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Health Tech Startup mPharma Acquires Vine Pharmacy to Enter Uganda – TechCrunch

Ghana’s health startup mPharma has privately acquired control of Vine Pharmacy in Uganda, demonstrating its entry into the latest markets in Africa.

mPharma gives TechCrunch a 55% stake previously held by Abraaj Group, a private-equity fund that collapsed after investors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation warned against running a $ 1 billion healthcare fund. It was revealed that it was acquired. Abraaj acquired Vine Pharmacy in 2013, the largest pharmacy chain in Uganda.

The acquisition of Vine Pharmacy took place two years after health startups acquired Kenya’s Halftons Pharmacy for $ 5 million and mPharma entered the East African region.

“Tsuru was once the largest pharmacy chain in Uganda. At its peak, there were about 36 stores nationwide. However, because Abraaj is the largest shareholder, after the capital available for growth was exhausted, the business It had to be resized. MPharma co-founder and CEO Gregory Rockson told TechCrunch.

Rockson said he wanted to bring Vine Pharmacy back to its former glory when it occupied the position of the largest retail pharmacy chain in Uganda. Vine Pharmacy had 20 branches throughout Uganda when Abraaj took over and embarked on an aggressive growth plan that included doubling the branches by 2018. This is a feat achieved until PE collapsed and some stores were closed. Abraaj has also grown its pharmacy wholesale business, supplying it to government and medical institutions and expanding it to include personalized patient care through home visits.

mPharma was originally founded in 2013 by Rockson, Daniel Showkimasu When James Finucane, NS Manage prescription drug inventory For pharmacies and their suppliers. It currently operates a retail pharmacy, providing market intelligence to hospitals, pharmacies and patients.

It is one of the most well-funded start-ups across Africa and has raised more than $ 50 million since its inception, including: Series C round Last year, $ 17 million in funding led by the UK development finance institution CDC Group.other Existing investor Includes Silicon Valley backers Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital, Shrubin Vertimitar of Bertie Global Limited, Social Capital and Golden Palm Investments.It also enjoys the support from Helena Forkes, Former President of CVS, the largest pharmacy retail chain in the United States, and Daniel Vasella, former CEO and Chairman of Novartis. Both are members of the board of directors.

“Vine is a very profitable pharmacy chain. It’s been a family-owned business for almost 30 years, so we’re really trying to take advantage of this moment to grow our business,” Rockson said. I did.

“It’s a really exciting time for us. Fortunately, Uganda is an exciting market. It may be five years behind Kenya, but I think the momentum of innovation and turmoil is ripe.” He added.

mPharma’s recently announced a rollout Telemedicine service Throughout the continent’s network of pharmacies in an effort to bridge the doctor-patient gap by providing comprehensive services. We plan to use a network of pharmacies to build what is called a digital primary care service. Offer All-in-one diagnostic service.

Earlier this year mPharma has entered Ethiopia After signing a franchise agreement through Belayab Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiary Haltons Limited. Ethiopian pharmaceutical companies are part of the Belayab Group, a franchise of companies such as Pizza Hut and Kia in the country.

mPharma will continue its franchise model as it expands into new markets. According to Rockson, this will allow startups to address the challenges facing the pharmaceutical market across Africa, including unpredictable supply chains, exorbitant prices and low orders, for a seamless sourcing and distribution system infrastructure. You will be able to focus more on building and improving.

After a West African country signed a contract to build a pharmaceutical supply chain infrastructure last month, mPharma launched a business in Gabon, adding to the footprint of startups in providing pharmaceutical systems and distribution networks across the continent. Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Rwanda are other markets where tech startups operate.

The company also partnered with Rwanda’s gas station operator Mt. Meru Group in November last year to set up a pharmacy branch in the store.

“In less than a year, we were able to quickly build the country’s largest retail platform. Today, Rwanda is a very promising market for us,” he said.

The African pharmaceutical market is expected to grow exponentially as the population grows, providing room for innovation and a market for start-ups offering mobile health solutions.

Throughout Africa, Deloitte said: reportEast Africa is the most promising region for medical investment due to its integration and economic growth, supported by various sectors such as agriculture and tourism. Increasing demand for services and products as consumers gain more purchasing power will also lead to increased spending on healthcare and telecommunications – the opportunities mPharma wants to take advantage of. ..

Health Tech Startup mPharma Acquires Vine Pharmacy to Enter Uganda – TechCrunch Health Tech Startup mPharma Acquires Vine Pharmacy to Enter Uganda – TechCrunch

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