In this series of blog posts I am immensely proud to share with you stories of the start-ups, founded by students during their studies at Global Master in Bioentrepreneurship program. I hope these stories will encourage other students with innovative ideas dare to test them by becoming entrepreneurs.
And we will start here, in Stockholm, with a story of BrightMED company, which was founded a year ago by my classmate at Christine Nguy.
Christine, can you tell us where the idea came from?
Christine: I am a pharmacist as background which somehow makes me very sensitive and interested to pharmaceuticals in general: products, prices, packaging, market organization, regulations, brands, companies and namely patient interaction with drugs. Naively, when I arrived in Sweden, I noticed the obvious differences from my home country (France). I could find Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs in many shops: pharmacies, supermarkets, convenient stores, gas stations… In a way, Sweden adopted a system for OTC drugs that was different to the French and closer to the American and English system: some of the OTC medicines were authorized to be sold in shops which were not pharmacies with no pharmacist in the staff. In France, no pharmaceuticals can be sold without the supervision of a pharmacist, and the monopoly is still locked to pharmacies, as it is considered that assistance should be provided in the purchase of these products for Public Health safety reasons.
I was intrigued and curious about how Swedish people were dealing with self-medication and OTC drugs. After observations in supermarkets, it was apparent that they were not that comfortable. Therefore, there was a need there for a tool to help them and improve the approach to the management of health. This was the main trigger for the business idea at the origin of BrightMED.
How did you start working on it?
- Sketching a raw business plan and gathering the team were my first moves.
- The team was a key step (!!!): There are many key criteria to look at when choosing teammates, namely personality match, competences and ambition.
- A concrete start from idea to action is to debate the idea and re-shape it with other different perspectives. Using a business plan model such as the Canvas business model for example can be a good starter to identify what we know, don’t know, should know.
And how is it going now?
Christine: The team has expanded and the prototype is ready for test on the Swedish market. We will start real-life test of our prototype with the aim to improve through customer feedbacks and start the commercialization phase.
What would you name as the main challenges so far?
Christine: Keeping the motivation as high as possible. The entrepreneur adventure is difficult and full of ups and downs. A great team dynamic drives the motivation of each member. It is important that more than one individual is able to insufflate energy to the team as it dilutes the pressure and maintains a constant level of enthusiasm.
Can you please share with the readers, why are you doing this?
Christine: Starting a company is a way to build the ideal work place, where you can pick your collaborators to work with and the projects to work on. It’s a place to express your creativity and passion to generate impactful solutions. It’s my way to take actions and to change the world around me into a better one.
What are you plans for the future?
Christine: First, in-store tests and commercialization of our current product as well exploration of new business opportunities to increase our portfolio.
BrightMED is now entering a new phase of business development where marketing activities should be introduced. The team is about to launch a website and Christine already started representing the company at the relevant conferences. At one of these events – Digital Health Days 2014 in Stockholm – I had a chance to interview Christine for Digital Health Days official YouTube channel. A first-time experience for both of us, so do not judge too strictly! It is just a very beginning 🙂
I wish Christine and her team best of luck, tons of inspiration and favorable market.