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Newpharma: from sick care to health care

Ready for the next exciting chapter in our growth story

A hands-on mentality and a strong focus on the conscious consumer. “That’s what we and Korys have in common and that’s also why we hit it off right away,” says co-founder and outgoing CEO of Newpharma, Jérôme Gobbesso. The newly appointed CEO, Gilles Jourquin, is of the same opinion. Since summer 2021, the Liège-based online pharmacy has been fully owned by investment company Korys and the Colruyt Group. We spoke to both men just as the baton was handed over.

‘Like us, they have an entrepreneurial mindset and are keen to boost local employment.’

Jérôme Gobbesso, co-founder and outgoing CEO of Newpharma

‘At Newpharma, we want to help people stay healthy, enabling them to make better and healthier choices. Patients are becoming consumers, and, hopefully, Newpharma will contribute to transforming sick care into health care.’

 

Gilles Jourquin, CEO of Newpharma

Building cathedrals

“Building and creating have always been in me. If I’d lived in the Middle Ages, I would have built cathedrals,” says Jérôme Gobbesso. Together with Mike Vandenhooft, we built an e-commerce cathedral from scratch. “Yes, we’ve pushed the boundaries, and not only with Newpharma. We’ve also made a vast contribution to the transformation of our sector. We’ve created many employment opportunities for a group that’s hard to reach, low-skilled workers. Our staff work extremely hard, so we think it’s important that they feel connected to our story and enjoy working for us. To foster team spirit, we organise lots of activities such as a Christmas market and parties with a food truck and a chip stand, and on Fridays we invite everyone for a drink in the pub. I’m extremely proud of where we are today, and now it’s up to Gilles and his team to take the next step.”

‘Would we have been successful without our investors? Certainly, but with a lot more stress and worry.’

Jérôme Gobbesso, co-founder and outgoing CEO of Newpharma

Support wherever it’s needed

The fact that the Colruyt Group and Korys are making this commitment together is quite special, because co-investment is not an everyday occurrence. Jérôme explains why it makes perfect sense in this particular case: “To us, Korys and the Colruyt Group are kind of like the left and right hemispheres of the same brain. When Korys came on board in 2017 and acquired 39% of the shares in Newpharma, it soon became apparent that we’d made the right choice. Like us, they have an entrepreneurial mindset and are keen to boost local employment. They wanted to understand our business through and through and clearly take a long-term view. Another thing that struck us was the Korys team’s very human approach. We see our employees as part of our story because we’re well aware that our success largely depends on their commitment and dedication. Korys shares that view wholeheartedly. Would we have been successful without our investors? Certainly, but with a lot more stress and worry.”

Gilles Jourquin adds: “When the Colruyt Group also decided to acquire a stake in our company, it immediately confirmed to us that they really believe in our future. We’ve already seen plenty of examples of how useful it is to be able to call on the Group’s experienced back-office staff. They have a host of solutions to just about any practical problem (laughs). If we have any questions about barcodes or the latest regulations on CO2 emissions for deliveries, or if we want a benchmark in a particular subject area, the Colruyt Group always has a specialist who can help us, or even an entire department that sorts it out for us. Take, for instance, the construction of our new building, something that’s quite complex for a growth company like Newpharma.”

Patient becomes consumer

But mindset is not the only factor that makes for a strong match. Strategically, Newpharma, Korys and the Colruyt Group complement each other well. “That’s right,” adds Gilles. “Korys deliberately invests in the Conscious Consumer and Life Sciences ecosystems, and that fits in perfectly with the direction we want to take. Look, technology has evolved so much. We have to learn to make full use of all these new opportunities. Consumers have changed fundamentally too; they’ve become much more conscious of what they’re purchasing.

At Newpharma, we want to help people stay healthy, enabling them to make better and healthier choices. Patients are becoming consumers, and, hopefully, Newpharma will contribute to transforming sick care into health care. The goal is to enable people to enjoy a healthy life to the full. I’m more than happy to get behind that challenge. Here at Newpharma, we’re all set to write the next exciting chapter in our growth story, together with Korys and the Colruyt Group.”

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