine where a patient can get prescription online. According to Andrew Dudum, the co-founder of Hims, a direct-to-consumer startup that uses Truepills to meet demands, “We expected 30 to 50 orders per day, and that was the scale we communicated to Umar and Sid that we needed to be prepared for. In the first week, we were getting 500 orders per day”.

Hims, which is presently valued at $1.1 billion, now racks up more than 1000 orders pay day, and is one of the biggest clients Truepill serves.

Umar Afridi, for instance didn’t stumble on success. He has enjoyed success previously at Linkedln after selling his businesscard scanning technology to the professional networking media. He says, “I’ve always had a passion for technology, and every time I see a problem, I think, ‘How can technology fix this?’”

An eye for solutions always leads to success. As Uber’s country manager in Nigeria, Tayo Oyegunle, explained earlier this week, advancement in industry 4.0, covering programmatic data analyses and cloud computing has created a lauchpad for new business ideas.

Going forward that area is bound to drive new economic growth especially as contributions from areas such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) rise. That is already happening anyways. Business management tools such as Slack, Monday.com, and Salesforce are deploying tech to help firms work smarter and more efficiently.

 The possibilities surrounding new tech capabilities are the reasons serial entrepreneur, Richard Branson, wished he was born in the millennium. Those advantages can be explored to create interesting new businesses by tech-savvy Nigerian young people if data is made cheaper, and more people are exposed to training in the areas of coding. Isn’t it time to disrupt some more?

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