By Adedapo Adesanya
To deepen healthcare offerings in the country, Lifestores Healthcare has closed a $3 million pre-series A funding round.
The oversubscribed round was led by Health54, the healthcare-focused corporate venture capital arm of CFAO Group, with Aruwa Capital Management as a supporting lead, along with participation from other existing investors.
Founded in 2017 by Mr Bryan Mezue, Mr Ken Ahaotu (a pharmacist), and Mr Andrew Garza, Lifestores Healthcare, a Nigerian healthtech company, originated as a chain of retail pharmacies before launching its OGApharmacy service in 2020.
With this investment, Lifestores will expand across Nigeria, improve its software capabilities, and reach new customer segments. It plans to do this by expanding its sales and engineering teams, as well as its senior management.
Lifestores operates an online Business-to-Business (B2B) pharmaceutical marketplace, OGApharmacy, which provides pharmacies with 10-20 per cent group discounts, cutting-edge supply chain software, and the confidence that medications are authentic and not dangerous counterfeits.
Experiencing a 25 per cent monthly marketplace growth to date, OGApharmacy says it counts more than 10 per cent of Nigeria’s pharmacies as registered customers.
Mr Andrew Garza, the company’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, said, “Our scope goes beyond merely distributing medicines and stabilizing prices. Essentially, pharma wholesalers are the ‘banks’ of the healthcare supply chain in Nigeria, and their impact on the overall economy is considerable. By optimizing how we extend credit to our healthcare provider partners and modernizing patient access to health financing, we are able to power the growth of our partners and increase patient access to quality care.”
Lifestores also aims to increase the number of OGApharmacy customers from 10 per cent to 25 per cent of Nigeria’s total market share, increasing the number of patients reached by 4x from 100,000 to 400,000 by 2023.
To drive growth, Lifestores will open a new Lagos processing centre and launch new technology features as part of its B2B offerings, including pharmacy management software, AI-driven predictive ordering, advanced credit offerings, and patient management initiatives.
Additionally, the startup will leverage CFAO Healthcare’s existing wholesale distribution capabilities in Nigeria and across Africa as well as Health54’s increasing network of health services innovators and providers.
It will also expand its Business-to-Customers (B2C) services with pilots in patient savings, care management, and medication delivery.
“We are thrilled to have Health54 join our mission of democratizing access to quality and affordable primary healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa, together with existing investors, such as Aruwa Capital and the Lionbear consortium,” said Mr Bryan Mezue, Co-founder & CEO of Lifestores Healthcare.
“The vast majority of Africans will visit their local pharmacy for treatment. We aim to support pharmacists, the unsung heroes of African healthcare, with the critical services they need to procure and provide safe and affordable medications to their patients,” he said.
“We’re proud and happy to make our first investment with Health54 in Nigeria and in Lifestores. We were impressed with Bryan and Andrew’s on-the-ground experience of having run multiple retail pharmacies in Nigeria. In two years, they have built a first-rate distribution platform with OGAPharmacy. As a strategic partner, we’re delighted to work together and bring the benefits of our vertically integrated pharmaceutical supply chain, so we can support more patients in Nigeria and beyond with quality primary healthcare,” according to Mr Côme Vercken, Managing Director, Health54.
Stanbic IBTC Gives Better Conditions for Healthcare Loan
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Healthcare practitioners intending to get short-term funding support to expand their operations can now do so with better terms from Stanbic IBTC Bank.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, introduced a package called Healthcare Short-term Loan, which many stakeholders in the health industry have accessed.
In order to make it easier for practitioners to access the credit facility for an improved healthcare sector in the country, the lender has upgraded its short-term loan solution within the healthcare value chain.
This upgrade ensures a flexible repayment period, with an affordable interest rate and zero collateral to enable sector players to access better financing and achieve optimal service delivery.
The healthcare loan, which now offers a longer tenor of 12 months, affordable interest rate and zero collateral, will foster more investment in the sector and enhance strategic relationships to generate new businesses.
Speaking at the Medic West Africa Conference, the Head of Specialized Sectors at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Ms Jane Ike-Okoli, noted that effective collaboration between financial institutions and healthcare organizations is key to advancing Nigeria’s health sector.
She advised financial institutions to be more intentional about complementing the government’s efforts, saying, “Stanbic IBTC has a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare industry and its intricacies. This knowledge inspires us to continue to design innovative yet affordable solutions to boost healthcare businesses across the country.”
According to her, despite Nigeria being Africa’s largest healthcare market, challenges in the health sector include inadequate healthcare infrastructure and insufficient financing.
“Stanbic IBTC is passionate about driving change, hence our partnership with key stakeholders in the healthcare sector to improve access to healthcare finance.
“We achieve this by offering flexible funding options for healthcare businesses and providers and strategically partnering with the players in the healthcare ecosystem,” she said.
