SIRUM: Redistributing Unused Medicine State by State - FFWD

December 11, 2015 | Tech Nonprofits

SIRUM: Redistributing Unused Medicine State by State

This is the fifth post in a series highlighting the alumni of the 2014 Fast Forward accelerator.

Pharmacies, hospitals, manufacturers, and wholesalers throw away $5 billion dollars of unused medicine every year. From this frustrating fact, SIRUM was born. With experiences in health care, from public health programs at the Clinton Foundation to health care consulting at McKinsey & Company, three SIRUM founders who met at Stanford sought out to tackle this imbalance. They have created a tech nonprofit solution to get 70,000 Americans the prescription medicines they would otherwise be unable to afford. We sat down with SIRUM co-founder Kiah Williams to get a progress update a year after completing Fast Forward. We’ve summarized our conversation below.

Factors influencing growth

We grew the number of patients we serve each quarter by 5X. We did that with only 5 staff members. As we look to expand to more states so we can serve more people, we need to grow our internal capacity.

Impact metrics

20,000 patients now receive medicine through SIRUM every quarter. $5 million of perfectly good medicine that would have otherwise been destroyed is available to patients who need it every year. SIRUM operates in Oregon, Colorado, California, and as of this year, Ohio.

Why Fast Forward made a difference

As a small organization, we don’t have the bandwidth to advocate for changes in the nonprofit sector or the tech nonprofit sector. None of the organizations who go through Fast Forward have the capacity to do this. Shannon Farley and Kevin Barenblat are our advocates. They have our backs and are always thinking of us—they care a lot. Shannon nominated SIRUM for Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs, and that recognition has opened so many doors for us, including getting the chance to participate in the 2015 Forbes Change the World Competition, where we took home 1st prize and $250,000. As a result of these incredible opportunities, inbound programmatic requests have quadrupled.

Fast Forward critically broadened our community and peer network. We are still in touch with everyone from our cohort, and it’s been so valuable to have offline conversations with other tech nonprofit leaders.

Goals for 2016

SIRUM will expand into three more states.

Evidence for growth of the tech nonprofit ecosystem

There is definitely growth in the tech social impact sector. It used to be that everyone wanted to be an entrepreneur, then it was a social entrepreneur, and now everyone wants to be part of a tech startup for good.