Neither the investor nor the startup disclosed the investment amount.
BusyMed was founded in April last year by Port Elizabeth based entrepreneur Mphati Jezile (pictured above).
The startup aims to connect consumers directly to pharmacies via a digital platform, giving them access to online consultations, as well as product and medication purchases with fast home delivery.
The platform allows pharmacies to provide real-time stock information, access performance data on best-selling items, manage inventory more effectively and leverage off existing pharmacy and third-party delivery solutions.
Furthermore, it facilitates and closes a gap where the end consumer may need to secure doctors consultations and provides an online prescription management service.
The LionPride Agility Fund, which was launched in December last year and is linked to SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham, is an impact investment fund that invests in ventures that have a social benefit (see this story).
LionPride CEO Deven Govender said in a statement today that both BusyMed and Mpathi show significant potential.
“Not only do we see human potential in Mphati and the impact of BusyMed in South Africa’s communities, but as a fund manager the investment has to make sense as well, and we believe it does,” he said.
Nationwide launch planned
Jezile told Ventureburn in a call today that the investment would be used to help the startup develop an app version of its platform, which the startup expects to launch next month.
He said the startup, which has a team of four staff at present, has signed up 69 pharmacies from Cape Town, 50 from Johannesburg and Pretoria and 12 from Port Elizabeth.
Currently the platform is only available as a web version to the 12 pharmacies in Port Elizabeth.
He said the startup would offer a premium version of its web platform to pharmacies for R1650. This, while a free version of the platform would provide pharmacy users with a few basic features. At present, all 12 of the pharmacies in Port Elizabeth are using the free version of the platform.
When the app launches, customers who order and pay on the app would be billed a R5 service fee. Customers will have the option to pick up medication from their nearest pharmacy or have it delivered to them.
Mpathi has partnered with delivery app Orderin and ride -hailing app Bolt to carry out deliveries. Delivery fees will range between R35 and R48, depending on how far a customer is located from the pharmacy where the order is picked up. Deliveries would be made up to 8km from a pharmacy.
Help from HAVAÍC
Mphati hit on the idea for the startup after he moved from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth four years ago and his child, then two years old fell sick.
Alone at home, as his partner was at work, and in a city he barely knew, he struggled to find a pharmacy. It was then that he had the idea of a web platform to make it easier for consumers like himself to locate pharmacies.
He sold his car to finance the web platform. It was buggy and didn’t work very well, but he soldiered on.
After testing the platform between April and October last year, helping five pharmacies generate R139 000 in sales from medication, Mphati decided it was time to expand and add a mobile app. But to develop an app he needed funds to pay developers. It’s then that he began contacting various investors.
Then one day he got an email from one of those he’d contacted, Ian Lessem, the CEO of Cape Town based venture capital (VC) company HAVAÍC. Lessem said he had time to meet with Mpathi but that the only gap he had in his diary was the following day.
“I said screw it, let me do it,” recalls Mphati, who jumped in his car and drove through the night from the Eastern Cape so that he could arrive in Cape Town the next day.
After a brief snooze and after stopping to brush his teeth in the McDonald’s outlet of Woodstock, Cape Town, he went to meet Lessem, who was very surprised to hear that he’d driven through from Port Elizabeth.
Said Mphati: “They (HAVAÍC) helped negotiate this deal. If I;d done it, I would have stuffed it up”.
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This article originally appeared on Ventureburn.
Featured image: BusyMed founder Mphati Jezile (Supplied)
Stephen Timm is a South African journalist and researcher who has been writing on small business and entrepreneurship in South Africa, Brazil, Chile, India, and Malaysia since 2003. He is the current editor of Ventureburn