Q&A with Hans Gangeskar and Dr. Edvard Engesaeth, Cofounders of Nurx

by Y Combinator10/17/2018

We put together a list of the top YC companies by valuation as of October 2018. You can see that list at https://ycombinator.com/topcompanies.

Here’s a Q&A with Hans Gangeskar (CEO and co-founder) and Dr. Edvard Engesaeth (co-founder) of Nurx, one of the companies featured on the list.

What does Nurx make/do?

Nurx is a telemedicine platform that makes healthcare easily accessible and affordable for everyone and empowers people to be in control of decisions about their own health. We enable doctors to give patients personalized care at lower costs and prescriptions delivered straight to their door, starting with birth control and PrEP. We’re unique in the space in that we cover the entire operation, from the patient interaction, clinician consultation, all the way down to the pharmacy, giving us the ability to provide a high-quality end-to-end user experience.

How many employees does Nurx have?

Around 150 employees

How many founders?

2 (Hans Gangeskar and Dr. Edvard Engesaeth)

What is your most impressive recent product milestone?

We recently launched an at-home test kit for patients seeking PrEP, a medication that helps keep HIV negative people from being infected. The kit allows patients to discreetly complete all the testing required before initiating PrEP, including a 4th generation HIV test and kidney monitoring. While we’ve offered PrEP treatment since 2016, this is the first time any company has been able to offer a service that allows patients to consult with a provider as to whether PrEP is right for them, complete the necessary lab work, receive a prescription, fill the prescription, and get PrEP medication delivered straight to their door—all without needing to visit a physical health clinic. By offering an option for more convenient and discreet testing, we’ve removed a crucial barrier to treatment.

What is the larger impact / societal impact of your product in the space you work within?

Redesigning the delivery of primary care in the US, as well as putting the power to make decisions about healthcare fully in the patient’s hands

What’s an interesting element of Nurx’s company culture?

Diverse workforce in terms of background, experience, interests, but what really unites our team is the shared enthusiasm and passion for what we’re building and how that translates into positively impacting hundreds of thousands of peoples lives everyday. Accessible, engaged leadership team

Looking back, what motivated you to start Nurx?

The idea of Nurx came from a deep dissatisfaction with the US healthcare system, and how it denies people access to care. Not just through expensive insurance and bureaucracy but also through emotional barriers like judgment, hassle and discrimination. These lead to some very real consequences like the more than 3M unintended pregnancies and 50k+ new HIV infections every year in the US.

Is what you’re working on now the original idea or did you pivot?

We are pretty much working on the original idea. We launched as a vertically integrated telemedicine service for birth control. Three months in we launched our PrEP service, and now three years later we have finally delivered on our PrEP at home testing goal, and are super excited about that.

Were there moments where you thought the company might die? Describe one of those and anything you learned from it.

As a startup founder – especially early on, all sorts of things can seem life threatening to your company; from fearing that you will struggle to raise money to making a critical hire. We certainly had our fair share of scares but made every effort not to loose focus on the core mission. My advice would be to not think of a single thing as a deadly threat to the company and keep your eyes on the bigger picture.

What was a particularly important insight you had about your market that made your product work?

That we had to work with insurance, and meet the $0 copay expectation that the ACA had set for birth control coverage.

What’s one piece of advice you’d share with a young founder?

Invest in people management and leadership skills across your team and organization early.


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