Nigerian pharmaceutical distribution startup DrugStoc has secured $4.4 million funding for an aggressive expansion plan. This entails delivering quality pharmaceutical products to over 100 million people in Nigeria.
The startup plans to advance outside Lagos, which is the West African country’s economic centre, to 16 other states of Nigeria. This is in addition to its more ambitious goals to expand outside Nigeria into other African markets.
The accessibility of good quality pharmaceutical products in Africa will serve as a means of averting thousands of preventable fatalities. For example, blood loss during childbirth or children dying from diarrheal diseases.
The Nigerian pharmaceutical distribution startup DrugStoc, funding round is led by Africa HealthCare Master Fund. Other investors include Vested World, a Chicago-based venture business, the German Development Bank, and high-net-worth individuals with a deep interest in tech health.
“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 that is well positioned to be a key player in the sector’s growth in sub-saharan Africa”, said AAIC director, Nobuhiko Ichimiya.
A Look Back at DrugStoc
Opara and Yehia created DrugStoc in 2015, however, the firm’s history stretches back to 2010, when the two co-founded IntegraHealth, a hospital management company based on Yehia’s master’s degree project. The two business partners met as students at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
The fragmented pharmaceutical supply chain from the sourcing, distribution issues and quality concerns due to counterfeit and substandard products flooding the market became an aching problem for both founders.
In retrospect, Yehia believes that technology alone would not have solved the fragmentation issues in pharmaceutical distribution. The recognition of strategic infrastructure such as fulfilment centres, warehouses where the processing, packing, shipping and customer support units of orders happen, stands as the top priority.
At the moment, DrugStoc connects 400 manufacturers with 3,200 doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies. According to Opara, the platform’s monthly sales have increased by over 1,500% in the last three years, owing to the demand for quality assurance provided on DrugStoc’s platform. Every sale generates a commission for the startup.
“When we started, I don’t think we ever had a doubt about the demand because we understood the scope of the problem. And we understood that people were fed up with the status quo”, said Opara.
“It’s the fact that we are transforming not just convenience and access but also paying great attention to quality which every healthcare professional at the end of the day is bothered by, that is the underlying drive in a lot of healthcare facilities or pharmacies”, he added.
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