Pakistan’s Dawaai raises $8.5 million amid expansion plans

Pakistan’s online pharmacy startup, Dawaai, has raised $8.5 million in a round led by 500 startups. The startup was able to boost its total financing to $10.5 million with this new investment, which it hopes to use in growing its online healthcare platform.

Existing investor Sarmayacar and two undisclosed family offices also participated in this equity and debt round. While the startup did not realise the breakdown between secondaries and equity, it commented that equity constituted a significant majority of the round, according to MENAbytes.

Dawaai was founded by Furqan Kidwai in early 2014 with the aim of disrupting Pakistan’s healthcare sector with its technology-enabled digital pharmacy services. The startup uses its web and mobile application to sell medicine, personal care items and medical equipment across Pakistan, and directly works with pharmaceutical companies to procure authentic medicine at cheaper rates for both B2B and B2C customers.

While Covid-19 continues to impact lives and livelihoods all across the country, demand for healthcare and pharmacy solutions has increased. While traditional pharmacies stores struggle with supply chain challenges and issues of counterfeit medicines, Dawaai is able to fulfil this excess demand through its online presence and one-stop pharmacy solutions.

In a previous interview with the Business Recorder, CEO and founder of Dawaai Furquan Kidwai also explained that the pandemic has led to an explosion of e-commerce across the world and these circumstances have contributed to a greater user acceptability of the digital space in Pakistan. He also added that Dawaai witnessed about 3 to 4x growth within the span of a few weeks of the pandemic.

The value of the pharmaceutical sector of Pakistan was estimated to be around $3.2 billion in 2020, doubling from $1.64 billion in 2011. With a local market of 215 million consumers and more than 700 pharmaceutical companies, this sector is also poised well for e-pharmacy startups like Dawaai to introduce new technology solutions for the customer base.

It is also important to note that Dawaai offers other telehealth services in addition to its e-pharmacy,and has a network of nurses and physiotherapists along with lab testing services for its consumer base in Pakistan.

Currently, the startup is in the process of launching its fifth warehouse and hopes to expand its operations in larger cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

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