Lifestores Healthcare, a health startup in Nigeria, has raised a sum of N365 million in a seed round that involved Flying Doctors Nigeria Group and others.
The seed round, led by Consonance Kuramo, had other participants like the Greentree Syndicate, Altadore Lionbear Capital, Unseen Ventures, StartUp and Health Transformer Fund.
Others firms like K50 Ventures, Chinook Capital, Kepple Africa Ventures as well as certain angel investors who had a background in healthcare were also involved in the funding.
Lifestores was started in 2017 by Bryan Mezue, Ken Ahaotu, and Andrew Garza in Lagos.
Lifestores and Nigeria’s drug retailing problem
There are several pharmacies in the country alongside several other outlets where people get drugs for their health needs as they arise. However , according to UNIDO, the distribution chain for medicines in Nigeria is chaotic and involves a lot of bodies and organizations.
This results in a multidimensional drug problem for the country. The first dimension is that the process by which pharmacies obtain drugs becomes more tedious leading to increase in prices paid by the eventual drug buyers.
This high level bureaucracy also results in people peddling fake alternatives that are easier and cheaper to get across to people who need the drugs.
This is where Lifestores healthcare comes in. The health startup has already made significant progress with its solution which entails anchoring of the entire supply chain of the pharmaceutical sector in the country.
For the first part of its three years, Lifestores has run a network of pharmacies for the sole purpose of witnessing the challenges in the sector firsthand and understanding what changes need to be made. On the strength of that, the startup has gone on to acquire pharmacies within the country.
One of the core offerings in Lifestores’ portfolio is its own access to drug manufacturers. This helps pharmacies buy quality drug stocks at cheaper rates.
The import of N365 million seed round to Lifestores
The startup has developed its software which is still being tested within its network of pharmacies. With this new funding, more pharmacy acquisitions and partnerships will be brought into the Lifestores franchise. The software will also be used to effectively manage the operations of the pharmacies and the franchise as a whole.
The software was developed in conjunction with Andela and its functionalities cover sales and inventory. Through it, Lifestores also helps its pharmacies to store and keep track of patients’ records.
Lifestores will also be looking to expand into other parts of Lagos and then other states in Nigeria. With the funding, the startup will be looking to replicate what health startups in other countries like Ghana and Kenya.
Ghana’s mPharma has expanded its operations to five other African countries where it helps pharmacies with procurement of quality medicines. The Ghanaian health startup has raised $20 million since it started and recently bought the second largest pharmacy retail chain in Kenya.
In Nigeria, investors have also been attracted to the pharmacy retail sector. In 2018, HealthPlus raised $18 million from Alta Semper Capital to expand its retail operations to other parts of West Africa.
This latest funding and advancements by Lifestores could trigger more competitive and innovative responses by other retail chain pharmacies in the country.
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