Making it Work

Meath start-up Bonafi on track for further growth as it eyes international expansion

Founder Katarina Antill has been particularly impressed by the supports available to entrepreneurs in Ireland compared with her native Sweden

Katarina Antill: ‘We’re the pharma equivalent to Know Your Customer in the financial sector’

Bonafi, a Co. Meath based start-up, plans to expand its software platform to aid pharmaceutical businesses in tracking the movements of their products globally.

The business uses a software platform to help pharmaceutical businesses track the movement of all products, including verifying the recipient or sender has the required licences to handle the goods.

Founded by: Katarina Antill in 2018

Staff: 10

Funding: €1 million

At present the system is designed to manage the movement of all pharmaceutical goods within the EU but is expanding to cover all markets globally.

Bonafi, based in Trim, Co. Meath, was founded Katarina Antill in 2018. The business has 10 staff and has raised €1 million.

“We’re the pharma equivalent to Know Your Customer in the financial sector. Instead of preventing financial fraud, we help prevent falsified medicines from entering the supply chain,” Antill told the Business Post.

“This helps companies reduce corporate risk. If you send products to a company that’s not authorised to handle them, you run the risk of fines, reputational damage and unwanted regulatory attention.”

Originally from Sweden, Antill has been living in Ireland for 13 years and is particularly impressed by the supports available to entrepreneurs. She said Enterprise Ireland had provided significant help to the company.

“We had a functioning prototype by 2019. I started off with Enterprise Ireland and went through two phases of New Frontiers. Then we awarded the competitive start fund and that allowed me to hire a software developer,” Antill said.

“We redesigned the product during Covid, trialled it with four large pharmaceutical manufacturers and got amazing feedback. We knew we were on the right track. Since then, we have been developing the product further.”

Having raised funding of €1 million this year, Antill is growing the business and said that Enterprise Ireland is providing significant advisory assistance to help the company’s development.

“The support from them is more than money. Enterprise Ireland have introduced me to their local offices in Japan and reached out to the authorities there to help us with a project with a pharmaceutical company,” Antill said.

“They have such a huge network and the fact that we are able to talk to their representatives in different offices to expand is a great help. If we need support, introductions or even a place to work, they’re there to help. I haven’t seen that kind of support back in Sweden.”

Having begun its international expansion, the business is confident that it will grow rapidly.

“We’re setting the gold standard globally. That’s where we’re going with this. We have competitors but there isn’t a platform like ours. In order to keep the pharmaceutical supply chain safe, you really need to set a gold standard,” Antill said.

“It reduces risk, improves compliance and it takes away an awful lot of unnecessary work. It improves efficiencies.”

This Making it Work article is produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland