mPharma raises $6.6 million in Series A Funding

mPharma employees @ annual company retreat

Quartz broke the news this morning of our new round of financing. I am happy to announce today that mPharma has raised $6.6 million in Series A financing. We are even more excited about the caliber of the investors who participated in this round. I am delighted to welcome our lead investor, Shravin Bharti Mittal to the mPharma board. Shravin is a director at Bharti Global Ltd. He played a critical role in the acquisition and integration of Zain, paving the way for Bharti Airtel to enter the African market. Shravin was previously an investor with Softbank. In addition to our existing investors Social Capital and Golden Palm Investments re-investing in this round, we also had a number of family offices and individuals from Senegal, Kenya, Switzerland, Turkey and the US participate in the round.

I am also excited to share that Breyer Capital made its 1st investment in the Africa technology ecosystem by participating in our Series A. Jim Breyer, the legendary venture capitalist and billionaire is joining our board as an observer. Jim was one of the earliest investors in Facebook, and he served on the company’s board for over 8 years. He has also invested in companies like Spotify, Etsy, Marvel, and Oscar, as well as having served on the boards of several Fortune 100 companies including Walmart and Dell. He currently sits on the board of the Harvard Corporation, 21st Century Fox, and Blackstone.

Exciting as it is that we have completed our Series A financing round, I am also mindful of the fact that raising money does not equate to success. It is a reminder that we are not yet in control of our own future and just fortunate to receive an extended financial lifeline to build a path to profitability.

So what next?

2017 has been a tremendous year of growth for mPharma. As we enter 2018, we intend to focus on scaling our operations across Africa as we work towards building economies of scale in partnership with providers. When asked what mPharma is, I say, if CVS Health, QuintilesIMS, and McKesson had a baby, it would be called mPharma.

Our proprietary supply chain software enables us to implement vendor managed inventory for independent healthcare providers in Africa. This model enables mPharma to create a tightly coupled pharmacy monolith — on a continent that has a highly fragmented pharmacy retail market — with leverage over pricing, distribution and reimbursements. mPharma has created several different technological solutions for data collection: Thea, a CRM tool that gives facilities the ability to perform claim submission and management; SyncDB, an onsite integration that allows for a facility to automatically sync select parts of their database to mPharma’s integration layer; our integrations REST API that allows facilities to integrate with mPharma through HTTP; and an excel spreadsheets tool that a facility may use to keep track of their dispensations. mPharma’s collection process normalizes and unifies these disparate and distinct data sources into one cohesive data set which allows us to build a data driven supply chain infrastructure.

Cities in Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe with mPharma partner facilities. Illustration by Dan Shoukimas.

Over the last year, we have grown our provider network to over 70 outlets across West and Southern Africa. We serve more than 20,000 patients each month in cities like Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt, Aba, Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast, Lusaka and Ndola.

In September, we announced a partnership with the Red Cross to open a chain of Red Cross pharmacies in vulnerable communities across Africa.The 1st pharmacy under this partnership will be opened in Zimbabwe next month.

It is estimated that the 10 largest pharmacy retail chains in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana have a combined total of only 186 outlets, while there are over 15,000 mom and pop pharmacies in these countries. We can serve more patients and bring down drug costs if mom and pop pharmacies are able to better manage their inventory. We built mPharma to do exactly this. To providers in our network, our message to you is simple — mPharma is here to stay. To those who are just hearing about us, please send me an email at gregory [at] mpharma.com. I want to personally welcome you to the mPharma family. We have saved providers on our network more than $535,137.73. These savings have gone towards reducing drug prices to patients, while also improving the profitability of our providers.

Savings across all our facilities, based on average retail prices. Illustration by Dan Shoukimas

We are hiring for a number of roles across all our countries. Please check our careers page and apply for any role you find interesting. If you cannot find a role that fits your background but are still interested in our mission, kindly send us an email at careers [at] mpharma.com.

While our success is not guaranteed, I strongly believe that our best days are ahead of us. I want to thank our employees who continue to make the mPharma dream possible. Each day feels like Day 1 because of their commitment and passion. Their success will be mPharma’s success.

We want mPharma to be known as an advocate for patients. We will continue to develop products and solutions that enable patients to pay less for their medications and remain adherent to treatments. We want to invite stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry (manufacturers, distributors and providers) to work with us to place the interest of patients above anything else.