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Interview with Philip Butler: Entrepreneur, Business Leader & Founder of Veya

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Interview with Philip Butler

Philip Butler, a MIT graduate with an MD from Yale University School of Medicine, lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and two children.  Philip Butler is the founder and CEO of Veya, a Colorado-based retail technology that began a little over ten years ago by selling medical textbooks that were difficult to find elsewhere. Since then, Veya has expanded and now sells millions of products in countries all over the world.  The company is an example of entrepreneurial vision paired with a talented executive management team with a focus on successful, sustainable growth.

Veya is powered by a dedicated team of people who work hard to ensure that customers can find and receive the products they need in a smooth and efficient manner.

We recently had the opportunity to connect with Philip and learn a little more about Veya and some of his other business ventures.

What is Veya?

Veya began operations in 2009 selling medical textbooks that were hard to find elsewhere.  I wanted to make the textbooks used in medical school more accessible, both physically, since many were not yet sold online, and financially. I began developing relationships with small publishers to convince them to sell their books online which, subsequently, led to the creation of a small online bookstore that sold books predominantly through Amazon.  Today, Veya is a data-driven tech company that searches for supply gaps for customer products online and works to provide global access to products consumers want and need.  We have a global footprint, employ hundreds of employees and generate over $60M in annual revenue.

What inspired you to start this business?

I didn’t set out to start a business at all. I was a med school student looking for a textbook that wasn’t available at the local bookstore.  So I looked online to find the author and placed an order for two books – one for me and one for my wife.  It turned out my wife didn’t need the book, so I was stuck with it and decided to try and sell it online.  I went to Amazon and the book was selling for three times what I had paid for it buy buying directly from the author.

Solving this initial problem for me and having to locate and call up an author to find a sold-out, hard to find book made me realize how often this same problem presents itself to people all over the world for whatever it is they may be looking for.

It seemed wasteful to have everyone trying to find these books on their own, so we decided to do that work for them at scale and low cost and provide people with what they are looking for, cheaper and faster.

Where did you go to school?

I graduated from MIT — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.  After MIT, I obtained my MD at the Yale University School of Medicine.

What book has had a major impact on your life?

Getting Things Done by David Allen. We have everyone at Veya read it. The book changed my life.  I was always overwhelmed with thinking about how to take the next steps on my projects.  By writing things down and being intentional about how I’m spending my time, the recommendations and advice in the book allowed me to do everything I’m doing now.