mPharma, a Ghanaian startup that streamlines last-mile delivery of prescription drugs and makes them affordable, in under-served markets, has reportedly raised $17 million.
The healthtech startup was founded in 2013 by Gregory Rockson, Daniel Shoukimas, and James Finucane. With this funding, the company will expand its Vendor Management Inventory (VMI) system and QualityRx platforms in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
After securing its Series B funding in 2019, the startup bought Kenya’s second-largest pharmacy chain, Haltons. At the time, mPharma’s outlets stood at 17 but now, Rockson says it has since increased to 30.
Quartz reported that the CDC Group, UK’s development finance arm led this round. Other existing investors including Dr Daniel Vasella, ex-CEO and Chairman of pharmaceutical giant, Novartis; Silicon valley investor, Jim Breyer; and Dompe Holdings participated in the round.
“Bringing a Development Finance Institution with extensive government contacts across Africa would improve our appeal and help strengthen our corporate governance because of the ESG [environmental, social and governance] rules under which they operate,” Rockson said of the partnership with the CDC Group.
Coinciding with the recent funding is the appointment of Helena Foulkes to the company’s board. Foulkes is the former CEO of the Hudson Bay Company (HBC). Prior to HBC, she was the president of the CVS Pharmacy, the largest pharmacy chain in the US.
“The mission of mPharma to make pharmaceuticals more affordable and accessible is striking. I’m interested in the different ways this young company can grow, they have their own chain, loyalty programs, there’s plenty of potential,” Foulkes said.
She joins an impressive board that houses Daniel Vasella, ex-CEO and Chairman of Novartis; Philip Sowah, former CEO of Airtel Ghana; Walter Baddoo, Managing Partner of 4DX; Andrew Carruthers, Managing Director of Novastar, among others.