Karachi-headquartered online pharmacy startup Dawaai has raised USD 8.5 million in a round led by 500 Startups, taking its total financing to date to USD 10.5 million. The round was comprised of equity and debt, and included the participation of existing investor Sarmayacar and two family offices. The startup told MENAbytes that equity accounts for a significant majority of the round. The deal also included secondaries with some investors exiting (or partially exiting) the company, generating significant returns. Dawaai did not share the exact breakdown but told MENAbytes that secondaries were a very small part of the transaction.
Founded in early 2014 by Furquan Kidwai, Dawaai sells medicines, personal care products, and medical equipment to individuals and MSMEs (pharmacies) across the country through its web and mobile-based platform. It works directly with pharmaceutical companies and large distributors to sell authentic medicines at what it says are the lowest possible prices. Users can order medicines by uploading their prescriptions or manually adding them to their cart on the platform. For prescription medicines, users must upload a prescription to complete the order.
In the last seven years, Dawaai claims to have served 11 million people in the country. A large number of these users have purchased medicines using Dawaai’s platform. The company currently delivers medicines in 98 cities through multiple fulfillment centers across the country. In some parts of Pakistan, it also has its own fleet, through which it is able to offer two-hour delivery in select areas of Karachi and Lahore.
The startup said that it has grown its revenue by 350% in the last twelve months. Dawaai’s team has also grown from 15 employees about two years ago to its current 250. It has added members to all departments of the company and plans to continue hiring more.
In addition to medicines and medical equipment, Dawaai’s platform now enables users to consult doctors online, receive health services like nursing, physiotherapy, and more at home, and book lab tests.
Furquan Kidwai, founder and CEO of Dawaai, told MENAbytes that many customers who order medicines from their platform are chronic patients. “They need doctor consultations and lab tests on a regular basis, and to serve them better, we’ve been adding all these services to Dawaai and will continue to add more. It is very encouraging to see that teleconsultations offered by Dawaai have grown to tens of thousands of monthly sessions so quickly.”
Some of the doctors who use Dawaai to offer consultations have doubled their income, added Furquan.
In a statement commenting on the round, he said, “We are laser-focused on our mission to make healthcare accessible and affordable for the people of Pakistan and those in South Asia. The first step in achieving that is building the missing pharmaceutical supply chain infrastructure in the markets we operate and honing the next generation of talent to take our economies forward. This financing will enable us to carry forward on our journey to improve the lives of people across Pakistan, with a low-cost healthcare model for all Pakistanis.”
Tony Wang, the managing partner at 500 Startups, said, “In recent years, Furquan and his team have established Dawaai not only as the premier digital health startup in Pakistan but as a pioneer tech company in a growing startup ecosystem. We are thrilled to continue to back Dawaai as it facilitates access to healthcare to millions of people.”
Dawaai plans to use the investment to continue building pharmaceutical supply chain infrastructure in Pakistan and further develop its technology to optimize the business.
This article was originally published on MENAbytes.