by Jay Clouse
Change and growth are about the only constants for Nick Potts these days.
When I first met Nick, he was working in customer support at CoverMyMeds. CMM was still a startup and a long way off from their exit to McKesson in excess of $1B, making them Columbus’s first unicorn startup.
I remember thinking he must’ve been a great coworker – from figuring out how to get called down to Contestant’s Row on the Price is Right and winning the Showcase Showdown to organizing a company-wide lottery ticket pool, he just seemed smart.
“How I do with things is I go into research mode,” Nick told us in April 2018. “So I researched the process to get on Price is Right.”
That intelligence and intention has served him well as the founder and CEO of his own startup, ScriptDrop. ScriptDrop provides prescription delivery by seamlessly connecting pharmacies to their network of couriers.
When we first talked to Nick in April 2018, they were in 10 states and had 13 team members.
Since that interview, ScriptDrop has seen rapid growth. They are now live in over 24 states across the US, with the biggest states being California and Texas. They’ve grown from 13 employees to 30 full time employees and they are doing it all from Columbus, Ohio.
That growth has been met with a lot of outside interest. First, the ScriptDrop team walked away from $17M in committed ICO investment in early 2018. Then, in mid-2018, ScriptDrop received a “fairly substantial” acquisition offer. Nick and his team have been faced with some high-stakes decisions.
“I have a lot of conviction and am super stubborn. From the very beginning I’ve said this is not about money for me. So, when those opportunities came up, we of course listened to the offer from the monetary perspective…but then I had dozens of questions on the structure, autonomy, and sticking with the vision.”
Nick and the ScriptDrop team came to the conclusion that the ICO wouldn’t benefit patients and the acquisition offer was being made defensively. Neither was in line with ScriptDrop’s mission to help one billion patients.
The growth of the ScriptDrop team has come, in part, due to an acquisition of their own.
In November, 2018, ScriptDrop acquired Matched Pattern, a nine-person software engineering firm led by veteran Columbus developers.
But the acquisition didn’t come without its own challenges.
“We planned for it a lot, but it’s never as seamless as we conceptually think it will be. Everyone was fully bought in, excited…but you have to reset communications the day that happens,” Nick said.
“We were used to communicating one way, but we effectively doubled [headcount] on a Monday. We had to reset communications and the way we communicate, and it’s definitely more challenging than we thought it would be.”
The team, occupying three separate offices, quickly outgrew the available space at Rev1 Ventures, a seed stage venture capital fund in Columbus, Ohio, which offers startup services, space, mentoring, and connections.
Once again, Nick was forced to make a decision.
For four months, he worked with a real estate agent to find a new office to call home for the growing team. They landed in the former office of 2Checkout, an early online payments company.
At CoverMyMeds, Nick saw firsthand what it looked like for a team of over 100 employees to moved into a new office space.
“It was a very tricky transition,” he said, “and they executed it really well, but it was still a lot of work and time spent elsewhere instead of growing the business. Which as a smaller company, is very difficult for us to do right now.”
So they moved into a space that was about five times larger than he needed initially, with a total capacity that he estimates around 150.
Between turning down a major acquisition offer, acquiring Matched Pattern, and moving into an office much larger than their immediate needs, Nick says he’s felt some tension with investors, which he explained as growing pains.
“Scriptdrop could grow faster than I can grow. I may not always be the right person to run this company,” he said. “It’s the same with investors. As a company if you scale quickly, you could grow more quickly than they could help you with.”
“Some take it really well and some do not take it really well. The key is trying to have as good of a relationship with your investors and board members as possible.”
ScriptDrop subleased part of their office as the team grows to another Columbus startup, SHARE. SHARE is a microtransit service, and their proximity has led to a lot of collaboration and shared knowledge, an unexpected benefit that Nick says is “fantastic.”
After a year of growth that he calls, “pretty astounding,” Nick says ScriptDrop is poised for an even bigger year.
The company’s model to enter into large partnerships began with Albertsons. Today, ScriptDrop works with six different pharmacy partners. It just formed a strategic partnership with Postmates and their courier network, which covers 80% of ScriptDrop’s US market.
Nick and his team also won a large RFP with a hospital system, which will give them the ability to offer prescription delivery at the physician’s office for the first time – instead of at pharmacies.
And in the next couple of months, the team is planning to release their first consumer-facing application to create a new growth channel.
Nick has grown a lot personally, too. From the early beginnings of the company, he and his team have worked with an executive coach to strengthen their relationships as a team.
Despite the growth, Nick says ScriptDrop will never leave Columbus, though he leaves the door open for satellite offices. With a strong team, an office to grow into, and a lot of strategic partners, Nick is looking ahead.
“We have already had a very big year, and this is only the beginning. We have a number of investors who are very interested and issued term sheets, but we want to do it very thoughtfully,” Nick said. “This next investor is important strategically for ScriptDrop — we are bringing on a partner, not a check. So we need to be hyper selective.”
Jay Clouse is co-founder of The Up Company, co-host of the upside podcast, and author for Linkedin Learning / Lynda.com. Jay spent the last 6+ years as a global organizer and facilitator for Startup Weekend, based in Columbus, OH. He built and sold a ticketing company (Tixers), worked for a venture-backed startup in Columbus (Olive), and now runs an online accelerator for early stage founders (Unreal Collective).