Tiger Global backs bttn, leading e-commerce infiltration of medical supplies

News stories over the past two years spotlighted the problems hospitals and other medical organizations were having in procuring masks, gloves and other essential medical supplies as hospital units grew crowded with COVID patients.

Bttn co-founders JT Garwood and Jack Miller heard the call and started the Seattle-based company in March 2021 after seeing the challenges medical organizations faced in not only finding supplies, but fair prices for them.

The company’s business-to-business e-commerce marketplace provides a variety of name-brand medical supplies, saving its customers an average of between 20% and 40%, while providing a better ordering and shipping experience.

“From a supply chain perspective, the pandemic was the peak of terribleness,” Garwood told TechCrunch. “There were a lot of backorders and huge manufacturers were out of production. We felt it was an opportunity to step up during a time of intensity to help practice owners save time and money and get access to products they couldn’t through their traditional channels.”

JT Garwood bttn medical supply marketplace

JT Garwood, co-founder and CEO of bttn. Image Credits: bttn

That work has paid off, he added, and customers are “coming back in droves.” Bttn’s marketplace now has more than 2.5 million products and continues to “rip-and-replace” the way healthcare distribution is managed.

The company, going after a U.S. wholesale medical supply market poised to be valued at $307 billion this year, has experienced hypergrowth since we profiled bttn’s $5 million seed round in August 2021. At that time, the company was working with 300 customers, including individual practices, surgical centers and over 17 healthcare associations across the country.

Today that number has jumped to 7,000 customers, including more than 500 healthcare practices that purchased supplies via bttn for the first time in April, Garwood said. During that month, the company added eight distribution and fulfillment centers. Between August and May, bttn also boosted its employee headcount to 75 (from 10) and grew its gross merchandise volume 1,000%. In May, the company reached a milestone of over 1,000 orders.

With all of that demand and activity, bttn is back with a larger round and a prominent lead backer. Today, the one-year-old company is back with $20 million in Series A funding, led by Tiger Global, that puts it at a $110 million post-money valuation. Fuse also participated in the round.

Garwood explained that going after new capital would give the company the runway to accelerate toward its mission of being the “preferred distributor for every practitioner nationwide and bring transparency to the whole ecosystem.”

“They get to use digital parts of the supply chain that they have never been asked to use before,” he added. “Now is an important time because the ecosystem is ripe for it. In addition, though funding markets have slowed, it is clear that companies with big visions and economies are getting funding and that is what we are all about.”

Garwood intends to use the new funding to continue to build and scale bttn’s employee numbers, focusing on improving the customer experience to remove the barriers for them to purchase faster and easier and reaching more customers.

Bttn also continues to work on distribution capabilities amid a consumer behavior shift of wanting packages delivered quickly. Over the past year, the company has been able to reduce shipping from between 12 to 21 days down to between one to five days nationwide.

“When we approached this large and antiquated market, we knew we could be doing more to help them and make an impact in so many of the different layers of the supply chain,” Garwood said. “Growing to reach them will be a challenge, but if we step up to the challenge and scale in a way we believe we can, that is what we are going to have to do.”