New York-based pharmacy Blink Health upgraded its leadership team with three new hires — each of whom previously served on leadership teams at Amazon. Blink Health offers an e-commerce platform for prescription drugs that aims to lower consumers’ out-of-pocket costs, and is tied up with major US retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Kroger, per Forbes. But bringing in the new hires might be a move to right the ship following a series of hiccups. The startup’s encountered speedbumps since launching in 2014: Blink’s been entangled in legal troubles largely stemming from internal strife and was ditched by top pharmacy retailers CVS and Walgreens.
Here’s what it means: Blink’s new talent flexes big tech backgrounds and e-commerce expertise that should add value to the team and help pave the way as Blink looks to enter a period of scale and growth.
- The new chief people officer has an impressive track record when it comes to expanding tech companies’ teams. During his tenure at Amazon, Madan Nagaldinne helped build out teams across Asia from 200 to 5,000 employees — and he was likely brought on board to bring top-notch talent to the Blink team.
- The newly tapped executive VP of engineering and operations helped get Amazon Business off the ground. Bharath Chinamanthur helped both build out the tech giant’s business-to-business platform Amazon Business and propel its staggering growth: Business has rocketed up from $1 billion in sales in 2016 to an annualized rate of $10 billion in 2018.
- The new SVP of data sciences and monetization brings experience from Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. Christopher Plambeck served as a manager at Amazon during the company’s early years and more recently oversaw pricing and analytics for Facebook’s ad businesses; Plambeck could use his portfolio of experience to steer user adoption of new products.
The bigger picture: Even with a revamped leadership team, Blink’s competing with incumbents and tech entrants that offer similar services.
Blink’s e-commerce platform is designed to entice the 59% of US consumers who want their healthcare customer experience to be similar to retail. But it’ll have to contend with big names in pharmaceuticals that are also catering their services to healthcare customers: Amazon recently began marketing PillPack — which it acquired in June 2018 — to Prime members, and there’s been talk that Amazon could roll out a Prime Health service. Brick-and-mortar pharmacies boasting huge consumer bases have also ramped up convenient digital offerings: CVS expanded its same-day drug delivery services nationwide last month. With powerful forces doubling down on efforts to boost customer satisfaction, it makes sense for a smaller entrant like Blink to corral talent who could help it enhance its product and broaden its reach.