Putting surplus medical equipment to good use

About $765 billion in supplies are wasted each year. Medinas Health wants to change that

San Francisco Hospital’s neurology department estimates it jettisons nearly $3 million worth of surplus medical supplies each year. That’s just one division in one hospital in one city, but it’s indicative of the billions in supplies that are wasted each year.

One woman—26-year-old Chloe Alpert—wants to change all that.

Comparing hospital storerooms to the open-air markets of Marrakesh—the ones renowned for stalls stacked floor-to-ceiling with spices, silks, rugs, and other items—Alpert settled on the name Medinas Health for her Berkeley-based company.

“We started looking and researching,” Alpert says. “We talked to clinical engineers, supply-chain managers, CFOs of hospitals, just racking our brains and asking, ‘Is this really an issue?’”

“For me, I like problem solving, fixing things,” says Chloe Alpert. “That’s why I wake up in the morning.”

Launched in 2017, her startup seeks to take surplus medical supplies from large hospital systems and reroute them to small clinics and nursing homes. By matching surplus to demand through a sophisticated system of algorithms, Medinas Health provides a seamless and user-friendly platform that will save money on both sides of the transaction.

“Buyers want something that’s fast, easy, and trustworthy,” Alpert says. “They can just push a button, submit information to our platform, and then we handle the rest.”

Medinas Health, which Alpert calls a “market network,” works with third-party partners who can disassemble, ship, and reassemble medical equipment. It was the winner in the Business Ventures category at WeWork’s Creator Awards San Francisco, held on May 10.

The operation currently has four full-time and two part-time staffers. This March, Medinas Health closed a $1 million seed funding round co-led by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures and General Catalyst’s Rough Draft Ventures.

Well schooled in the world of startups, Alpert says entrepreneurship is in her DNA.

“Even if Silicon Valley was the most unsexy thing in the world, I’d still be here,” she says. “If I can establish a viable income, a roof over my head, and take care of my cat, I’m good. For me, I like problem solving, fixing things. That’s why I wake up in the morning.”

Alpert began as an entrepreneur in high school when she and her mother opened two soap stores in her Pennsylvania hometown. Upon graduating from college, she built a profitable jewelry manufacturing company.

Being part of several startups has been a “lonely” place, Alpert says. But she calls her Medinas Health team a “family.”

In the near future, Alpert wants to make Medinas Health the go-to name for health-care companies looking to buy or sell surplus equipment.

“My job is to make us the obvious bet,” Alpert says.

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