Meet Dropmed: the healthtech startup transforming how caregivers and vendors do business
Dropmed is Sweden’s first online medical marketplace. We spoke to co-founder Sebastian Brieger to hear more about his growing healthtech startup and get his advice for other entrepreneurs shaking up the healthcare industry.
Why does the healthcare industry need Dropmed?
Online marketplaces have become the norm in almost every other industry, but believe it or not, most medtech companies still don’t sell their products online. This means caregivers can’t find what they’re looking for without phoning and emailing medtech vendors to request quotes and comparing different companies manually. It’s a very traditional way of doing business which takes a lot of time – time that doctors and other healthcare professionals would much rather spend with their patients. Some webshops do exist, but they’re limited to one vendor. Our vision is to enable caregivers to make all of their purchases and manage communications with vendors in one place. We also want vendors to be able to automate everything in their sales process, both online and offline.
Awesome! Tell us about the team behind this new medical marketplace.
I studied engineering at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and human-technology interaction in Holland. I’ve been working in the medtech industry for the last seven years, working closely with sales and caregivers. I met my co-founders Alexander and Ralph at the same time pretty randomly. I found Ralph through a marketplace for programmers, and it turned out he’d built something similar in the past but it never got finished so he was a perfect match for us. His background is in data science and AI, and he’s a very methodical, structured person which is really good for us. Alexander was also at KTH and has worked with startups for the last 10 years so he’s really good at growth hacking and that sort of stuff. We’ve been working together for about a year and a half now and we’re a great match for each other!
What challenges have you faced so far?
Many! But I don’t really see them as challenges, more as a learning curve. I originally started the company with another team. At the beginning, I wanted to outsource the development of the platform but that didn’t really work out and I had to start over again. Then I found another CTO, but we just didn’t get along on a personal level.
There’s also challenges around how you choose to build a complex platform, as there’s so many routes you can take. You can build it as a service, from scratch or using a framework – and each has their own set of challenges. You can be limited by another system or limited by yourself if you choose to make everything from scratch – which can be difficult when you’re weighing up cost vs. time. It took a long time to figure out the best way to build Dropmed, but you just start somewhere and adapt as you go. I’ve actually had some really tough times with this project, as startups always do, but you can always overcome the problems.
What’s your advice for other entrepreneurs?
Finding the right people to work with is key to a successful startup. I really believe if you have the right team you can overcome anything. On the other hand, if you pursue your dreams and vision with the wrong team, it’s likely you’ll have to start from the beginning again. I wish I could’ve told myself to make sure I had the right team first, it would’ve saved me a lot of time! If you feel like you’re not compatible you should act on it pretty quickly. But even after creating the perfect team you still face challenges all the time. The only way to overcome them is to look at them objectively and find a solution. And remember that they only strengthen you as a person!
From a product perspective, you really have to figure out the type of marketplace you want to build. Is it a product marketplace, a service marketplace, B2B or B2C? And what level of customization do you need? There are so many different types of marketplaces, and different technologies, you have to really understand what you need to build to make the right choice. This goes back to getting the right people on the team who can understand this – as it’s quite complex.
What does a good team actually look like?
I think a good team involves people with very different competencies and personalities so you get different perspectives. You can also feel the team is right if you all seem to want the same thing and share the same vision. You have to respect each other’s boundaries too. I’m the kind of person who never sleeps and has no problem working until 11pm every night – I just can’t rest until something is done. But other people don’t want to do that so you need to make sure you understand each other’s work habits.
Why did you want to work with healthtech?
I sort of just fell into the healthcare world but I love it! It’s a very stimulating industry that’s at the forefront of a lot of technologies. It’s also full of good people doing good things for others. One of my sisters is a doctor and one is a psychotherapist, and knowing I’m making their lives easier and helping others like them is really important to me. Generally, as a team we all like creating solutions that are valuable to the end user and we try to work iteratively with customers to develop what they need. The healthtech space is great if this is what drives you.
What’s next for Dropmed?
There’s lots of cool stuff going on! The platform is live and we have a fair amount of vendors, products and caregivers. Now we’re in a big growth stage and adding more products and functionalities to develop the platform in a way that the users really want. The more feedback we get – the better. We’re looking at some new interesting features (like adding a social component) so that caregivers and vendors can communicate directly with each other. We also want to introduce bulk management of large inventories to make it easier for larger vendors with many products.
How have you found Sting so far?
It’s an incredible program. There’s so much expertise and relevant opportunities on the table that you have to prioritize through. My advice would be to pick out three key things you want to improve on at Sting, but all of it’s for the taking really. The quality of support you get is also very high, so you get a lot of bang for your buck, so to speak. Surrounding yourself with other startups in the same space is also very motivating. But it’s really the vibe that I find the most exciting – often people don’t celebrate their wins enough, but at Sting you do!
Would you like to learn more about Dropmed?