Plenful picks up $17M to automate administrative tasks for pharmacists

Startup Plenful launched out of stealth seven months ago to tackle the labor challenges and administrative bottlenecks plaguing pharmacy operations.

Plenful, which developed an artificial intelligence workflow automation platform to streamline pharmacy and healthcare operations, banked $17 million in series A funding to build out its infrastructure and fuel more product development. The startup picked up $9 million last October and has raised $25 million total to date.

The company also will expand the use of machine learning with a focus on large language models to create the "best possible, seamless experience for customers," Joy Liu, CEO and founder of Plenful, said.

“Our mission is to empower pharmacy and healthcare teams with tools that alleviate the burden of manual administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on what matters most—providing exceptional patient care and empowering their staff," she said in a press release.

Liu, a former finance executive turned healthcare executive, saw the pain points for pharmacists firsthand when she served as director of strategic operations at Shields Health Solutions, a specialty pharmacy company.

"I was spending five days a week within the four walls of health systems' specialty pharmacies, working alongside pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and clinicians, and it was eye-opening to me how much manual administrative work was burdening not just myself but also our team members," Liu said during an interview in October. "That firsthand experience is what really inspired us on where we wanted to focus and tackle the problem from an automation lens." 

Plenful aims to modernize pharmacy operations through advanced automation and AI. The company offers a no-code, AI-informed, healthcare workflow automation tool for pharmacy operations that allows pharmaceutical technicians to automate manual and administrative workflows so they can focus on top-of-license tasks and human-centered processes, according to the company.

The company's no-code software works with unstructured and structured data sources and is designed to be highly configurable.

Available for health system pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, long-term care pharmacies, compounding pharmacies and specialty providers, Plenful reduces manual work by up to 97% and can identify millions of dollars in savings opportunities.

The U.S. healthcare system faces nearly $1 trillion in manual and administrative labor costs, worsened by post-COVID labor shortages and employee burnout. Recent significant declines in pharmacist graduation rates have compounded the administrative challenges faced by pharmacy operation teams, according to the company.

The startup has more than 25 customers including Tampa General Hospital, Renown Health, Salinas Valley Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield and dozens of other innovative healthcare teams. 

Plenful's platform offers several use cases for healthcare and pharmacy operations including 340B auditing, financial reporting and referral management.

The platform can optimize inventory planning, detect rate discrepancies to maximize revenue capture, proactively monitor and alert for shortages and waste and forecast inventory demand. The technology also assists with data entry automation.

"Our organization has greatly benefited from Plenful's automated software, which has streamlined the oversight of our 340B program. Their team members who supported our go-live efforts were knowledgeable, responsive, and attentive to our organization's needs. I recommend Plenful to any organization seeking to leverage machine learning to sustain and advance their 340B program," said Clement Miller, chief operating officer at Salinas Valley Health, in a statement.

The series A funding round was led by TQ Ventures with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Mitchell Rales (co-founder and chairman of Danaher), Susa Ventures and existing investors.

“We invested in Plenful because of their team, their deep understanding of customer pain points, their strong progress and execution, and their vision for a better healthcare system. As a venture capital firm that backs founders building the future, we believe Plenful represents the future of pharmacy and healthcare operations," said Andrew Marks, partner and co-founder at TQ Ventures.