Start-up of the day: Unooc, a price comparison tool for pharmacies
Frenchweb invites you today to discover Unooc, a Toulouse start-up founded by Nicolas Michel and Nicolas Richard in March 2013. Its objective: to offer Internet users the comparison of the prices of drugs sold in online or physical pharmacies. More details with Nicolas Michel.
Frenchweb: How did you get the idea for your company?
Nicolas Michel: The idea of Unooc came initially as a simple personal need to compare the prices of drugs sold online. It is a service that did not exist. Using a search engine like Google does not guarantee that you come across a serious site, but simply a well-positioned site. And even if it is serious, are its prices interesting?
What need are you responding to?
If you need to find your medicine at the best price – and above all in complete safety. The polls say it, the French are interested in selling drugs online for the attractive price, but fear it because of the fakes they might come across. Unooc ensures to find one of the lowest prices on the market, and only in pharmacies that have a physical pharmacy. The drug is therefore exactly the same as the one you would buy over the counter.
Very simply, how do you make money?
We offer services to bring customers to online and physical pharmacies: product promotion, market research, etc. We are working on different avenues according to feedback from our partners before setting up a win-win model. You should know that the law prohibits online pharmacies from paying comparators and search engines for referencing.
Who are your competitors?
The competitors we fear the most are the comparators that already exist and are established in other fields, which could be interested in drugs: they have better means of communication than ours.
What or which companies are you being compared to in error?
We are not a marketplace: we do not sell to our users, but redirect them to our partners. These marketplaces, according to current legislation, cannot deal with drugs. Today, these are more potential partners than competitors, although there is some form of comparison between suppliers on these platforms.
What was one of the first issues in your development, and how did you deal with it?
The biggest problem in our development is the law governing the online sale of drugs. It prohibits pharmacists from paying search engines and price comparators. So we had to imagine other sources of income. The reluctance of pharmacists to any form of “advertising” was also difficult to overcome.
What is your main asset in this market?
Our main asset is to work in collaboration with pharmacists from the beginning. We spend a lot of time working with them and supporting them in the e-commerce adventure. We are very careful to respect the working environment of pharmacists.
What is the best advice you have been given and by whom?
A business owner once told us that the best salesperson in a start-up is its founder. Since then, things have progressed at a much faster pace.
Who is the personality you admire the most?
Founders: Nicolas Ricard and Nicolas Michel
Creation date: March 2013
Company based in: Toulouse (hope to soon join CampingToulouse linked to TIC Valley)