Thanks to COVID, health startup Capsule ($PRIVATE:CAPSULECARES) has soared in popularity and size - and it isn’t just a temporary fluke. The digital pharmacy and prescription delivery service’s engagement and hiring are soaring and holding steady in what could be a significant blow to brick and mortar competitors.

Apple Store reviews for Capsule are up 42% from January and 100% year-over-year with an overall rating of 4.9/5. Capsule pitches itself as the easy alternative to pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS, bringing prescriptions to your door - a pitch that caught on quickly in its hometown of New York City as pharmacy-goers weren’t too hot on the idea of standing in lines with sick people as the city became the epicenter of the American outbreak. In the three-day period from March 9 to March 12, Capsule’s review count increased by 1,700 reviews, as more consumers looked to get prescriptions without setting foot outdoors.

Word of mouth played a huge part in Capsule’s recent growth, as well; From March 16 to its May 11 peak, Facebook Talking About counts increased from 5 to 1,495 - that’s a 29,900% increase. It looks like all those ads plastering subway walls helped customers remember that there was an alternative to the neighborhood Duane Reade. While there’s been a steep downturn in the last month - perhaps as discovery turns into regular use - current counts are still levelling out 8,700% higher than they were pre-pandemic. If those new users keep using Capsule even after COVID is gone, it could be a serious blow to Walgreens and CVS which are already fighting off advances from similar services like Amazon’s PillPack.

But Capsule’s new users are likely not just in the New York City market. Shortly after the company’s $200 million funding round in September, CEO Eric Kinariwala announced it would use that money to “be in all of the major cities in the next 18 to 36 months.” That’s likely been derailed a bit by COVID, but Capsule has still expanded to Chicago, Boston and the Twin Cities.

All that attention is spurring big gains on payrolls. So far this year, Capsule's LinkedIn Headcount is up nearly 60%. The majority of those new faces - 114, to be specific - were added after April 1.

Early spring proved to be a sweet spot for Capsule as it experienced its largest growth ever. It’s hard to tell how lasting COVID’s impact on consumer behavior will be, especially with fear of a second wave mounting, but it seems like Capsule is here to stay; At the very least, a second wave is likely in the US, which could boost Capsule's business further.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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