Remedial Health, a Nigerian startup digitizing pharmacies and bringing efficiency to the pharmaceutical value chain, has raised $12 million Series A equity-debt funding, to scale operations in the West African country.
Fintech VC firm QED Investors co-led the round, banking on embedded financial opportunities like payments, and lending in the pharmaceutical sector. This is QED’s third investment in Africa after its involvement in the Moniepoint (formerly TeamApt), and Flapkap deals last year. Ventures Platform, also co-led the round, which saw the participation of existing investors like Y Combinator, Tencent and Gaingels.
Pharmacies and hospitals use Remedial Health’s platform to order pharmaceutical products sourced from reliable and trusted manufacturers and verified distributors. This helps to stem erratic prices, and the supply of fake and substandard products that are behind thousands of preventable deaths in Nigeria, and Africa at large. It also ensures a proper handling of the products, which can’t be said of the open drugs market in Nigeria.
A recent report by Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control estimates that about 15% of the medicine sold in the country is fake or sub-standard. Besides, it is estimated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, that half a million people die in sub-Saharan Africa owing to substandard or counterfeit medicine.
Remedial Health gets $4 million debt funding to scale inventory financing
Founded by Samuel Okwuada (CEO), and Victor Benjamin (COO) in 2021, Remedial Health plans to use the new funding to deepen its operations in Nigeria. The funding includes $4 million debt to help it scale inventory financing.
Okwuada told TechCrunch that priority at the moment remains on increasing penetration in 34 states by getting more pharmacies and hospitals signed up, especially in rural areas, where demand is growing.
“We are seeing more growth in rural areas, because they are difficult to reach, and are far from major open drug markets in Nigeria,” said Okwuada, adding that the startup currently has a “considerable market share” in at least half of the 34 of 36 states it operates in within Nigeria.
The YC-alumni currently serves over 5,000 pharmacies and hospitals, having grown its client count by 3X since November last year. It sources the over 8,000 products it sells from 300 manufacturers, among them GSK, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
Its inventory financing, which enables its clients to restock without upfront payment, has helped grow its client count, and revenues by 7X over the last 10 months too.
“We are a B2B business and we are able to provide inventory to these pharmacies without requesting cash up-front, or at the point of delivery… We’ve seen them grow their businesses, open additional branches because they are able to get credit,” said Okwuada.
Remedial’s platform enables its customers to manage their operations including inventory management (through an app too), accounting, and financial reporting. It also provides real-time market intelligence that informs manufacturers on production and distribution.
Okwuada said its customers receive orders within 24 hours. The startup has a network of distribution hubs, spread across the regions it serves, and does last-mile delivery in-house or through partners. Other startups bringing efficiency in the pharmaceutical value chain include MyDawa, and DrugStoc.
Commenting on the investment, QED Investors partner, and head of Africa, Gbenga Ajayi said in a statement: “The success that Remedial Health has enjoyed to date is an indication of the market gap that exists, and their value in providing effective holistic services to thousands of pharmacies across Nigeria.”
“QED is particularly excited about the embedded financial services opportunities within the vertical — the ability to provide payments, embedded lending and other fintech solutions to this underserved but very crucial sector.”