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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Startup Recruitment] Caring for Community Health|Future Aisei Pharmacy with Roots in the Community through New Business

Aisei Pharmacy operates over 400 dispensing pharmacies nationwide. As the company will soon celebrate its 40th anniversary, we are challenging the Accelerator Program in search of the next pillar of our business! Aiming to become a pharmacy that is needed by local residents, the company will explore the possibility of creating new businesses. In this interview, we spoke with Hiroyuki Hori, General Manager of the Business Planning Department of Aisei Pharmacy Inc. about why Aisei Pharmacy is now taking on the challenge of open innovation with startups.

Why try the Accelerator Program now?

Q. What is the nature of your company's business?

Aisei Pharmacy is,Approximately 400 dispensing pharmacies nationwideWe are doing our best to meet the needs of our customers and to help them achieve their goals. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the company's founding, and consolidated sales have grown to over 70 billion yen.

Our main format for opening pharmacies is the "medical mall," which is a collection of clinics with different departments in one location. We aim to become a pharmacy that can contribute to residents in "regional" locations, which include not only urban areas but also rural areas.

Q. What is the background of the Accelerator Program?

Against the backdrop of a super-aged society, dispensing fees are being revised severely year after year. Dispensing pharmacies are an industry that is greatly affected by these changes.

Since the dispensing business accounts for 90% of Aisei Pharmacy's consolidated net sales, it is difficult to foresee significant growth in the future if this trend continues.

Therefore, do not rely on the existing dispensing business,It is essential to move toward the creation of new business pillarsIt is.

Expectations for collaboration with startups

Q: Why did you use the open innovation method with startups to create new businesses?

I believe there are several methods of creating new businesses. For example, M&A is one of them, and we are always considering it. However, I believe that it is unrealistic to use these so-called "jump-start" methods as our main strategy, because they will not be realized unless we come across good deals.

We also tried to create a business by soliciting ideas from our employees, but we were not able to commercialize the idea due to limitations in terms of both ideas and structure with only internal resources. Faced with internal challenges, I strongly felt the need to seek help from outside the company.

However, it is not a question of co-creation with anyone outside the company. Although we are open to the possibility of creating a business with the cooperation of a consulting firm, we are concerned that it lacks a sense of speed. We feel a strong sense of crisis in our core business, so speed is important to us.

In that regard,The method of utilizing a venue for matching the technology and services that startups already have with our sense of the challenges we face is promising enough, up to and including the results.We believe that the

Q: What kind of startups would you like to collaborate with, and if you have an image of what kind of collaboration you would like to see?

Since we are in the "health care" business in our core business, we think it will be easier to gain understanding within the company if we can develop a new business in that area. In some cases, we believe that synergies with our core business can be expected.

I am wondering if it would be interesting to meet with startups in health-related technology, tech, etc.

What we can do because of open innovation with ISEI Pharmacy

What will be the theme of this program?

First, the first of the "things we want to achieve,"Businesses utilizing our resourcesThe theme will be set in the

As specific resources, we have more than 1,800 pharmacists who are healthcare professionals and pharmacy professionals. In addition, we have a network of more than 400 dispensing pharmacies nationwide, with approximately 1.5 to 2 million visitors per year.

Furthermore, pharmacies are often used by seniors. Therefore, it is important to provide a "Business development targeted at seniorsI also intend to make "The World's Most Beautiful People" a theme of the project.

On the other hand, we aim to be a community-based pharmacy, so we are not limited to businesses that utilize existing resources,Projects that help solve local problems and revitalize the local economyI am also interested in

For example, there are many elderly people or elderly couples living alone in Japan. If we can provide support not only for "health-related issues" but also for "lifestyle issues," we can contribute to solving local problems, which in turn will lead to support for health.

We would like to approach larger social issues because we can collaborate with our core business.

Q: What social issues do you most want to solve with this program?

