mPharma, a Ghanaian health tech startup, is building a network of community pharmacies across Africa as it targets to be the go-to primary healthcare service provider for millions of Africans.
The startup is now set to activate more Mutti pharmacies to widen its reach and to build out its tech infrastructure as it braces itself for the next phase of growth after raising $35 million in Series D round.
The funds raised comprise $30 million in equity and $5 million in debt from CitiBank, putting the total amount raised by mPharma at $65 million. This comes after it raised $17m in new funding round in 2020 and $9.7m Series B round in 2019.
How The Funds Would Be Utilize
The new funding, mPharma co-founder and CEO, Gregory Rockson said “will be used to build the startup’s data infrastructure, triple its talent pool over the next three years and support expansion plans in its current and new markets. It is also rolling out an e-commerce platform for pharmaceuticals.”
“We are hiring over 100 engineers to build all our technology in-house and this includes a massive data infrastructure we are creating. We are also investing in other skilled talents like doctors and nurses, professionals that are critical in the work we do,” Rockson added.
“Bloom our pharmacy management software will allow us to build structured population health datasets that enable Mutti pharmacies to provide better care pathways to the community they serve,” he said.
mPharma, What Do They Really Do?
The startup’s Mutti pharmacies are essentially mini-hospitals offering a wide range of services including medical consultation, diagnostic and telehealth services with the sole aim of increasing access and affordability to quality health care to Africans. It also has an eCommerce platform, the Mutti Online Pharmacy.
The health tech startup recently embarked on diversification, partnerships and expansion strategies to grow the company. Just last October it acquired a 55% stake in Uganda’s Vine Pharmacy, which was previously held by the Abraaj Group. It also entered Ethiopia in March last year by signing a franchise agreement with Belayab Pharmaceuticals through its subsidiary, Haltons Limited.
The investment round saw participation from investors like, JAM Fund; a venture capital firm founded by Tinder co-founder, Justin Mateen, Unbound; a growth investment firm by Shravin Mittal, the managing director Bharti Global limited (Bharti family investment arm) and the first investment in Africa for Lux Capital; a New-York City-based VC firm investing in science and tech ventures. Other investors include Northstar, Social Capital, Novastar and TO Ventures.
Which Countries is mPharma Operating?
mPharma operates its community pharmacies in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Patients in these countries now have access to virtual medical services. It’s also present in Gabon where it has a contract with the government to build a drug supply chain infrastructure.
“Covid showed us that the best form of care is local, it is in the community, and the closest thing in communities are pharmacies. We believe that the pharmacy of the future, which is what we are creating, is one built around longitudinal care, not episodic care,” said Rockson.
“We are transforming community pharmacies into the foundation of a modern health system in Africa. We will have a Mutti pharmacy in every community on the continent. Guarantee the availability and safety of medicines for each community and utilize the physical infrastructure of Mutti pharmacies to expand Mutti Doctor (the telemedicine service) creating the largest network of doctor offices and diagnostic centers.”
Notable names on mPharma’s board include Helena Foulkes, former president of CVS, the largest pharmacy retail chain in the U.S. and Daniel Vasella, ex-CEO and chairman of Novartis. Its other investors include U.K.’s development arm CDC Group, Breyer Capital and Golden Palm Investments.