Focused on pharmacy and healthcare, software company iApotheca was created to help pharmacies address the issues that new legislation around narcotics in pharmacies had posed. Established in 2014, iApotheca’s first product was the iApotheca Narcotics Reconciliation Module, designed to help pharmacy teams track and report on their narcotics inventory. Since then, iApotheca has created several additional software tools to assist pharmacies in their day-to-day operations, including their new EconoRoute™ Connected Courier Network and Delivery Software, which was recently released to pharmacies across the Greater Toronto Area.
HOW IT STARTED
Taking innovation from an idea stage to market is one of the most daunting endeavours an entrepreneur can undertake and all startups experience their fair share of challenges along the way. iApotheca was no exception, and one of the biggest challenges the trio faced in their startup journey was generating the funds needed to onboard new talent and develop new products. They also recognized that they needed guidance in finance and sales and methods for spreading the word of their innovation to pharmacies. Through conversations with their Peterborough business community, iApotheca Co-Founders Spencer Turbitt, Rachelle Smerhy and David Hallin heard of Regional Innovation Centre Spark Centre and reached out.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Raising capital is challenging enough. Taking innovation to fruition and connecting with the right people to grow your business adds a layer of complexity.
When iApotheca joined Spark Centre, they were provided with recommendations for grants and funding options and connected with investors. But the connections didn’t stop there. Spark Centre also connected iApotheca with knowledgable advisors in finance, sales and marketing as well as with businesses through trade shows, pitch contests and other events that could assist with their reach and help to spread the word of their brand.
“The Spark Centre staff has been instrumental to our growth in many ways over the years.” says Co-Founder of iApotheca, Rachelle Smerhy, “They’ve always been available when we’ve needed them.”
WHERE THEY ARE TODAY
iApotheca’s challenges were just that — they didn’t stop this innovative company from reaching the success they had envisioned for their business. In just over two years, iApotheca has raised over $500,000 in investor funding, enabling them to onboard key talent and develop and expand their newest product, the EconoRoute™ Prescription Courier Network and in-house delivery software as well.
Today iApotheca has been providing its courier network to more than 1000 pharmacies across Canada and empowering small businesses to offer same-day delivery to compete with larger eCommerce platforms. With that number continuously growing, iApotheca is also exploring opportunities to expand into additional markets, which they are pretty excited about.
When asked for a tip that she could share with her fellow startups, Co-Founder Rachelle Smerhy’s advice was two-fold: “Know who your customers are and have a strong understanding of how you can meet their needs,” she said, “and stick with it and be ready to pivot if necessary.”
For more information about iApotheca, visit https://iapotheca.com/