KENYA—Kenyan’s e-health startup, MYDAWA, has received US$20 million from U.S.-based private equity firm, Alta Semper Capital to fuel its ambitious continental expansion goal.

The new investment marks Alta Semper’s entry into digital healthcare in Africa. 

MYDAWA also has announced startup the acquisition of Uganda’s Guardian Health for an undisclosed sum.

The Ugandan pharmacy chain operates around 19 new stores in key locations in Kampala and neighboring regions.

MYDAWA pre-empts that the acquisition is its first step in international expansion as it continues to seek potential acquisitions, collaborations, and promising startups situated across Africa.

MYDAWA provides consumers across the region easy access to safe, affordable healthcare products and medical services, through a proprietary technology-based solution.

The company controls and provides all its operations including logistics in-house to ensure service levels. 

Over the years, the previous e-pharmacy store has now grown to become a fully regulated one-stop shop for healthcare with access to consultations, tests, referrals, and a continuous help desk, all accessed by whatever channel suits the customer. 

Alta Semper CEO, Afsane Jetha said that their focus is on market-leading businesses with highly diversified, politically stable, and fast-growing economies. ‘

Jetha said, “MYDAWA was the logical choice for us as their groundbreaking technology, underpinning a scalable business model along with regulatory know-how and market entry experience mapped so well to our own strategy.”

Jetha also adds that the drive to increase access to good advice and safe and affordable medication is core to Alta Semper’s overall mission of democratizing access to health and wellbeing across the African continent.

MYDAWA co-founder Neil O’Leary commented on the funding and latest acquisition, saying that Alta Semper’s aims matched those of MYDAWA, and it brings the drive, contacts, and clout to succeed.

“MYDAWA now has a solid secure base as well as a fantastic expansion opportunity based on a fantastic offering that improves health outcomes. Guardian is a fantastic first step toward realizing our ambition,” O’Leary added.

MYDAWA has also appointed Priscilla Muhiu to lead its e-health business prospective expansion plans.

Priscilla is the former General Manager for Glovo Kenya, a position she has held since September 2020.

MYDAWA’s journey to be the juggernaut it is

MYDAWA debuted in 2016 as an e-pharmacy and has currently expanded from an e-pharmacy to include online and in-person consultations, as well as laboratory services at its growing network of walk-in pharmacies and health centers.

The company was established by Irish private equity firm ION Equity with an initial capital of US$5 million.

It has also introduced its own branded goods and wants to open its digital infrastructure from telemedicine to fulfillment, assisting other healthcare enterprises in scaling.

Jetha remarked that as consumer spending in Africa is projected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2025, this represents one of the continent’s largest business opportunities.

“Therefore, the investment into MYDAWA is part of our strategic aim at meeting this growing demand by investing in locally produced and value-priced consumer goods and services,’’ Jetha added. 

MYDAWA has raised funds three times before, but the latest round marks its biggest fundraising event yet as it eyes to expand beyond East Africa. 

The e-health platform had raised a little over US$9 million in previous rounds.

Its seed round occurred in March 2017, when it raised US$1.5 million from Indigo Partners.

In 2019, it staged a Series A round with US$3 million raised from Africa HealthCare Master Fund and Indigo Partners.

Then towards the end of 2021, MYDAWA raised $1.2 million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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