Lifestores Healthcare raises $3M to broaden its pharmaceutical market throughout Nigeria


Africa’s $45 billion prescription drugs market is expected to develop 10% CAGR to $100 billion by 2030. Yet, the sector struggles with extremely fragmented and undercapitalized provide chains rife with pretend medicines, which trigger the loss of life of hundreds of sufferers yearly; in Nigeria, 20-40% of medicine are counterfeit. 

A handful of healthtech corporations deliver effectivity to Nigeria’s pharmaceutical provide chain points; Lifestores Healthcare is one. In 2020, it raised a $1 million seed round, adopted by its newly introduced $3 million pre-Series A funding; the latter and oversubscribed spherical was led by Health54, with Aruwa Capital Management as a supporting lead and participation from different present buyers.

Pharmacies in Nigeria play an important position in how individuals entry medicine within the nation. Although pharmacies generally assist encourage self-diagnosis dealings amongst sufferers, they continue to be one of many most cost-effective choices for getting healthcare. However, given the fragmentation and underdevelopment of assets in healthcare, pharmacies can’t carry out to their optimum capabilities. These inadequacies result in the excessive prevalence of pretend medicines as high quality ones additionally turn out to be costly and tough to acquire. 

After taking over pharmaceutical-related and supply-chain initiatives of their earlier jobs, co-founders Bryan Mezue and Andrew Garza knew that no matter they have been constructing ought to democratize entry to high quality and reasonably priced main healthcare. They launched Lifestores Healthcare in 2017 as a series of retail pharmacies utilizing expertise to offer numerous providers. There are two B2B parts to Lifestores. The first is the B2B market referred to as OGApharmacy. Launched throughout the pandemic in 2020, it lets pharmacies and hospitals combination their buying wants, with which Lifestores negotiates with suppliers for the bottom potential worth on high-quality medicines, thereby getting 10 to twenty% reductions for them. The different is an ERP system that pharmacies and dispensaries can use to run their operations. 

Image Credits: Lifestores Healthcare

Lifestores Healthcare gives its providers by means of a community of greater than 750 shops. The healthtech outfit stated it’s experiencing a 25% month-to-month market progress and counts greater than 10% of Nigeria’s pharmacies as registered clients; it plans to broaden its market share to 25%, which can enhance the variety of sufferers reached by 4x from 100,000 to 400,000 by 2023.

“The number of patients who have loyalty accounts with us is growing by double digits every month. And then we also think a lot about the scale of impact we have through the pharmacies we don’t own but support through our software,” CEO Mezue stated. “And then, we indirectly touch over 200,000 patients from our software and the services we offer to those pharmacies. As of today, those are the ways we think about our patient impact. We’re also on the verge of launching several B2C initiatives and some cool features that are more direct to the patient.”

To drive this progress, Lifestores will open a brand new Lagos processing centre and launch new expertise options as a part of its B2B choices, together with pharmacy administration software program, AI-driven predictive ordering, superior credit score choices, and affected person administration initiatives, it stated in an announcement. Lifestores will even broaden its B2C providers, with pilots in affected person financial savings, care administration, and drugs supply.

While telemedicine stays the standout healthcare providing that has witnessed huge adoption globally for the reason that pandemic, startups that digitize the availability chain and distribution to suppliers like Lifestores have achieved scale quicker and seen essentially the most spectacular progress amongst Africa’s healthcare house within the final 12 months, in line with this report. Other corporations on this house which work with group pharmacies and lower-end suppliers resembling drug outlets to assist inventory merchandise, embrace Mutti by mPharma, HealthPlus, Shelf Life by Field Intelligence and Maisha Meds.

“In many cases, players are working on multiple geographies, and possibly multiple segments. But we’ve taken a bit of a different angle, where we’re going quite deep,” stated the CEO describing how Lifestores differs in increasing operations. “Because the market is fragmented, we’re saturating certain regions before we move to other ones.”

The founders additionally shared some learnings acquired prior to now 5 years of working their startup: the significance of constructing partnerships throughout the board, together with pharmacies, dispensaries, hospitals, and regulators; the truth that pharmacists are adopting expertise greater than individuals assume; and the way healthcare suppliers are involved about transparency on high quality and worth of medicines. 

“We’ve also seen how healthcare wholesalers serve as banks and give pharmacies and hospitals medications on credit which lets these healthcare providers do their work upon credit effectively much cheaper than what they’d secure from the banks,” added Garza on a number of the firm’s learnings. “This reality has existed for a long time in the healthcare space. We’ve started seeing the enormous benefit of that in terms of flexibility as we work on more advanced features like AI-driven predictive ordering. It’s become much easier to do stuff like that since we have all the technology for the ERP and marketplace in-house, for which we can layer new advanced things on top.”

Lifestores’ seed spherical marks Health54’s first funding on the continent. The not too long ago launched agency is the healthcare-dedicated company enterprise capital (CVC) automobile of CFAO Group (a part of Toyota Tsusho), which has the most important healthcare distribution channel in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We’re proud and happy to make our first investment with Health54 in Nigeria and in Lifestores. We were impressed with Bryan and Andrew’s on-the-ground experience of having run multiple retail pharmacies in Nigeria,” stated Côme Vercken, Managing Director, Health54, on the funding. “In two years, they have built a first-rate distribution platform with OGApharmacy. As a strategic partner, we’re delighted to work together and bring the benefits of our vertically integrated pharmaceutical supply chain so we can support more patients in Nigeria and beyond with quality primary healthcare.”

This funding will see Lifestores leverage Health54’s rising community of well being providers suppliers and CFAO Healthcare’s present wholesale distribution capabilities in Nigeria and throughout Africa ought to it plan regional enlargement down the road. But for now, the healthtech desires to gasoline progress in Nigeria, enhance its software program capabilities, attain new buyer segments and ramp up hiring throughout gross sales and engineering groups and senior administration.


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