April 16, 2020
Meet the Catalyst Finalists: Pilleve
At the age of 17, Pilleve Co-Founder Yossuf Albanawi was struggling with substance abuse and on the verge of addiction. Yossuf’s mother saw her son falling into addiction and staged an intervention, which he credits with changing his life.
Six years later, while still in recovery and sober, Yossuf began working part time at a treatment center serving the most vulnerable populations. Through his work, he realized that the majority of his patients abused prescription opioids before using illicit drugs
That realization led him to create Pilleve, a smart, secure pill bottle and smartphone app that monitors and screens for opioid abuse and addiction. Yossuf worked with Co-Founder Guatam Chebrolu, who had seen the effects of opioid addiction on his family members and had a background in electrical and biomedical engineering, to launch their startup. After months of market research and validation, it was clear there was a gap between prescription and addiction that Pilleve set out to address.
Pilleve relies on wireless connectivity and empowers patients by helping them control and manage the intake of prescribed medications. The Pilleve capsule is connected to a mobile application in which patients and their caregivers can control when the capsule opens to dispense the medication. With the tap of a few buttons, the Pilleve app assess patients’ pain level and dispenses the appropriate medication.
The Pilleve capsule is equipped with anti-tampering measures that can notify physicians when the smart capsule has been altered, broken into or otherwise disconnected. It also monitors the frequency of use so that physicians and caregivers can intervene in real time to prevent overdose or other potential harm to the patient.
Pilleve focuses on patients with chronic and acute pain, many of whom are covered by Medicaid. The company serves patients in Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts and Washington, and they are preparing to launch in Connecticut, D.C., Oregon and Virginia. With more than 200 Pilleve users, it’s no wonder that Yossuf and Gautam were named as 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs.
Pilleve’s use of wireless technology brings greater autonomy to people as they work to improve their health and wellbeing. Through the founders’ understanding of the hardships of opioid addiction and their dedication to serving this vulnerable community, they ensure that more people will continue to have access to critical treatment and care.
We are proud to have Pilleve as a Catalyst Semifinalist, and are excited to see how their innovative technology continues to transform lives!
Catalyst 2020 Finalists
MindRight Health, Objective Zero Foundation and Pilleve will be awarded grants totaling $175,000.