First Stage Investor

New Pick: Invest in Fully Staffed Pharmacies

New Pick: Invest in Fully Staffed Pharmacies
By Andy Gordon
Date January 28, 2021

Deal Details
Startup: ShiftPosts
Deadline: Friday, January 29th, midnight
Security type: Convertible note
Valuation cap: $4 million
Interest rate: 10%
Note term: 36 months
Minimum investment: $1,000
Where to invest: SeedInvest

Let’s cast our eyes northward for a moment. There are 11,000 pharmacies in Canada. And a quarter of them rely on a single company to ensure that they always have a pharmacist behind the counter. 

That’s a lot of faith in one company. But what’s really interesting is the kind of company it is. It’s tiny… and new. It was reconstituted with brand new ownership and leadership in 2019. 

This small unassuming company has an incredible platform that has taken the pharmacy industry by storm. It basically solves a big behind-the-scenes pain point. Pharmacies may be dispensing 21st century medication. But they’re using 20th century tools — like spreadsheets — to hire temporary workers. 

In this day and age, that makes no sense — especially in a heavily regulated industry like pharmacies. Every fill-in pharmacist must present their certifications. And the pharmacy has to document it because come audit time, it will be asked for proof that all its pharmacists — full time and part-time — are certified. 

Apart from that, matching talent with place and purpose can easily go awry. Suppose that pharmacy managers have two or three backup workers they use. But what happens when one moves away, one has already lined up a job for that day, and the third is sick? In many places, drug stores aren’t allowed to open their doors without a pharmacist present. And if you can’t open, you can’t make money (or give people medicine).

And that’s exactly where the little company I mentioned earlier comes in. It’s called ShiftPosts. And it’s created a platform that smoothly connects pharmacies in need of certified and available pharmacists with such workers. ShiftPosts has three powerful factors driving it forward — a terrific product, timing and the team itself. Think of it as the company’s “Three T’s.” Let’s go through them one at a time.

  • A terrific product. ShiftPosts provides all the information a pharmacy needs on one screen. Users are never more than a couple of clicks away from getting a vetted, certified person who fits their “when and where” need. 

There are other companies providing similar services. None are as good as ShiftPosts. It has the biggest database of pharmaceutical professionals. It can validate skills in real time and confirm certifications within minutes. And it’s not limited to helping find part-time or temporary workers. It can also manage a pharmacy’s permanent workforce for just a few extra bucks a month. Plus, it provides privacy and security by hiding a pharmacy’s network of fill-ins from other users. 

And there’s a big bottom-line benefit to the pharmacies. They pay 40-to-50% less than what traditional temp staffing agencies charge. And the fill-in pharmacists earn 15-to-20% more. ShiftPosts’ platform is also highly rated. 

“The quality of candidates have been great and I have asked for repeated shifts of the same candidates,” one pharmacy owner said of ShiftPosts. “Definitely a huge improvement from other agencies we have used in the past, no comparison.”

  • Uncanny timing. Pharmacies and pharmacy workers are under duress. It’s flu season. There are still huge lines for COVID-19 tests. And COVID-19 vaccine rollouts can’t happen fast enough. 

In the middle of all this are pharmacies and drug stores. Many jurisdictions are looking for ways to integrate full-time pharmacists with part-timers to keep up with demand. Huge drug store chains and stores with their own pharmacies like Walmart and Costco (to name two companies in ShiftPosts’ large and growing pipeline) are weighing plans to hire thousands of extra people to give injections. Mobile units that can travel from site to site are being formed. 

Marshaling these life-saving forces requires a war-like effort. But using spreadsheets to plan and organize it is a fool’s errand, more reminiscent of WW2 than our age of powerful smartphones and computers.  

ShiftPosts’ timing couldn’t be better. It has the digital tools to advance our fight against a still spreading and deadly virus RIGHT NOW.

Which is why Montana is close to signing an arrangement for ShiftPosts to work with a local agency and its roster of 10,000 pharmacists and workers. ShiftPosts would match talent to purpose in the state’s ambitious plans to scale up testing and vaccine disbursement. The contract could serve as a model of how ShiftPosts’ technology should be used to leverage large but disorganized rosters of healthcare workers in the country’s fight against this deadly virus. 

  • Outstanding team. Elizabeth Cooper is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of ShiftPosts. When the company was struggling a couple years back, it handed the reins over to Elizabeth. She’s a veteran startup entrepreneur who has worked closely with VC firms including Accel Partners and Draper Ventures. Elizabeth knows which buttons to push to get startups to the next growth phase, and then the one after that, and so on. Her strategy to establish ShiftPosts in Canada before tackling the U.S. market was spot-on. I completely trust that she’ll continue to make the right decisions in guiding ShiftPosts to success. Of course, it helps that she doesn’t have to do it alone. She works with Dave McLean, a deeply experienced Co-CEO. Dave started his career as a pharmacist and has held several CEO positions in the last 40 years. Together, they make a strong dynamic duo.  

The good news is now that use of ShiftPosts’ platform is rapidly spreading in Canada, the company is ready to focus on the U.S… where its technology is desperately needed. 

There are around 88,000 pharmacies in the U.S. If ShiftPosts can grab around 15% of the U.S. market — which is less than half of what its market share will be in Canada by the end of this year — its revenues will spike this year. And its value will too. ShiftPosts projects revenues of more than $6M next year. That’s about 16 times what it made in 2020. Even if valuation lags behind revenue growth, I can’t see it being below $30 million at that point. 

That’s an 8X increase on your investment price of $4 million in just two years. Not quite the 10X I usually look for — but rarely is that 10X achieved in less than five years. If all goes according to plan, ShiftPosts can do it in about three years, I estimate. 

ShiftPosts has been expanding at a 60%-to-80% clip since the pandemic. It has pilots in 210 stores, with a pipeline of an additional 1,250 stores waiting to sign up for its services. That’s a great start. Its progress should accelerate from here — which makes its modest $4 million cap a very attractive price and a great deal for investors in this round. 

How to Invest

ShiftPosts is raising up to $2.5 million on SeedInvest ($1.07 million through its crowdfunding round). If you don’t already have a SeedInvest account, you’ll need to sign up for one. Once you verify your account and are logged in to SeedInvest, visit the ShiftPosts deal page. Then click the button to invest. Enter the amount you want to invest, starting as low as $1,000 and proceed through the required steps. Be sure your investment is confirmed, and then you’re good to go.


This opportunity, like all early-stage investments, is risky. Early-stage investments often fail. The investment you’re making is NOT liquid. Expect to hold your position for five to 10 years. An earlier exit is always possible but should not be expected.

All that said, I believe ShiftPosts offers an attractive risk-reward ratio.

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