It’s easy with PopBack

PopBack is an innovative multi-platform mobile health application that conveniently connects customers with pharmacies in their areas.

03 September 2019 | People

Michelline Nawatises

Bradley Morkel is the man behind the great initiative of a medicine delivery app called PopBack.

He was born in Rehoboth and is the eldest of three children.

After completing his matric at Windhoek High School, he went on to obtain a BA honours degree at the University of Pretoria, before working as a pharmaceutical sales representative.

His career took a different path when he ventured into medical and financial risk assessment for a multinational insurance company in Namibia.

When asked by The Zone what the importance of entrepreneurship is in the lives of the youth, he said the future lies with young people.

He said if we can get them to be innovative, creative and to collaborate, then they can change the country.

“Passion will only get you so far; you need a purpose to carry you through the toughest of times,” Morkel said.

The idea to create a medicine delivery app came to him on a Sunday, after a weekend of squash.

“I was in pain and did not want to get out of bed to get medication,” he said.

He got to the pharmacy and there was a long queue, which aggravated his back pain.

Unfortunately, once he reached the front of the queue he was told the medication he needed was unavailable. “Realising that we live in a technological era, an idea sparked, leading me to do more research on the delivery of medication at home or work,” Morkel said.

Morkel enrolled in the University of Namibia (Unam) incubation and entrepreneurship programme, which caters for unemployed graduates.

His creation, PopBack, is an innovative multi-platform mobile health application that conveniently connects customers with pharmacies in their areas.

It was created in January 2018 and allows pharmacists to create custom-made virtual online stores for consumers to purchase products from licensed pharmacies in Namibia.

The user-friendly platform helps patients to browse, securely buy, upload prescriptions and track orders.

Morkel’s advice to aspiring young entrepreneurs is the “people are the most important thing”.

“Business model and product will follow, if you have the right people.”

Several pharmacies have come on board and Morkel is currently working closely with three of them during the testing phase.

The business objective is to successfully launch the app in in all 14 regions and eventually in other countries.

Morkel said the feedback from family and friends has been positive.

“Seeing that there is a genuine interest and need, hearing stories of how it would simplify daily activities and lives has been rewarding, “he says of the app.

Morkel and his partner Jesse Mahola, who is a pharmacist, were among the top 15 finalists in the 2019 Startupper of the Year by Total Challenge and piqued the interest of possible collaborators in South Africa and Rwanda.

“A challenge was being rejected by five different financial institutions for a business start-up capital,” Morkel said.

Morkel is responsible for PopBack’s business development and branding, while Mahola is the co-founder and is in charge of operations.

The short-term goal of the app is to inspire youth and encourage creativity and collaborations for a better Namibia.

“No matter how insane an idea may seem or difficult the road ahead is, if you work hard you can achieve your dreams,” Morkel said.

His typical day consists of meeting with pharmacists and discussing strategy with his business partner.

They are still busy with external testing, while perfecting the processes and operations for the official launch of the app next month.

Morkel loves spending time with family and friends, playing squash and board games, including 30 Seconds and Uno, and watching rugby.

One thing Morkel would want to tell to his younger self is: “Life is more colourful when you see the picture from another person’s perspective.”

His fondest childhood memory is when his parents took his siblings and him for ice cream at Bonus Supermarket in Swakopmund, before taking a drive along the beach.

The app will be officially available for public download at both Google Play and the App Store as of 1 October. For more information contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Ten facts about Morkel

He said “I do” in December 2015.

He is an undercover new ‘Swiftie’ (Taylor Swift fan).

He enjoys anime and kung fu movies.

Australia is the first country he travelled to abroad.

He is a world-class germaphobe.

He has arachnophobia and acrophobia.

He pays close attention to detail.

His star sign is Aries.

He likes his humour like he prefers his gin - dry.

Morkel is passionate about medical innovation and convenience in the healthcare sector and wants change the livelihoods of others.

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