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Former Apple engineers sold their 'smart' pill bottle start-up to a prescription delivery company

Key Points
  • Round Health, created by ex-Apple engineers to build a "smart" pill bottle, just got acquired by Alto Pharmacy, a prescription-delivery service.
  • Alto acquired the assets, but not the team. At least one of the founders is returning to Apple.
The team at Alto Pharmacy, formerly ScriptDash
Alto Pharmacy

A company created by former Apple engineers to build a "smart" pill bottle has been acquired.

Start-up Alto Pharmacy, a prescription delivery service, has bought Round Health, whose bottle reminds patients when to take their medicines by lighting up and sending a push notification. Round Health also offers a medication-tracking mobile app with 90,000 monthly users, according to Alto Pharmacy CEO Mattieu Gamache-Asselin.

Round Health was founded by former Apple designer Matt Blum and former Apple design engineer Matt Crowley. Its third co-founder, Lauren Meleney, was previously an engineering project manager at Lime Lab, which was acquired by PCH.

Alto said it acquired the Round Health technology assets, but not the team. It intends to continue to invest in Round Health's products, with a goal of integrating them into the Alto service. The price was not disclosed.

Crowley has returned to Apple to work on health products. Another founder was recruited to Tesla, Alto said.

It costs the health system $100 billion to $289 billion a year when prescriptions aren't filled or taken as prescribed. That presents a business model and opportunity for Silicon Valley, which prides itself on user engagement and user-centric design.

Alto, formerly known as ScriptDash, delivers prescription medicines to Bay Area residents at home or at work. It serves 25,000 patients, many of whom have been diagnosed with a chronic condition that requires regular medication. The company offers same-day delivery and personalized pill packs to differentiate itself from regular pharmacies.

Alto's medicines are delivered by an in-house fleet of couriers. It plans to expand to Los Angeles and Orange County this summer.

"The problem with pharmacy is the lives lost to medication nonadherence," said Gamache-Asselin. "It requires a revamp as a real software product."

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