Ghana-based health tech startup mPharma has raised $35 million to build a chain of community pharmacies across Africa as it races to be the primary healthcare service provider for millions, TechCrunch reported Wednesday (Jan. 5).
Co-founder and CEO Gregory Rockson told the news organization that the new funding will be used to construct the startup’s data infrastructure, triple its staff by 2025 and support expansion. He also said the cash will be used to launch an eCommerce 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,” Rockson said. “We are also investing in other skilled talent like doctors and nurses, professionals that are critical in the work we do.”
Bloom, the company’s pharmacy management software, will allow mPharma to create patient health databases and support its Mutti pharmacies to provide healthcare to the communities they serve, he added.
mPharma said it plans to grow the pharmacy chain in eight African markets and make it the go-to place for affordable patient care. These pharmacies, considered mini-hospitals, provide medical advice as well as diagnostic, telehealth services and access to prescription drugs.
The financing included $30 million in equity and $5 million in debt from CitiBank, bringing the total amount raised by mPharma to $65 million.
Investors included New York-based Lux Capital, Unbound, Northstar, Social Capital, Novastar, TO Ventures and the JAM Fund, a venture capital firm founded by Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen.
mPharma was founded in 2013 by Rockson, Daniel Shoukimas and James Finucane to manage drug inventories for pharmacies and their suppliers, retail pharmacy chains and to provide market intelligence to pharmacies, hospitals and patients.
The company is riding the telemedicine wave fueled by increasing mobile connections in emerging markets, especially in Africa. For nearly a decade, the company said it has been working to improve the drug supply across the continent, negotiating lower prices with suppliers and streamlining last-mile delivery of prescription drugs for patients in rural areas.
In November, PYMNTS reported that the telehealth startup was planning to open 100 virtual centers across seven African markets in the next six months.
“We saw this as an opportunity to leverage our pharmacies as virtual doctor offices so that patients could get examined remotely during a virtual consultation,” Rockson said at the time. “This is what makes mPharma’s telemedicine unique.”
Last fall, PYMNTS reported Rockson said that the company already provides 10,000 physician consultations to patients at its network. He said the idea behind expansion is to reach more people who lack healthcare access.
“We saw this as an opportunity to leverage our pharmacies as virtual doctor offices so that patients could get examined remotely during a virtual consultation,” he said. “This is what makes mPharma’s telemedicine unique.”
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