Innovation in the energy and healthcare sectors is particularly complex. Universal solutions can’t be adapted to these incredibly technical fields. When it comes to innovating within these industries, deep research and an acute understanding of consumer behavior are necessary.

When Unither, a B2B pharmaceutical company, decided to propel innovation by creating a new business model in the form of a startup, they turned to Pathfinder, an ally in the understanding of how complexity can be funneled into life-changing solutions for patients. While the reduction of electricity consumption has become top-of-mind in line with current world events, Elax Energy partnered with Pathfinder to bring a very good idea to life.

Pathfinder By Agily

Long-term strategy combined with fast execution: the modus operandi of Pathfinder by Agily, the new subsidiary of Innovation studio Agily. Pathfinder allows corporations to innovate new business models by building startups or transforming existing entities. With the recently announced acquisition of Pathfinder by Agily, a new level of tech and design complements Pathfinder's existing offer, thanks to Agily’s 40-expert strong in-house product studio, thus making it Europe’s most tech-enabled Innovation studio.

From the creation from A to Z of the Curecall project, the startup developed for pharmaceutical group Unither to the total accompaniment and partnership of the startup Elax Energie, from ideation to delivery of both business model and product. Pathfinder provides the mindset, ecosystem and expertise to allow innovation to flourish.

Unither: an established pharmaceutical group

Unither logo

In 2019, the Unither group, which specializes in pharmaceutical solutions, set out to offer a different type of customer solution. The pharmaceutical industry is a fertile ground for problems to solve. Among these are the explosion of chronic diseases, due in part to the ageing population. Yet another, more treatable issue came to light following deep research: 60% of patients with chronic disease do not follow their treatment correctly. This leads to complications and even avoidable hospitalizations.

Faced with these problems presented by the emerging research findings, the Unither group decided to call on Pathfinder, to help them push forward to find adequate solutions to these very vital challenges.

Elax Energie: a budding startup

Elax Energie Logo

When Pathfinder crossed paths with the founder of Elax Energie, in 2020, the company was still in its infancy. A promising startup, full of great ideas.

The business was based on a simple observation, yet one that concerns us all: electric water heaters represent more than 30% of household energy consumption in France and of these 90% of installed water heaters do not take into account the real needs of occupants. The solution proposed by Elax Energy? A connected box that can be installed on any type of electric water heater, in order to reduce its energy consumption. The result? An average 30% electricity reduction. A step forward in the face of both ecological and price issues that dominate the electricity sector today.

Nevertheless, the small team which made up Elax at the time lacked resources, expertise and needed personalized support to develop optimally, and avoid errors. They called on Pathfinder, with a view to funding, but also support, expertise and experience. The project immediately appealed to Pathfinder’s sustainability mindset and the two companies set out to take on the challenges of electricity reduction as partners.

Pathfinder: every challenge, a unique solution

Issues are often hidden business opportunities, beneficial to both companies and the general population.

Curecall for Unither: the complete process of creating a startup.

Logo curecall

The creation of a startup for Unither was carried out in several stages, corresponding to the Pathfinder BUILD solution, for rapid startup setup. The process chronologically:

In October 2019, Pathfinder began the first phase of the project, which consists of carrying out a comprehensive report on Unither's value chain and current trends. The main objective of this phase is to determine 7 problems present in the pharmaceutical field, in order to propose a solution for each of them. When rendering this first step, two months later, Unither retained the Curecall solution.

From January 2020, the two companies will begin the joint construction of the product and financial roadmap. For this stage, they are accompanied by 130 qualified entrepreneurs. Models of the solution are then proposed, and tests are carried out. At the same time, the Pathfinder team conducts doctor/patient interviews to understand the needs of potential customers. This stage lasted a little over two months.
The startup was officially created in June 2020, with the operational launch of the minimum viable product (MVP) Curecall launching onto the market. The product offered is an SMS exchange platform, without application (more suited to an older population), which aims to support chronic patients in their medication intake, by sending them information on the medication they need to take: detailing dose, timing, and mode.

In January 2022, funds were successfully raised and the startup continues to thrive, while new iterations of the product are launched.

Many benefits have been derived from this collaboration on the side of Unither. First, they can now support their customers in a more optimized way regarding their medication intake. On top of that, they own a new business. One that is doing great.
Elax Energie: project support and financing.

The case of Elax Energie takes on a different form.

Because the startup was independently founded and not established through a corporate venture, an initial step was also a financial partnership with Pathfinder as an initial investor.

Pathfinder then went on to offer expertise and reinforcement for Elax Energie, with the creation of a team, establishment of research, marketing and positioning on the market. As usual, there was no billing from Pathfinder, who was delighted to add financing as part of the Elax Energie project.

A strategy that allowed both companies to grow, make profit and contribute to finding concrete solutions to the global energy crisis. Thanks to this support, Elax Energie was able to develop its business model, and today, the startup is helping multiple households control electricity costs and energy waste.

The future of Elax and CureCall.

Elax Energie is continuing its development throughout France. Their solution is increasingly recognized, so much so that the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty has listed them among companies recognised as a reference actor in the energy transition!

As for CureCall, they aim to reach a turnover of 33 million euros within five years and to start development in Latin America, particularly in Brazil. An ambitious goal, yet perfectly achievable in view of current market trends, the size of Unither and the initial innovation offered by Pathfinder.

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