“Our healthcare solutions are tailor-made for businesses in the sector who need working capital to expand healthcare operations, acquire medical equipment, facilitate medical research, and ultimately grow their healthcare businesses,” Ms Ike-Okoli added.
The Head of Coverage, Commercial Clients at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Babatunde Akindele, also stated that the newly improved healthcare short-term loan is a necessary investment.
“Healthcare is a basic need that everyone should access easily. The pandemic has increased the pressure on the health sector by revealing the urgent need to expand healthcare facilities. Stanbic IBTC has taken yet another step in the right direction to improve healthcare infrastructure and enable qualitative service delivery, which will restore the hope of many Nigerians,” he said.
The growth of the Nigerian healthcare sector rests on impactful and innovative finance solutions positioned to create a level playing field for businesses to thrive. Stanbic IBTC has said it remains committed to blazing the trail in this regard.
UK’s Aide Health Raises £1m to Tackle Hypertension, Pain
By Adedapo Adesanya
Aide Health, a London, UK-based health-tech startup, has raised £1 million in pre-seed funding.
The round was led by Hambro Perks through its EIS fund, with participation from Fuel Ventures, 1818 Ventures and APX Ventures.
In a statement made available to Business Post on Friday, the company intends to use the funds to expand its services to include hypertension and chronic pain.
Co-founded by Mr Ian Wharton (CEO) and Mr Brian Snyde, Aide Health is a digital platform that helps patients and their clinicians understand and manage long-term health conditions, such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and IBD, paired with a mobile app for the patient which acts as a co-pilot through their care.
Medical professionals can use Aide Health’s platform to remotely monitor patients with chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and IBD. Patients monitored through the app can also receive medical advice.
“Like many people, I know first-hand the frustrations of trying to manage long-term conditions,” said Mr Wharton, CEO of Aide Health.
“Our goal is to give both patients and clinicians the tools and insights they need to have better conversations and make more informed treatment decisions together,” he added.
On his part, Mr Nicholas Sharp, head of the Hambro Perks Growth EIS Fund, said: “Ian and Brian’s vision and experience impressed us from the start, and we believe that Aide Health has the potential to be a hugely important tool for both clinicians and patients for managing long-term health conditions.”
Using natural language, Aide Health has short, daily conversations to help with the day-to-day management of health conditions through medicines optimisation, structured monitoring and structured education.
The service is currently being used by the UK National Health Scheme (NHS), with a pilot launched earlier this year supporting people aged between 18-75 with asthma or type-2 diabetes.
How VerveLife Brought Lagos to a Standstill
As the day dawned on Saturday, November 5, 2022, there was a palpable buzz in the cool Lagos air as thousands of fitness enthusiasts trooped to the Oniru beachfront, specifically the Landmark Event Centre, venue of the VerveLife 5.0 fitness party tagged Never Stop.
Introduced in 2017 by Verve, Africa’s leading payment technology and card and member of the Interswitch Group, VerveLife has grown into a thriving platform, attracting thousands of fitness enthusiasts from Nigeria and beyond.
As the event kicked off at 8:00 am, the dancing queen, Kaffy, opened the event with an electrifying performance in celebration of Interswitch Group’s 20th-anniversary celebrations.
For several hours after, Africa’s premium band, Alternate Sound, thrilled the crowd as attendees were engaged in upbeat dance routines and exciting workouts led by a robust lineup of fitness experts – Kemen, Ihuoma Nwigwe, Isoken Uwaifo, Enoyong, Trebla, Kenyan fitness instructor Alvin Lee, and South African fitness royalty, Queen Fitnass.
In line with the VerveLife 5.0 theme, ‘Never Stop’, there was even more fun to come as other musical acts came on stage to thrill the audience. First was Crayon, who doled out his hit songs one after the other. Just as the audience thought they had had just enough for one day, Niniola hit the stage, and the hall went berserk again, dancing to several of her hit tunes.
At this point, the event was best described as an inexhaustible bar of fun, entertainment and good sweat.
The VeveLife 5.0 experience included a series of build-up events spanning over 12 weeks across eight Nigerian cities and Nairobi, Kenya and culminating in the Lagos grand finale. Beyond the invigorating fitness routines, games and fun, the overwhelming crowd gave proof to the growing impact the VerveLife Fitness events have been making over the years.
Verve is the leading indigenous payment technology and card brand in Africa, offering simple and cutting-edge payment solutions. Through the VerveLife fitness events, the brand continues to serve as a platform that encourages Africans to maintain a healthy lifestyle through enjoyable and stimulating activities.
This year’s VerveLife fitness event has lived up to its promise of keeping Verve cardholders, and Africans fit and steering them on the path of healthy living while fostering a community of fitness enthusiasts.
Following the resounding success of VerveLife 5.0, one cannot but wonder what to expect from VerveLife 6.0!
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