Meet our Premium Member Sven Beichler – CEO & Founder of TOM Medications

Please tell us more about TOM Medications

TOM is a digital health startup with an app that helps people track their medication intake. With 3 million in-app interactions by TOM users per month, the TOM Community is today the largest, completely anonymous health platform with highly active chronic patients in Switzerland. The startup was founded in 2020 and for a) personal reasons due to several illness stories in my family and b) due to the fact that 40% (30 billion CHF) of our annual healthcare costs as well as preventable secondary diseases are caused by lack of adherence to treatment alone.

The TOM family, as we call it, includes more than 16 brilliant and highly motivated people fighting against lack of adherence and poor medications.

Tell us more about your plans for 2023? What is your long-term vision?

We just closed a funding round of 1.3 million together with our previous investors, but also with Sanitas and Galenica. We will scale our growth in the areas of community, distribution and markets. We want to become the world’s most engaged and largest chronic disease community ever seen. You can only do that if you create real added value for users. TOM is already at the forefront of therapy apps worldwide, with 10 interactions per day in the app.

What has been the biggest success that you have achieved in your startup?

Because of the fact that we offer so much added value in TOM, users use TOM extensively with all their medications. Nobody knows as much as TOM about the actual income of the patients. Not the health insurance company, not the pharmacy and not the doctor(s). Sometimes not even the patient himself really knows what he has actually taken and what he has not taken in retrospect.

But we can use MediChecks to precisely analyze whether there are unnecessary double medications or life-threatening interactions in a user’s medical prescriptions and/or therapy. We have also recently published our first study on this, which revealed some alarming results. Namely, 35% of the medications in the study contained unnecessary double medication and 2% acute life-threatening interactions. By alerting users anonymously to this danger, we are saving lives. I have seen myself with medications that the danger was reduced by an adjustment and thus a life was saved. That is the greatest motivation of all!  We are now introducing these anonymous MediChecks to insurance companies for their policyholders. This is definitely the biggest achievement so far, and we are very proud of it.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What are your biggest learnings?

As this is already my 6th startup, I made many mistakes already in earlier years. But as we all know, you never stop learning. This time, too, it is difficult to keep the focus. In retrospect, I would focus less on adding more functions and more on analyzing which values and functions create the most value and are system-critical in the health sector and for our users. We have now made up for that. It could have been 1 year earlier.

What motivates you to continue your business every day?

The chance to build a unique product that can save lives and also bring in sales and revenue.

One piece of advice for someone who is just starting out with their startup?

Talk to as many people as possible about your idea. Get advice, don’t be vain. And remember – it always, always takes longer than you think.

What does it mean to you to be a member of the Swiss Startup Association? 

SSA is one of the organizations that offer real added value for a change. That is not always the case. And besides, people know each other in the still rather small Swiss startup world. I can always meet old acquaintances here, which is a nice personal enrichment.

Would you recommend joining the Swiss Startup Association?

You always have to assess for yourself whether membership pays off. In this case, there are several factors that can make it worthwhile: The network of the organizers, the political and entrepreneurial activities and finally the events. But in the end it always depends on you, what and how you will use these opportunities. Nothing will be put in your lap.

Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you would like to share with us and our community?

If you are at the beginning of a startup adventure: Think big, don’t give up, and keep an eye on your burn rate, especially in these times. Good Luck!

Reach out to Sven on LinkedIn



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