Nigeria’s healthcare sector is definitely getting more interesting as major players continue to step up their game time and again. Recall that we recently reported that Lifestores pharmacy raised a round of N365 million?
Well, another healthcare startup, Field Intelligence has raised its Series A funding round which closed at $3.6 million, approximately N1.315 billion.
This raise is interesting in several ways. First is the composition of investors involved in the round. Next is the timing and finally, the rise of healthtech in Nigeria.
Composition of investors
Three major investors contributed to this raise. The round was led by Blue Haven Initiative, an impact investor. Actually, Blue Haven is one of the world’s leading impact investors.
After Blue Haven, the round was supported by Sunu Capital which is another leading impact investment venture. It was also supported by Accion Venture Lab and Imperial Venture Fund.
First, the attention of this investment moguls means that the spotlight may be getting stronger on healthtech in Nigeria, and Africa. From recent investment records, the fintechs have been the favorite in Nigeria’s tech sector with a few major investments in healthtech.
A research by Partech said that from the $2.02 billion investment attracted by African startups in 2019, only 9.03% went to the healthtech sector.
The deficiency in the supply chain sector has been long identified, but the sector itself has few players significantly tackling the problem. One of the players is Lifestores.
One of the venture firms that supported the Round, Accion Venture Labs, has been known to back mostly fintech startups. It has a wealth of experience and network in the fintech space.
Accion’s backing in Field Intelligence’s round may only be pure financial interest or it could be the start of something more.
It could be that Field Intelligence is looking to enter into more than the supply chain sector and is planning towards the health fintech space as well.
This would make sense considering that if pharmacies already restock and get deliveries using Field Intelligence’s software, then they are a ready market if Field Intelligence develops a fintech solution for payment, among others. If that is the case, then Accion’s presence in the investors list makes sense.
Timing of the investment
Lifestores announced its investment round in February, and now here is another one. Lifestores has developed its solution to tackles deficiencies n the supply chain as well.
However, Lifestore’s model is very different. This firm is building a franchise of pharmacies in Nigeria and currently testing its solution among them.
The app, which was co-developed with Andela, tracks sales and inventory and helps pharmacies restock at the earliest possible time. Lifestores uses its own access to drug manufacturers as leverage to make sure original drugs are gotten and made available to pharmacies.
While Lifestores focuses hugely on franchising, Field Intelligence focuses on getting pharmacies to subscribe to its service. To put it more aptly, Field Intelligence’s subscription model is to get part of the wine while Lifestores wants to help manage the entire bottle of wine.
Through Field Intelligence’s app, Shelf Life, pharmacies can make predictions of when they will run out of stock, procure, deliver, manage and pay for each product they have subscribed to via the app.
“Shelf Life is a powerful example of the innovative use of financial technologies to address supply chain challenges that hinder small businesses’ efficiency and growth – and ultimately affect their ability to deliver the products and services that communities need to thrive.”Shelf Life
Growth of Healthtech in Nigeria
Future growth will result in an interesting tussle for pharmacies for healthtech companies tackling the supply chain sector.
According to Field Intelligence, it has already onboarded 280 pharmacies to its subscriber base while Lifestores is working on expanding beyond Lagos state to other parts of the country.
It has also helped the pharmacies have stocks available 96% of the time, as opposed to the 60% the stores were previously working with.
In what is a $60 billion market according to Field Intelligence, the growth of innovation in the health sector in Nigeria and Africa is a much anticipated one. The rate of fake drug peddling can be expected to reduce and the quality of services people get at pharmacies will improve.
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