The new year is already shaping up to be a good one for Kishore Eechambadi and Raj Mehra of ATDC member company The Coupon Doc. The Atlanta-based duo is packing their bags and heading to Chicago to join the inaugural class of Healthbox, a new business accelerator focused solely on healthcare.
In September, The Coupon Doc founders connected with Healthbox program organizers at an ATDC-sponsored networking event. On Monday, the startup will join nine other hand-picked companies at the three-month program, which includes $50,000 in seed capital, healthcare-specific learning and networking opportunities, and an “Investor Day,” where participants will pitch their businesses to a targeted group of health-focused investors.
Not a bad opportunity for an early-stage startup like The Coupon Doc. Launched only six months ago, the company aims to provide an easy-to-use, centralized repository that gives consumers access to manufacturer discounts on prescription and OTC medications.
“Healthbox is very well-connected in the healthcare industry, so we want to make the most of those connections and raise enough capital to make The Coupon Doc a sustainable venture,” said Eechambadi, who previously conducted microfinance work in India and was a strategy consultant at Deloitte. “We think there is a huge untapped market for the product that we’re offering.”
The idea for the startup came about in the spring of 2011, when Mehra – whose family worked in the pharmaceutical industry – saw an opportunity to provide consumers with a more direct and accessible route to discounts. The site, which is still in beta testing, will allow individuals to search for medicine and find all available coupons and discounts as well as a cost comparison to its competitors. In addition, users will be able to view forums and reviews for other medicines and search by conditions ranging from the common cold to diabetes and epilepsy.
“Most pharmaceutical companies rely on doctors’ offices to pass on discounts, so consumers are really isolated to what the doctor prescribes and are uneducated on alternative medications, prices and associated discounts,” said Eechambadi. “Our site will save consumers money on their prescriptions and OTC medications, as well as give them the opportunity to interact with others to share knowledge and experiences.”
After their meeting in September, The Coupon Doc had to beat out hundreds of applications from 26 states and eight countries before being named one of the 10 finalists for Healthbox.
“I give full credit to ATDC for giving us the chance to interact with Healthbox staff,” said Eechambadi. “This is an amazing opportunity.”