In Conversation: Branden Denchfield – Co-Founder – Medical Now

BioBuzz recently caught up with Branden Denchfield of Medical Now to learn about their mission to deliver certified personal protective equipment for hospitals and first responders in need. We humbly serve doctors, institutions, businesses, and individuals across the US and abroad.

Even though Branden just graduated from the University of Maryland this May 2020 he has entrepreneurship in his blood and is no stranger to running a business. He has six years of e-commerce experience and is currently runs four online brands for which he sources products from all over the world and sells on Amazon. Additionally, he is the Director of Investor Relations at Startup Shell, a student-run coworking space and business incubator at the University of Maryland. Prior to UMD Brandon was at Montgomery College where he was in the Entrepreneurship club and graduated with Honors.

Where did you and your co-founders meet?

I met our co-founders, Alex Onufrak and Rushi Challa through the University of Maryland’s student-run business incubator, Startup Shell. Each cofounder runs their own startup in industries ranging from ecommerce to renewable energy.

Rushi Challa is currently a medical student at George Washington University. In addition, he has also been involved with numerous startups including a real estate software company which he founded in undergrad. Currently, after seeing his fellow medical school professors and friends suffering with PPE shortages, he joined MedicalNow to support them. 

Alexei Onufrak is a current University of Maryland (UMD) student majoring in Information Science. He runs a renewable energy business called Solr Tech, developing the first way to turn any outdoor patio umbrella into a solar charging station, winning multiple startup competitions, securing IP, and raising capital. He is also the Executive Director of Startup Shell, the premier startup incubator at UMD. His operational and technical experience, coupled with early to mid-stage business acumen help Medical Now deliver vetted PPE, efficiently.

What motivated you and your co-founders to start the company?

As the devastation of COVID-19 grew and we began reading story after story of poorly manufactured, low quality PPE, we realized we could help. Many nonprofits formed with the goal of supplying those in need, but few organizations focused on sourcing quality material. This was especially apparent when Rushi, who currently attends the George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences, told us the impact he sees on local hospitals and health care providers.  In an inspired effort, each of us put our respective startups aside to establish Medical Now LLC, with the goal of providing PPE to hospitals, first responders and health care providers in need.  Combining our operational, supply chain, and medical expertise, we recognized that we had the tools to distribute certified medical goods at low costs directly to first responders.

What is Medical Now’s business model and how does that enable you to help Nonprofits and hospitals better than other suppliers/distributors?

Medical Now supplies high quality, low priced PPE to hospitals and nonprofits across the United States by leveraging our collection of vetted suppliers and existing relationships with medical executives. Our advantage stems from an ability to source a wide range of certified medical equipment while navigating the tumultuous international supply chains involved. Branden has a degree in Supply Chain Management and over four years’ experience sourcing products and optimizing international supply chains, while Rushi and Alex each have extensive networks that enabled us to connect with key points of contacts at major hospitals and non-profits. By combining our supply chain prowess with our network of healthcare contacts, we have been able to find success from the start.

What are some of your early customers and success stories that you can share?

We were extremely happy when we received our first large order from MedSupplyDrive, a local nonprofit in the DC area. The founders of MedSupplyDrive created the organization while attending medical school and have been able to raise money to donate medical supplies to hospitals and first responders across the country. One of the founders of MedSupplyDrive attended school with our cofounder, Rushi, which is how we were able to connect with them. With their extensive distribution network, MedSupplyDrive has been able to distribute large volumes of our PPE to healthcare facilities across the United States.

What do you hope the company will be able to achieve in the coming few months?

As we scale and establish ourselves as reputable distributors, we hope to begin supplying N95 masks to hospitals very soon. Most manufacturers require a minimum order of 100,000 masks, so our goal is to consolidate pre-orders to raise the funds for such a purchase. We also hope to transition into a broker role for parties interested in purchasing large quantities of PPE. With our network of suppliers and our ability to source nearly any product desired, we see ourselves as a key player in this field moving forward.

What do you hope the company will be able to achieve in the coming few months?

Go for it! With all the changes in the world, new markets are being created overnight, providing the perfect opportunity to jump into a venture. Find yourself a cohesive and multi-dimensional team that can take advantage of each member’s unique skills. Communicate with them regularly and stay up to date with current trends in the industry. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, but if you do, learn from them and use them to improve moving forward. Finally remember, some of the greatest companies were born in a crisis. There is no better opportunity than the present.

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Andy Eckert

Andy Eckert

Andy has worked with BioBuzz for the last decade to help spread the word of the BioHealth Capital Region even before it was branded with that name. His background includes years at MedImmune supporting the Commercial Operations Organization before becoming a BioHealth Nomad working with various clients in Operations, Communications and Strategic Services.

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