Talent Garden a place to build a business: the first ecommerce platform for pharmacies in Italy

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In 2016 inside our Talent Garden UBI Banca campus, a campus built in partnership with one of the largest banks in Italy. Farmakom was idealised and developed creating a tailor-made digital business solution for pharmacists: a high-tech, easy-to-use ecommerce generator to sell medication online nationwide.

In Italy 2015 the liberalisation of online sales of over-the-counter medication was a huge game changer for local pharmacies, and the need to adapt to this new digital world was precisely the reason Farmakom was born, and Talent Garden UBI Banca gave this innovative idea a place to thrive.
We spoke to Andrea Mangilli the founding partner and manager of Farmakom to find out more.

What is Farmakom?

Farmakom is the meeting point between a historical and specialised professional the “pharmacist”, and dynamic tech experts in a constantly changing digital world. We provide a platform suitable for a pharmacy, able to integrate automatically with the most widespread management and databases providing all references to over-the-counter products on the market, complete with description and images, thus avoiding the pharmacist wasting time entering data.

What is the added value of Farmakom?

Farmakom is certainly not the only player to provide digital platforms for pharmacies that want to start an ecommerce, so defining our USP was a fundamental step. An instrument is useful only if it’s user-friendly and efficient, so the point we focused on most was making our platform a complete solution: for this reason, during the development phase, we constantly interacted with pharmacists interested in the project to create a tool that answered real needs. Once we reached the desired structure, we centralised the creation of all ecommerce to the point of generating a complete and integrated system with a click. This SaaS logic has also allowed us to create a unified database with information on customer purchases. This is useful for understanding how the consumer moves in the national market, what are their tastes, what are the differences depending on regions, and especially what are the best selling products: this has allowed us to enrich our offer with verified information, useful for increasing the commercial value of the pharmacists.

How did Talent Garden UBI Banca contribute to the creation of this project?

Farmakom stems from a reflection on the pharmacy market, identifying a need in the market and a demand to provide a precise answer.
But how could this idea truly be accomplished? That is when Talent Garden UBI Banca came in, providing us with the ideal ground for the projects maturation. On the one hand meeting with DNH – Investment Partners, who contributed with the “know how” to generate business contacts nationwide and on the other, the opportunity to connect easily with other professionals in the digital sector. This allowed us to analyse both the marketing strategies on the web and the most appropriate technology to create a digital platform as high-performance as easy to use.
The environment in Talent Garden aims precisely to encourage the growth of ideas and to prevent the brilliance of intuition from being lost due to the lack of the necessary means to realise it.

What does Talent Garden mean to you?

In many ways, Talent Garden UBI Banca is the home of Farmakom. In this campus, we were born, raised, and now live. It is a familiar place that hosts all our activities, and that stimulates us to grow and to improve: This is a community filled with new ideas, innovative technologies, different personalities and revolutionary visionaries who meet in this place and talk, strengthening each other. The interaction with the other taggers allows us to find new ideas and new tools that otherwise we would not be able to see. The philosophy of coworking is precisely this: Listening to other allows you to broaden your horizons. Being proud of one’s ideas is normal, but sometimes it can make you blind: Talent Garden questions these ideas in a constructive way to find new solutions.

What would you recommend to a person who wants to become an entrepreneur?

Two tips: one, be ready to question yourself and your ideas. It is increasingly difficult to find a virgin market territory, and we must always deal with the competition and with the specifics of the sector. Entering unprepared means to jump into the lion’s den. Give some thought into your idea and your project: has anyone already done it? What added value can I bring? What do I need to be an active player in an already established market? Talent Garden UBI Banca has helped us a lot to ask ourselves these questions and find the answers to get us prepared for the baptism of fire of the market.

Two, practice patience. Every business needs constancy, dedication and investments, both of time and money. Before creating the first prototypes of the platform we spent many months collecting market data and studying them, interviewing pharmacists and getting in tune with their world. An idea does not become a success overnight, do not expect to get great results right away or to break-even. But if an idea is valid, it is like a rough diamond: if you spend the time to clean it and cut it, its value will be enormous.