The Journey to Building a Direct-to-Consumer Pharmacy in New York | Fast Company

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– I’m Eric Kanariwalam and I’m the founder and CEO of Capsule. When I was growing up, I
thought the coolest thing in the world were airplanes and I wanted to be a pilot. I decided at some point,
that while I loved airplanes, that probably being a pilot
wasn’t the best career. About 10 years ago, I ended
up getting my pilot license and learning how to fly and so it kind of just
satisfied some of that itch of the childhood dream of being a pilot. After I decided I didn’t want to pursue my childhood dream of being a pilot, I got completely fascinated
by computers and technology and I was a pretty good
student in high school and one of the things I
got really excited about in my last year of high
school was Economics cause it was this blend
of a real hard Science but also human behavior and why do we do the things we do and how
do we do the things we do and that’s really what I
decided I wanted to study in college and so I went to
the University of Pennsylvania to study Economics and there, I got exposed to all
sorts of different types of applications of Economics
and I combined that with my early passion for technology and just unpacking how things work and how do we use those
learnings to make things better. The origins of Capsule are
in some ways really simple and in some ways really complicated. But I was living on the
lower east side of New York and I woke up one morning
with a terrible headache and I called my doctor and I asked him, hey doc, my head is
exploding, what should I do? And he asked me a series of
questions and through those series of questions, he basically said, don’t worry about it, you
have a sinus infection. I will call a prescription
in to your local pharmacy, go pick it up. And so I put my coat on
and I went down the stairs in this snowy, cold January day and I went to this chain pharmacy and literally every single
thing you could think about going wrong at the pharmacy, went wrong. I’d been interested in
health care for a long time. I’ve been interested
in consumer experiences for a long time. I’ve been interested in
technology for a long time and I think the experience
with the pharmacy is what brought everything
together for me, it’s the thing that
crystallized so many experiences from earlier in my life
and it was that moment that made me realize
that my head and my heart were aligned around this
mission of building a pharmacy that works for everyone. We have a completely digital pharmacy. You can manage your
medications from your phone and we’ve solved all of the
things that are frustrating about conventional pharmacies. We have price transparency, you chat or text with a pharmacist about anything you want. We have this beautiful
app that’s three clicks and we’ll deliver your
medications the same day for free to your house or your office. Starting a company is hard. It’s always, always, always so important to find amazing people
who share your passion to build the business and
the problem that you’re trying to solve and finding
incredibly talented people that share your values
and share your passion for solving the problems you’re solving in pursuit of the larger mission, is I think always one of the
more difficult things to do and doing that, as the business scales, is certainly, I think one
of the biggest opportunities and challenges every entrepreneur faces and we’re no different. Nothing is a straight line, that things are gonna be up
and things are gonna be down and it’s sort of a little
bit of a trite thing but you’re never as smart
as you think you are when things are going well
and you’re never as terrible as you think you are when
things are going poorly. The great times are great
and the bad times are bad and that’s sort of part of the journey and it’s part of the exciting part. You know, when you close that deal, when you’ve made that key hire, when you brought that really
important customer on board, those are the moments that feel great and thinking back to those
moments are super exciting.

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