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Exclusive: Pharmacy payment startup HealNow fills $6M seed

Illustration of medical pills with half of the capsule created from paper money.

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Pharmacy payment facilitator HealNow filled a $5.5 million seed round, CEO Halston Prox tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: With the exception of the largest pharmacy chains, payment tech for pharmacies has remained largely offline, but HealNow hopes to modernize the process for regional and independent shops.

Details: Bonfire Ventures led the round in the New York City-based startup.

  • Walkabout Ventures, Remarkable Ventures, Alabama Futures Fund, and Impulsum Ventures joined.
  • Funds will go towards hiring more staff across implementation and product, as well as adding features like two-way texting and accounts receivable.
  • Prox expects the company to get a Series A refill in the next 12-18 months.

How it works: The company charges pharmacies a monthly subscription fee to use its prescription management and checkout systems, which serve both pharmacies and patients, plus a flat-rate service fee for prescriptions purchased on the platform.

Flashback: After working with a large health system as part of his work with electronic health record giant Epic, Prox saw dozens of physicians order prescriptions for patients and "essentially send them down a rabbit hole."

  • So he created HealNow as an effort in bridging the gap between pharmacies and patients.

What they're saying: Prox sees HealNow's functionality as similar to that of Toast, the Boston-based restaurant ordering and payments startup.

  • "What Toast did for restaurants, we're doing for pharmacies," says Prox.

State of play: Increasing awareness of the connection between pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and high drug prices has underwritten investor interest in startups across the pharmacy tech spectrum.

  • Digital pharmacy Alto this May told Axios it was "in talks" to raise, having collected upwards of $550 million in venture capital so far.
  • SmithRx, which runs claims through algorithms that look for lower-priced medications, last March raised $20 million in Series B capital.
  • House Rx, which partners with specialty clinics to get patients care and medications from the same place, last March collected $25 million in Series A funds.
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