CNBC Disruptor 50

16. Truepill

Founders: Sid Viswanathan (CEO), Umar Afridi
Launched: 2016
Headquarters: San Francisco
$257 million
Valuation: $1.6 billion
Key technologies:
Health care
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Persephone Kavallines

When billionaire investor Mark Cuban launched his Cost Plus Drug Company early in 2022 to sell generic drugs online at affordable prices, he turned to Truepill to fill and deliver prescriptions.

It was a break-out moment for the San Mateo-based behind-the-scenes digital health service founded in 2016 to transform the $400 billion U.S. pharmacy business.

This comes as the fast-growing direct-to-consumer health-care market is becoming more competitive with more pressure on transparency in pricing and as telemedicine becomes popularized.

Rather than compete with a slew of start-up pharmacies such as Amazon-acquired PillPack and Capsule that were going after retail customers, the initial concept for Truepill was an efficient pharmacy distribution center. Now with fast-growing revenue and a market shift to telemedicine and increased demands during the pandemic, Truepill has expanded aggressively, hiring 800 new employees, up from just 257 the previous year.

Truepill also launched a virtual pharmacy in 2021 — a break from its roots in 2016 as a mail-order service processing orders for birth control, hair loss, erectile dysfunction and other therapeutics. Its e-commerce platform for heath-care entities provides fulfillment for prescriptions and over-the-counter products. Truepill's pharmacy has shipped more than 10 million prescriptions.

The company also partnered with digital health start-up Sesame Care to launch SesameRX to offer generic medications priced at $5 for a wide range of common medical conditions, and launched its own diagnostics business. This unit offers 3,000 at-home tests for common health issues as well as for Covid-19 tests.

To build out its strategy of digital health-care, Truepill has raised $256 million. It nabbed $142 million last October at a $1.6 billion valuation in Series D venture financing with existing investors Initialized Capital and T1 Platform, following a $75 million raise in August 2020.  

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