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HomeEntrepreneurTruepill’s Sid Viswanathan Out As CEO As Troubles Mount At Tech-Enabled Pharmacy

Truepill’s Sid Viswanathan Out As CEO As Troubles Mount At Tech-Enabled Pharmacy


Not fairly 18 months after being named CEO of Truepill, cofounder Sid Viswanathan is gone. The corporate, value $1.6 billion at its final fairness funding spherical, faces an unsure future with a money squeeze and DEA investigation.

Truepill cofounder Sid Viswanathan is out as CEO of the tech-enabled pharmacy as the corporate’s troubles mount.

“Earlier this week was my final day as CEO of Truepill,” Viswanathan wrote in a LinkedIn publish earlier at the moment. “This month marks 9 years since I left my final job to pursue a loopy startup thought with Umar Afridi. It has been nothing in need of an exhilarating experience filled with all of the ups and downs you’ll anticipate, after which some.”

The San Mateo, California-based firm has not publicly named a brand new alternative. Truepill didn’t reply to requests for remark. Paul Greenall, the corporate’s president, would appear to be the plain candidate to be CEO or performing CEO. He joined the corporate as chief enterprise officer final July and was promoted to president later within the yr. Greenall didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Viswanathan stated in his LinkedIn publish that he was “actually proud” of what they’d constructed at Truepill and that he had “no clue” what he could be doing subsequent. “I’ll be taking a while off to recharge and work out the subsequent chapter,” he wrote. Viswanathan didn’t reply to voicemail, textual content or electronic mail messages looking for extra remark.

Forbes first profiled Truepill as a part of the Subsequent Billion-Greenback Startups listing in 2019, an oddity within the listing because it had raised simply $13 million in enterprise funding on the time. Viswanathan, an Indian immigrant who offered his earlier startup to LinkedIn, and Afridi, a former pharmacist who was then the corporate’s CEO, got down to upend the closely regulated pharmacy enterprise with know-how. The startup shipped its first prescriptions in 2016. By 2018, its income had reached $48 million, helped by the quick development of direct-to-consumer prospects like Nurx, which sells contraception, and Hims, which focuses on treatments for hair loss, erectile dysfunction and zits. To customers, these Instagrammable well being merchandise don’t appear to be medicine, and their subscription containers usually comprise a mixture of each prescription and over-the-counter merchandise. But when there’s even a vial of prescription capsules going out within the mail, the startup sending it wants a pharmacy to meet the order.

By 2019, the corporate had doubled its income to almost $100 million because it expanded its buyer base past direct-to-consumer medicines to prescriptions that deal with extra critical diseases. It anticipated nearer to $200 million in income for 2020.

The large wager, after all, was telemedicine. Because it regarded to extend past pharmacy, it rolled out at-home testing companies, for instance, only one piece of what Viswanathan and Afridi believed could be a broad change to on-line healthcare. “We envision a future the place 80% of healthcare is digital,” Viswanathan advised commerce publication Fierce Healthcare in 2020.

In October 2021, the corporate raised a $142 million Sequence D at a $1.6 billion valuation. At that time, the corporate had raised a complete of $256 million in fairness funding from buyers that embrace Initialized Capital and TI Platform Administration.

However competitors has gotten harder as different tech-enabled pharmacies, like Alto and Capsule, have cropped up. Simply over a yr later, Truepill wanted one other infusion of money, elevating $50 million in convertible debt in November 2022, in accordance with venture-capital database PitchBook. It has since confronted different difficulties because it has been quickly burning via money–at a fee of $12 million monthly–in accordance with a Could 2023 article in Insider. It carried out 4 rounds of layoffs and closed three of its pharmacies, whereas downsizing a fourth, in accordance with Insider’s reporting.

The issues ran deeper than only a money squeeze because the startup additionally got here underneath scrutiny from the federal authorities. In 2022, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Company alleged that Truepill had “wrongfully stuffed” hundreds of prescriptions for managed substances, together with the ADHD medicine Adderall, a stimulant. The investigation stemmed from Truepill’s work filling prescriptions for the Softbank-backed psychological well being startup Cerebral, which was underneath investigation by the U.S. Division of Justice over its prescribing practices. The DEA alleged Truepill was filling prescriptions in extra of 90-day provide limits, in addition to prescriptions written by suppliers with out the right state licensing. “We’re assured we will display the absence of wrongdoing,” Viswanathan advised The Wall Road Journal in December. (The DEA didn’t reply to a request for an replace on the standing of the investigation.)

When he left the corporate, Viswanathan had been CEO for just below 18 months. He took over as CEO from Afridi in February 2022. Afridi left Truepill at that time, in accordance with his LinkedIn profile. Afridi didn’t reply to an electronic mail message looking for remark. On the time Viswanathan took over, the corporate stated that it had processed greater than two million diagnostic exams, shipped greater than 10 million prescriptions and was facilitating as much as 50,000 telehealth visits per week.

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