Welcome to the NVCA Blog series, Building Better, where we celebrate the dynamic relationship between our VC members and their innovative portfolio companies around the nation. For today’s Building Better, we spoke with Bill Baumel, Managing Director at Ohio Innovation Fund (OIF), and with Amanda Epp, CEO of ScriptDrop, an OIF portfolio company. Learn about their partnership in the Q&A below!
Ohio Innovation Fund: Bill Baumel, Managing Director
Give us some background on Ohio Innovation Fund: How did the firm start, what is your mission and how does the firm strive to meet its goals?
I spent 20+ years investing in successful Silicon Valley startups — including 5 unicorns and 10+ other major exits — prior to returning to my home state in 2016 to found the Ohio Innovation Fund (OIF). OIF is built on the principle that Ohio companies can — and have — become globally competitive by leveraging Midwestern strengths such as being mission-driven, gritty, and capital efficient. By working in the trenches with each company, OIF enables startups to supercharge their growth, driving big thinking, breakthrough innovation and rapid scaling — from product road map to fundraising to strategic partnerships to key hires and more.
Ohio Innovation Fund operates under a triple impact: 1) Deliver top-tier venture returns for our LPs, 2) Innovate by investing in the industries of the future within the state (cybersecurity, data science, cell & gene therapy, biotech, etc.), and 3) Cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and venture investors through our Student Experience Program (over 100 top students per year go through this program).
The results have been impressive – with successful exits, companies approaching $100 million in revenue and in one case visibility to $1 billion in revenue, and 30+ key strategic partners/co-investors including Facebook, Sanofi, ESPN, SAP, Genentech, Cardinal Health, and Microsoft.
What does OIF look for in a partner when choosing to invest in a portfolio company? What does OIF value? What do you value in the ScriptDrop team?
At OIF, we partner closely with entrepreneurs, many of them first-time entrepreneurs, working in the trenches alongside them to navigate and proactively manage any barriers to growth. Radical transparency — in good times and bad — is highly valued at OIF, and we look for founders who are committed to open communication. We know that there’s no perfect company, team, or product, but we’re committed to building industry creating or redefining companies, and look for entrepreneurs who are aligned in that goal.
ScriptDrop is one of only two OIF companies with a proven CEO, Amanda Epp. Amanda was employee #3 at CoverMyMeds which exited to McKesson for $1B+ in 2017, and from “Day 1” of diligence, we valued her radical transparency, commitment to the ScriptDrop mission of “Serving 1 billion patients,” and excellent leadership across every level as the team rapidly scaled. Not only is Amanda a great leader, she is also willing to look at her areas for growth and actively supplement the team with people who fill any operational gaps.
How does OIF support its portfolio companies? How does it help entrepreneurs grow and advance the VC industry?
We are true partners at OIF, meaning we are there 24/7 to brainstorm, provide advice, introduce a company to a potential partner, or discuss growth strategy.
We have a deep respect for entrepreneurs and their companies and seek to be builders alongside the team, always focusing on growth. The OIF mindset is one of justified optimism. We’ve seen companies scale from nothing to $500M in 3 years (Infinera), companies valued at $35B+ (Dexcom), and those who make science fiction into science fact (Mojo Vision). We know that Ohio-based companies can do the same with the right partner, and OIF seeks to be that partner.
At the highest level:
- We are connectors: Connecting our portfolio companies with resources and opportunities — whether that be a strategic partner, a redefined product roadmap, or a potential market expansion strategy
- Hands-on support: We provide hands-on support for our entrepreneurs in areas of growth, leveraging Silicon Valley principles and encouraging thinking big, moving quickly, and overcoming any barriers that would prevent our companies from reaching their full potential
- We foster relationships and networks: We’re creating and scaling a virtuous cycle of success through providing experienced counsel to catalyze innovative ideas, bright entrepreneurs, and competitive startups in Ohio
ScriptDrop: Amanda Epp, CEO
What is the mission of your company and how did you start? How has your partnership with Ohio Innovation Fund helped you fulfill your mission?
ScriptDrop’s mission: Delivering medication access opportunities through technology, empathy, and healthcare expertise. We do this through our secure, innovative, and easy-to-use prescription delivery and medication access platform.
ScriptDrop was founded on the belief that access to healthcare is a huge problem and that our team can leverage combined expertise across technology, healthcare, and business to create a meaningful solution to help patients get the medication and care they need.
Ohio Innovation Fund has been our partner through navigating the next stage of company growth. From the very beginning, our team could see that OIF was mission-driven, just like us. As we began to know Bill and the team better, we saw a resource that has literally “been there, done that” a dozen times over in building world-class companies, and we were aligned in thinking big and moving quickly.
OIF’s strong support of our leadership team helped ensure we were successful as the COVID-19 pandemic set in, and our planned 1.5 year development timeline needed to shift to a 1.5 month development sprint almost overnight. Since then, they’ve been valuable partners in strategy and fundraising discussions, and I look forward to our ongoing relationship with Bill as a board member.
What problem is your company trying to solve for?
At our core, ScriptDrop solves the problem of medication access for patients. It’s illogical that patients with often serious health concerns have to carve out time to go to the pharmacy, wait around for a prescription, and handle payment in-person. The pandemic aside, it can be dangerous or even impossible for some patients to make this trip. The inefficient process was a key contributor to a staggering >35% of prescriptions being abandoned completely, equating to over $300 billion in health care costs associated with non-adherence.
ScriptDrop provides simple, secure solutions for all prescription needs by partnering with local pharmacies on delivery solutions. We streamline the entire prescription operational chain, allowing quicker script filling as well as better tracking to ensure each delivery was securely completed. We’ve become an integral part of the healthcare ecosystem.
Where and how is your company looking to grow in the next 5 years?
If one looks at DoorDash or Instacart, they will see companies privately valued at multibillion valuations ($16B and $14B, respectively). What ScriptDrop does requires a much higher level of security, because it’s far less damaging to have a McDonald’s lunch order leaked than it would be to expose HIPAA-protected medication information. ScriptDrop’s state-of-the-art security protects patient information through every step of the delivery process, something no other company can provide. In five years, we will be the world’s trusted prescription delivery platform, as well as a strong partner of each stakeholder along the prescription delivery chain from the patients to the pharmacists, providers, and even the pharmaceutical companies.
How has OIF impacted your company’s future for the better?
Working with OIF has opened up a whole new world of possibility for ScriptDrop. I am able to best leverage my talents in running ScriptDrop and building out an incredible team from CTO to COO to Head of Sales, and I know that Bill is there as a resource to help guide whenever I’d like input. We went from a company doing very well and thinking success may be a couple hundred million dollar exit, to a company doing very well and knowing that a multibillion dollar exit could be on the horizon.
Cassie Ann Hodges serves as Director of Communications at NVCA where she leads NVCA’s strategic communications, branding and content development, and media efforts to better support and empower the venture community, startups, and entrepreneurs. She also oversees the NVCA StratComm Peer Group network and programming.