South African startup Contro, an online prescription and delivery service for trusted sexual health products such as birth control and erectile dysfunction treatment, started life on a high, so to speak, with over 100 users and bank pre-seed funding.

Launched in May, Control allows individuals to get a new prescription for any of the treatments mentioned above by offering a one-time digital consultation with a verified doctor for ZAR 150 (US $ 10).

During the consultation, the individual is assessed and, if deemed fit by the physician, prescribes the appropriate medication. Contro then ensures that the person’s medications are delivered to their doorstep for free each month in discreet packaging, offers automatic refills, and allows people to cancel whenever they want. Using its platform, Contro claims users can save up to ZAR 400 (US $ 28) with each repeat cycle.

“Contro is a facilitator and provides a convenient, affordable and discreet service for individuals to obtain their sexual health medications without the stigma, hassle or expense that individuals currently experience,” says Alex Schmid, who co-founded the startup at alongside Ross Malan and David. Saunders in May 2020. Oddly, Schmid discovered the gap in the startup market through his ex-partner.

“Every few months she complained about the tedious and expensive process of getting her birth control pill, to which I once replied ‘Surely you can order it online? “- and his response blew the bulb,” he told Disrupt Africa.

“Back then, there was no alternative but to see a general practitioner every three to six months to get a new prescription for the same birth control drug that you may have been using for months or even longer. years. This is expensive and most GPs will charge a full consultation fee ranging from ZAR 400 to ZAR 600. It doesn’t stop there. After getting a prescription, you still need to go to the pharmacy every 28 days to collect your medications. Factor in wasted time, travel and parking costs and you start to wonder “why?” “

Through research, Schmid and his partners also found that the low-key nature of a subscription-based contraception sales platform also lends itself to helping men get treatment for erectile dysfunction.

“We have found that men are more likely not to seek treatment due to the embarrassment and stigma surrounding ED and prefer not to go to a pharmacy to pick up their medication due to the stigma surrounding it. surrounds, ”Schmid said.

“We have found that this theme is generally consistent across sexual health care and allows Contro to expand its product line. We will seek to include both prescription and non-prescription hair loss treatments, as well as non-prescription products such as tampons, sanitary napkins, condoms, pregnancy tests, and STI test kits. and well-being. These will soon be available as one-off purchases through the Contro platform. “

For now, it’s limited to birth control and erectile dysfunction treatment, but the startup has seen strong early adoption. With no marketing spend, it already has hundreds of users, and it also raised pre-seed funding in early 2021. In addition to adding new products, Schmid said the startup is also keen to expand there. international at one point.

“Currently, we are present across the country in South Africa and are looking to consolidate our place in the market for the time being. However, we are already looking at markets like Kenya, Nigeria and Botswana, ”he said.