Ghanaian Health Startup Raises $35 million for Africa Expansion Plan

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mPharma, a Ghanaian health startup, has raised $35 million for further expansion in Africa with the help of Citigroup Inc and other investors.

Using the additional funding, mPharma wants to expand its community pharmacy by tenfold over the next three years, from the present 200 facilities. The business also intends to use the funds to expand its data infrastructure, increase its talent pool over the next three years, and support current and future market expansion objectives. It’s also launching a pharmaceutical e-commerce platform.

Founded in 2013, mPharma is building a drug monitoring system, connecting patients, hospitals and pharmacies, with a goal of ensuring reliable and safe access to medicines. The startup is also expanding its so-called Mutti community pharmacies to include consultation and diagnostic services.

Why The Investors Invested

Since its last financing, mPharma has seen continuous growth. MPharma has also engaged on diversification, collaboration, and expansion plans to help the company thrive in recent months. It bought a 55 percent stake in Uganda’s Vine Pharmacy, which was formerly owned by the Abraaj Group, a few months ago. It also entered Ethiopia in March of last year through its subsidiary, Haltons Limited, which signed a franchise deal with Belayab Pharmaceuticals.

The startup also enjoys strong backing industry experts in the pharmaceutical industry, including Helena Foulkes, former president of CVS, the largest pharmacy retail chain in the U.S.; and Daniel Vasella, ex-CEO and chairman of Novartis; both of whom are members of the board. 

The startup’s other investors include U.K.’s development arm CDC Group, Breyer Capital and Golden Palm Investments, a factor which further convinced investors about investing in this round.

A Look At What mParma Does

Rockson, Daniel Shoukimas, and James Finucane launched MPharma in 2013 with the goal of managing prescription medicine inventories for pharmacies and their suppliers, retail pharmacy operations, and providing market intelligence to hospitals, pharmacies, and patients.

The Ghanaian startup, is establishing a network of community pharmacies across Africa with the goal of becoming the region’s primary healthcare provider. MPharma intends to expand its community (Mutti) pharmacies across eight African markets in order to provide patients with the first point of care. Mutti pharmacies are essentially mini-hospitals that provide a variety of services such as medical consultation, diagnostics, and telehealth. All of this is done while improving quality pharmaceutical access and affordability.

As it prepares for the next phase of growth after funding, the company has set out to activate more Mutti pharmacies in order to expand its reach and build out its software infrastructure.

To provide a full range of services, mPharma recently launched an ecommerce portal, the Mutti Online Pharmacy, which allows its users to buy for pharmaceutical products. They are now just dispensing over-the-counter medications in Ghana, but have ambitions to expand to include prescription drugs in the near future. MPharma’s Mutti Online Pharmacy is currently one of a small number of completely digital pharmacies with operations in Africa, including Kenya’s MyDawa.

mPharma also added telehealth services to its portfolio in October of last year, capitalizing on the telemedicine boom that followed the COVID outbreak. The virtual services are now available to patients in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, where mPharma has a presence. MPharma also has a presence in Gabon, where it has a government contract to establish a pharmaceuticals supply chain infrastructure. Source: Afrikanheroes