For Chloe Alpert, one of the biggest surprises of starting her own company begins with a CT scanner and ends with a boat ride.
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Alpert is the CEO and co-founder of Medinas, a software-fueled marketplace for reusable medical equipment. The company resells equipment from medical centers to other places, and handles all aspects of the sale from the beginning inventory check to shipment and reinstallation.
The Berkeley-based startup has tapped into a thriving secondary market in developing regions looking for equipment, shipping CT scanners to Cambodia, ventilators to India, and defibrillators to Mexico. And it just announced a $5 million seed round, led by NFX.
Other investors that participated in the financing include Precursor Ventures, Sound Ventures, and FJ Labs. The new capital will be used to further enhance the company’s software as well as secure new business partners.
What It Does
The company, founded in 2017, is partnered with 55 healthcare organizations, mainly in Florida, New York and Arizona. Alpert says that Medinas is competing against legacy equipment players, “doing old school hammer and stone type of actions.”
“They aren’t marrying true complex software to create simple solutions,” Alpert said in a phone interview. “They’re just creating listing sites.”
Medinas claims it handles everything from logistics, inspection, deinstallation, shipment, payments and more. When I pressed Alpert on how a seed stage startup could handle that lift, she pointed to software as the answer.
“All the nuances, it’s ridiculous,” she said. “The whole point is that it is impossible for a person to remember 150 steps, but software can do that, so you’ll get a perfectly streamlined interaction.”
A part of Medinas that is unique is that the company only makes money if the partnering healthcare organization does. It is paid per gross sale with a varying ‘take rate,” in other words.
Each partner has a remote account manager that handles between 20 and 25 accounts each; and if you want an onsite account manager, there’s a higher take rate.
For hospitals, which struggle with free cash flow, the lack of an upfront payment or subscription fee could be a notable differentiator.
On a final note, Alpert said that Medinas raised the round in November 2018, but just announced it because the company spent a year doing “pure research” on healthcare, a highly opaque industry slow to change and slow to spend. This process included 20 calls to the same hospital just so they could figure out who to talk to.
And to me, that serves as a flicker of an example on how Medinas’ slow and steady method could speed up how healthcare logistics work.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias