Adam Hunter - Phlo

Adam Hunter is Chief Commercial Officer and Board Director at digital health start-up Phlo – the UK’s first and only on-demand digital pharmacy that provides, secure, real-time prescription delivery across England.

An innovative business set up in 2018, Phlo allows customers to quickly and effectively, arrange repeat prescriptions with their GP, set up a convenient delivery place and time, while also allowing customers to track their delivery in real time.

Adam completed the Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Foundation Scholar programme in 2010, during his penultimate year at university. Inspired by what he learnt, he returned to Entrepreneurial Scotland and completed the Saltire Fellowship programme in 2014. It was there he met Nadeem Sarwar, his business partner and CEO and Founder at Phlo.

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THE OPPORTUNITY:

Adam first heard of Entrepreneurial Scotland’s learning programmes at University. A meeting with his career’s councillor as an undergraduate, sparked his interest in the Saltire Scholar programme and he applied and undertook the programme in 2010, at Pinsent Masons in Hong Kong.

Adam explains: “After university, I became a corporate lawyer for a Scottish based law firm, Maclay, Murray and Spens. I soon l realised that the role wasn’t for me. I had a desire to do something with more of a tangible product to offer. I had stayed in touch with the team at Entrepreneurial Scotland after the Scholar programme – I remained part of the network and used to help out where I could. Their approach to entrepreneurialism and learning really inspired me, so I got back in touch with Entrepreneurial Scotland CEO, Sandy Kennedy and met him for a coffee.

Adam began on the Saltire Fellowship programme in 2014, where he spent 9 months in Boston and Shanghai.

Adam explains; “One thing that really impressed me, is the sense of strong community on both ES programmes. I think it’s one of the things that makes them so unique. On the Saltire Fellowship Programme, you’re all brought together in a really tight community for six months, learning and working on various projects.

“I think I was the youngest person in our Saltire Fellowship cohort. I was coming into the learning space relatively fresh, and what amazed me was the true diversity of people in the room. From those with a banking background like Nadeem, to scientists, academics, ex-army, ex-sportsmen – it was incredible. You got to spend six months in a classroom with people who had such different views on things and that fascinated me. It allowed me to understand different perspectives and different leadership styles, which can all be very individual. That diversity is one of the things I think you really don’t find elsewhere. It really feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

I sought his advice on making the change from corporate lawyer and he suggested I apply for the Saltire Fellowship Programme. The application process was rigorous, but I was offered place on the programme and as soon as I finished my traineeship as a lawyer, I joined the Saltire Fellowship Programme.

IMPACT:

It was on the Saltire Fellowship programme, and his time at Babson College in Boston, that Adam met now business partner, Nadeem Sarwar. Working together since 2019, the duo have taken their learnings from the course and applied them to start-up Phlo.

Adam says; “Nadeem and I both learned quickly that we had quite a similar outlook in terms of our ambitions and vision for growth and scale. We both had this real desire to apply the Babson mentality – that entrepreneurial spirit - to lots of challenges and opportunities.

“I certainly think our long-standing friendship has helped us to build and grow Phlo, but I also believe that our shared learning experience as Fellows has helped. I think it also allowed us to realise that sometimes, there’s no better learning than actually just doing and learning from your mistakes.”

Adam and Nadeem have built a strong and growing team of more than 30 at Phlo, who are dedicated, diverse and driven and reflect the culture that the duo have established.

There's a shared mentality that comes from the Saltire Fellowship and Babson College. Having the ambition to grow and constantly evolve, and also seeing opportunities where others see challenges. These are key attributes that were nurtured at Babson, and that have allowed us to scale Phlo as quickly and successfully as we have.

Adam says; “As business leaders, one of our biggest challenges can be in finding like-minded people to work with us. But we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have great people at Phlo who have really helped us scale the business.

We take pride in the fact that we give really talented people opportunities to prove themselves and build their own careers. We actually hired a Saltire Scholarship Intern through Entrepreneurial Scotland in summer 2019, and in fact they are now a full-time member of staff. He is an incredible example of the hard work and dedication and the type of quality that comes out of that programme. It just goes to show the genuine long-term relationships and network that can be built through Entrepreneurial Scotland.

As a business, we’ve benefited from networks Entrepreneurial Scotland has and they have opened doors for us, but I’ve also learnt that as those doors open to you, you have to take the opportunity to walk through those doors. I was given great opportunities and now I’m pleased to be able to offer the same in return.

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If you would like to talk to Entrepreneurial Scotland about our leadership programmes and how they can benefit your business please email andy.macnicol@entrepreneurialscotland.com