Last year, Keith McCarty, a former sales director at Yammer, saw a convergence between two popular, if not suprising trends: on-demand services and medical marijuana. The result is Eaze, an Uber-like medical marijuana delivery service that he launched just over a month ago.
Like the other on-demand services out there, Eaze lets users easily order a specific strain and quantity of marijuana, finds the nearest deliveryman with that specific strain in stock, and then tracks the deliveryman in real-time to get an accurate ETA. Eaze says it can deliver marijuana in San Francisco in roughly 10 minutes.
“Looking at the bigger picture, we’re moving in the direction of people wanting things ‘now,’” McCarty said. “The first part is because of technology. This wasn’t possible before smartphones became de facto. Through smartphones and geolocation we’re able to provide on-demand services because we’re able to know where the consumer is located as well as the service provider — in our case the driver — and provide an ETA.”
Applying these ideas to healthcare, and the medical marijuana industry specifically, satisfies the three pillars that McCarthy thinks are necessary for a successful on-demand service company — it implies a frequency of use, allows for growth that can meet demand, and is inherently social.
“When you create a behavior around using your product or service, the more frequently they need your service the easier it is,” McCarty said, noting that patients who require medical marijuana definitely make repeat purchases.
In terms of the second pillar, on-demand services can quickly fail if they cannot match consumer demand. Take car services Lyft and Gett. Both had issues when launching in New York because they did not have enough drivers to meet the requests for rides.
“Choosing a product that you can grow and be agile with on the supply side is really important,” McCarty said.
The third pillar of being inherently social clearly applies to medical marijuana, since patients will often use it with one another — and share their experience with his service when they do.
“If you can get word-of-mouth spread because people use the service with other people, it’ll grow faster,” McCarty said. “If you think about it, patients that can’t leave the house are a key audience for on-demand services.”
While Eaze is starting off as a marijuana-delivery service, it plans to expand to other prescription drugs in the future. Once the company has the foundation in place to deliver marijuana, McCarthy says Eaze will be able to easily add in other medicines.
According to McCarty, Eaze has had thousands of patients sign up in just the first couple weeks of being live. And they have processed hundreds of deliveries via dozens of drivers.
Besides expanding into other drugs, Eaze is also looking to expand geographically. The company is hoping to launch in all 23 states where marijuana is legal. Users can sign up for Eaze outside of San Francisco as well, and the startup will prioritize where to launch based on the demand from consumers.
The startup is also close to securing a round of funding.
“If somebody can deliver a service that’s faster or easier or quicker or even more professional in our case, why wouldn’t you?” McCarty said. “Technology offers a more scalable and effective way to do things. I think it’s overall a good thing. That’s what we’re hearing from our patients. A huge majority of them come back and use our service over and over again. That’s a great sign that we’re delivering value.”
Rebecca Borison is a contributor at Street Fight.