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An online pharmacy transforming access to essential medicines

Pharmacy2U

A good complement

When Mark Livingstone, chief executive of Birmingham-based online pharmacy Chemists Direct, came across Pharmacy2U in 2015, he spotted an opportunity.

“It became very evident that what we were doing in general healthcare, Pharmacy2U was doing in repeat prescriptions,” he explains. “We thought that it was really complementary.”

The firm lets patients order medications from home, consult doctors online and manage repeat prescriptions, saving the NHS money.

BGF on the board

As part of the deal, BGF investor Richard Taylor joined the board as a director.

BGF Talent Network  

Pragmatic and helpful

Mark decided to raise the money needed to complete a merger with Pharmacy2U and met with BGF, which backed the deal with a £10 million investment.

“We brought the two companies together and, since then, have doubled the size of the business and look forward to tripling the size of the core business in the next 12 months,” he says.

With some 15 years’ experience in building companies with the help of venture capital, Mark knew that the merger would be complex and was keen to work with a local investor who would be involved in the management.

“It was the most complicated deal I had ever transacted and I needed someone who was very pragmatic, reasonable, helpful and engaged.”

BGF's investment allowed the firm to...

Complete the merger of Chemists Direct and Pharmacy2U.

Double the size of the combined business.

Target a market share of 10%.

Follow-on funding

Having raised £10 million to fund the merger in July 2016, the new entity, called Pharmacy2U, went on to raise a further £7 million in May 2017 in a funding round led by BGF. Mark felt BGF was more supportive than investors he’d worked with before.

“If I had a penny for every investment company that told me, ‘It’s all about the management team and we are there for you and we will let you run your ship,’ I would be a very rich man,” he says. “BGF is one of the very few companies who really delivers that. They’re human and very pragmatic to deal with. We’ve got a really good relationship.”

In 2018, the business raised a further £40 million in a funding round led by G Square, a London-based private equity firm. BGF and other investors participated in the round.

If I had a penny for every investment company that told me, ‘It’s all about the management team and we are there for you and we will let you run your ship,’ I would be a very rich man. BGF is one of the very few companies who really delivers that.

Mark Livingstone, chief executive of Pharmacy2U

10%

Mark says Pharmacy2U can capture 10% of an £8 billion market in the next five years.

Ambitious plans

Looking to the future, Mark is confident that Pharmacy2U can continue to flourish in partnership with BGF.

“It’s an £8 billion market in England alone and we are growing at over 100% a year. We’re still under £100 million worth of revenue, which makes our market share around 1.25%. We see no reason why we can’t get to 10% in the next five years.”

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