Backing PillPack : a pharmacy you might actually love

Pharmacies are like banks.  When you have to go to one, it's usually an unpleasant experience delivered in often indifferent fashion by overworked people.  TJ Parker and Elliott Cohen, the founders of Pillpack, together with the rest of the team, are out to demonstrate that you can build a pharmacy you might actually love.  

The service is launching today, so if you know anyone who spends too much time sorting pills and not enough time playing with their grandkids, sent them to  They could be a mental health patient, a recent stroke sufferer or an elderly relative confused about their medication.

pillpack dispenser notjustprettycolours

David Frankel at Founder Collective and I are backing them with $4M (together with angel friends) to make it happen.  I owe the discovery of this little gem to Katie Rae at Techstars, so not exactly a well hidden secret but hey, 99% of this game is showing up and (hopefully) picking well.

Who : Cross Functional Founders

TJ is a weird animal.  He's a pharmacist who cares about duty of care, a technology entrepreneur and a design fanatic.  We have something in common in that we both knew about Dieter Rams well before Jonny Ives was a household name, and probably both dreamed of living in a Mies Van der Rohe designed house from an early age.  Elliot is of the same ilk; a VP of Bus Dev turned Medicine Hacker turned VC turned MBA turned CTO.  In other words : two Swiss Army knives with a love of work well executed.  Perfect.

Why : Fix Pharmacy

Ever wondered why your chain pharmacy experience sucks ? Simple : pharmacy for Walgreens and CVS is an excuse to get people into retail environments so they can sell them sushi for lunch.  Period.

30 million people in the US (one in 10 !) take more than five medications every day.   That's a big group of people who have to deal with packing their pills into little boxes and standing in line at a counter to get their refills.

pills 2

We're going to do only one thing and do it really well: deliver all prescriptions, over­-the-­counter medications and vitamins in a two-­week roll of  individual  packs  organized  by  date  and  time,  replacing  error­-prone  pill  boxes  and manual solutions.   That's it.  

Why ?  We're trying to give people back their lives.  Less time sorting pills and more time playing with the grand kids.  That's it.  Simple, elegant, automated, reliable.

How : A design led approach

Fundamentally the principle behind Pillpack was simple : why don't we apply the same quality of design to a medicine subscription service that Tony Faddell applies to designing thermostats at Nest.  First we used design to reinvent objects, now we use design to reinvent services.

One packaging, one container box, one customer interface. These were our design constraints.

PS if I haven't yet sorted out the video sizing issue see

Our goal is simple: to become the most loved & recognized name in pharmacy with an NPS score that matches that of Apple and millions of happy customers

We will outcompete the pharmacy giants on customer satisfaction every time and build a better, seamless, laser focused service, complete with passionate pharmacists who have a real sense of mission and deliver better care.  

Here we go.

pillpack hand with packet notjustprettycolours

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4 Responses to Backing PillPack : a pharmacy you might actually love

  1. Henry Glover says:

    Cool product. I stopped using wallgreens and cvs for same reasons you mentioned. I get much better and friendly service at a local pharmacy + free delivery.

    Any chance you will license or resell to retail and local pharmacies?

  2. Sebastien Latapie says:

    This makes so much sense on so many levels. What an elegant solution.

  3. HealthProductsPassionista says:

    I want this product to make it and make it big. I think every pharmacy in America would want to white label this product. Brilliant. Period the end. One year my daughter had something like this called “Camp Meds” and it came in a pack roll like this. Another time I signed up for a personalized vitamin service after filling out a questionnaire. And each month a supply of the 10 vitamins I was supposed to take all individually bagged arrived. The problem was that it was too many pills and my doctor told me I did not need half of them. I cancelled the service. But THIS (to the point below) makes SENSE. Bravo.

  4. Paul says:

    Looks fantastic! Perhaps the bar codes on the pill packs could be scanned with the iPhone to register compliance with doctors or loved ones and also provide data for self-awareness, self-improvement, and various quantified self stuff.

    One quibble with the designer name dropping: “we both knew about Dieter Rams well before Jonny Ives was a household name.” Surely you mean Jony Ive?