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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - Innovation Nest case study: Doctrina (Slovenia), ICT

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In many industries, scientific developments can make a big difference from one day to the next. The pharmaceutical industry is a prime example. “We believe that keeping knowledge up to date is crucial for professional development, so we wanted to make it accessible to anyone, anytime and anywhere,” says Tomaž Erjavec, CEO of Doctrina. “When it comes to the latest pharmaceutical products, representatives of pharmaceutical companies try to visit health professionals and personally convey the latest information. But they only have limited penetration into the market. They can reach - at best - an estimated 30% of health professionals. At a pharmacy for example, they’ll be talking to the manager but not all the staff, right? And it’s also incredibly awkward if they need to jump a queue to talk to a doctor while patients have to wait outside,” explains Tomaž, who set up Doctrina with his business partner Jure Pučko, both leveraging off their prior experience working in the pharmaceutical industry.

Doctrina offers online education to pharmacists, specialist retailers, doctors and other healthcare professionals through interactive video courses. “Each video is about eight minutes long and the key thing is that they can watch it and get all the relevant information about a product whenever it suits them. When it comes to sales visits from the representatives of pharmaceutical companies, 90% of the time ‘is not a good time’. Health professionals are busy people. By using videos, we overcome this problem,” Tomaž says. “The approach is less costly, more efficient and ultimately more effective.”

In mid-2017, Doctrina received an important equity investment from Innovation Nest, a venture capital firm backed by the EIF under the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe. “It helped us to scale-up the business,” explains Tomaž, “expand to new countries, strengthen our marketing department, develop the products…But equally important was the advice, the ‘smart money’, because through Innovation Nest, we got access to their network of contacts, and to advice on all issues pertaining to running a business. They gave us a helicopter view with their ten years of experience. The boost is more than just the money.”

With clients including the big pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and GSK, Doctrina is growing fast. But it’s not all about sales, as Tomaž points out: “Throughout this process, I basically learned that I knew nothing. So in this business we keep our ears open. We try to close the feedback loop – hearing what the healthcare professionals think, what they want more of, what their needs are… Two-way communication is key.”

Company: Doctrina (Slovenia)

Type of business: ICT

EIF financing: InnovFin Equity, EFSI

Financial intermediary: Innovation Nest

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Spain, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/sl

 

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