With a zeal to make health services more accessible across Nigeria, DrugStoc has closed a $4,400,000 series A funding round.
Imminently, DrugStoc plans to expand beyond Lagos, into 16 states within Nigeria and seeks to scale beyond the country later on, into other markets on the African continent.
The funding round was led by Africa HealthCare Master Fund (AAIC), with participation from Vested World; a Chicago-based venture firm, the German Development Bank (DEG) and Angel Investors interested in the health tech industry.
Nobuhiko Ichimiya, director at AAIC started: “We are very excited to be part of the DrugStoc journey. The pharmaceutical market in Africa has enormous growth potential and we are glad to back a company well-positioned to be a key player in the sector’s growth in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Chibuzor Opara, DrugStoc’s co-founder and CEO; asserted: “We are committed to making an impact in the healthcare industry. This funding will enable us to expand and launch our tech-enabled products in more African countries where pharmaceuticals are critically needed.”
On a mission to empower healthcare providers in order to build a healthier Africa and ensure seamlessness in the sector, Drugstoc was founded by two entrepreneurs who first came in contact at the Maastricht University in Holland, Chibuzo Opara and Adham Yehia.
Launched in 2017, DrugStoc is a cloud-based platform that provides healthcare providers with the interface for easy access to pharmaceuticals and healthcare products. The company ensures patients get quality medicines at affordable prices and boasts superior quality control systems with International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certification on Good Distribution Practice.
The company combines the use of unmatched technology, supply chain innovation, financial solutions, and product knowledge to unlock access to medications in emerging Economies.
With a goal to provide adequate healthcare to 100,000,000 people across Nigeria, going beyond its current 14,000,000, DrugStoc asserts to be the fastest-growing tech-enabled procurement partner for Pharmaceutical & Consumer Health companies reaching thousands of pharmacies, retailers, hospitals, clinics and medical practitioners across Nigeria.
The company plans to achieve its goals by expanding its supply chain infrastructure both digitally and physically. Digital expansion will see DrugStoc build out its tech solutions to boost access and accommodate more partners as it extends coverage beyond Lagos. DrugStoc will also build on its partnerships with financial institutions such as Sterling Bank, to increase access to sustainable supply chain financing.
DrugStoc is currently backed by Growth Capital, VestedWorld, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rippleworks, Alibaba Foundation, Asia Africa Investment and Consulting, Sterling Bank, and Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies.
Presently, the company connects 400 manufacturers to 3,200 doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, with impressive month-on-month revenue growth of over 1,500% in the last three years. The startup earns a commission for every sale made.
The company has powered over nine million prescriptions and projects 12 million by the end of 2021. Chibuzo Opara said: “Fragile and resource-challenged healthcare systems require a radically transformative set of market-based strategies to expand access to healthcare. The DrugStoc way re-engineers the value chain digitally, improving and expanding access to healthcare at the same time.”
It is predicted that Africa’s pharmaceutical industry will be worth $56 billion to $70 billion by 2030, from just $5.5 billion in 2007. However, the broken supply chain and chaotic distribution channels on the continent still pose a significant challenge. It affects the delivery of quality medicines, affordability of pharmaceuticals and efficient healthcare delivery for health workers. Innovation to solve supply chain challenges is a key opportunity in this growing market.
Based on estimates from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Africa imports about 94% of its pharmaceutical and medicinal needs from outside the continent. Drugstoc is ensuring that more vital drugs, vaccines and health technologies are supplied safely, effectively and affordably to more people.
According to Liam O’Connor, who is also among a group of individual Silicon Valley investors, “DrugStoc has demonstrated impressive growth and the ability to improve healthcare providers’ access to pharmaceuticals in Nigeria. I am excited to support DrugStoc’s innovative work building a reliable, resilient, and high-quality pharmaceutical supply chain across Africa. I am confident that DrugStoc will succeed in making a critical healthcare difference that will help save lives.”
In 2016, DrugStoc was incubated under Stanford’s Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies; and in 2019 made the shortlist as one of ten finalists for the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, Jack Ma’s flagship entrepreneur program in Africa. It also won the award for the Technology Enabled Distributor of the year, at the Nigeria Health Excellence Award in 2019 and 2021.
The healthtech startup will now double down on its vision to change the way healthcare providers interface with the pharmaceutical market and revolutionise sub-Saharan Africa’s access to quality pharmaceuticals.
CardinalStone Partners Limited acted as Financial Advisers to DrugStoc.