Our company is "theCommunity-based pharmaciesAs an advocate of "the community", we would like to contribute to solving issues in the community. For example,Challenges in the fields of "unwellness" and "preventive medicineI would like to do so.

Until now, Aisei Pharmacies have focused on helping people after they have become ill and at the stage of administering medication, but from now on, we believe that we should be contributing even before they become ill.

For example, once dementia develops, there is very little that can be done. If we can support people in maintaining a healthy state for a long time by focusing on prevention and early detection, I believe that our raison d'etre will be enhanced more than ever.

Q: What are some of Aisei Pharmacy's strengths in promoting open innovation?

As I mentioned at the beginning of this report, many of the stores are opened in the form of "medical mall-type stores," characterized by multiple clinics and pharmacies in one location, working closely with doctors. Therefore,We are involved with patients, including clinics, rather than pharmacies alone.We are very proud of that. I believe that is our strength and characteristic.

What is Aisei Pharmacy's vision for the future?

Q: What was the reaction from within the company to actually collaborating with a startup with a different culture?

It may be honest to say that the majority of people in the company do not yet have an image of the company.
As the people in charge of this project, we are a little concerned about how fast we can keep up with the speed of a startup, but we are determined to keep up. I intend to encourage the company to move at that speed as well.

I myself have worked in a rather speed-oriented environment, and I would like to develop my business quickly while getting involved with startups!

Please tell us about the future you would like to achieve with Startup.

The company'sWe want to create the next "pillar" of our business.I believe that this is a good idea.

We do not expect to accomplish everything in this first program, but we are serious about creating new businesses through open innovation,I want to meet good startups who can build the "future" of ISEI Pharmacy together.I believe that this is a good idea.

In the future, I hope to see a future in which "although we say 'ISEI Pharmacy,' our main business is no longer a pharmacy. I would like to see a future in which different generations have different ideas of what our business should be when they hear the name of our company.

Naturally, we do not intend to stop the pharmacy business, but since the industry is limited in terms of growth potential, we would like to use this program as an opportunity to create a business with future growth potential.

Please give us a few words for the starters.

We are a group of amateurs in our first attempt at a cooperative venture, and we are sure we will cause you some inconvenience, but we are serious about our efforts.

We would like to actively receive various proposals and work together to build up our business.
Thank you for your cooperation!


name of companyAisei Pharmacy Co.
EstablishmentSeptember 1984
LocationMarunouchi Mitsui Building, 2-2-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
representativeEmi Fujii, President and Representative Director
Business OverviewDispensing pharmacy business Medical mall development business Nursing and welfare business Human resources business Real estate management business In-store media business
uniform resouce locatorhttps://www.aisei.co.jp/
Mr. Hiroyuki Hori General Manager, Business Planning Department, Aisei Pharmacy Co.
After working for a publishing company, he joined Hakuhodo, an advertising company, as an AE in charge of electric appliance manufacturers, house manufacturers, developers, etc. He was engaged in advertising production, media planning and buying in a wide range of areas from mass media such as TV, newspaper and radio to the web.
Joined Aisei Pharmacy in 2016. As head of in-store media business, he launched the business, and from 2022, he will be responsible for the creation and sales expansion of non-core businesses. Currently oversees the media business, merchandise sales business, PB business, e-commerce business, and other businesses.
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ai taniuchi
She has been working as a freelance writer at PORT by Creww since 2020.
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Startup Recruitment] Caring for Community Health|Future Aisei Pharmacy with Roots in the Community through New Business

Aisei Pharmacy has more than 400 dispensing pharmacies nationwide. As the company will soon celebrate its 40th anniversary, we are challenging the accelerator program in search of the next pillar of our business! Aiming to become a pharmacy that is needed by local residents, the company will explore the possibility of creating new businesses. In this interview, we spoke with Hiroyuki Hori, General Manager of the Business Planning Department of Aisei Pharmacy Inc. about why Aisei Pharmacy is now taking on the challenge of open innovation with startups.
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