MYDAWA gets $20 million capital injection, names Priscilla Muhiu as new CEO for Kenya

MYDAWA, the East Africa-based e-health platform, has received a capital injection of $20 million from private equity investor Alta Semper Capital and also purchased Uganda’s largest pharmacy chain Guardian Health.

Alta Semper is an international private equity fund whose mission is to democratize access to health and well-being, providing both finance and synergies with its existing portfolio. Alta Semper is investing in MYDAWA from its recently launched Fund II.

With acquisition of Guardian Health, MYDAWA is now able to offer a full range of health services to customers through all channels including stores. The brand’s range of services to business customers has expanded to include telehealth and fulfilment services as well as the sale of own brand medicines to wholesalers, clinics and supermarkets.

(TOP: Priscilla Muhiu, the new CEO of MYDAWA Kenya).

The acquisition of Guardian Health (for an undisclosed sum) is the first step in MYDAWA’s international expansion. Guardian’s mostly new 19 stores in key locations in Kampala and neighbouring regions combined with the dedicated care provided by a young highly competent staff has seen the business grow strongly and profitably over the past 5 years. It is the ideal launchpad on which to overlay the e-health capabilities of MYDAWA – at once making it both the biggest and most advanced e-health offering in Uganda. MYDAWA with Guardian are dedicated to continue its growth trajectory while constantly improving service for customers in Uganda.

The other major and latest development from MYDAWA is Priscilla Muhiu’s appointment as CEO of MYDAWA Kenya, joining the firm from Glovo where she’d served as the Country Manager for just about 4 years. Under Priscilla’s leadership there is already significant expansion of both consumer and business to business activities.

MYDAWA’s purpose is to improve health outcomes by the most efficient use of the resources available in Africa. It provides thousands of consumers and dozens of businesses across the region easy access to safe, affordable healthcare products and medical services, through a proprietary technology based solution. MYDAWA controls and provides all its operations including logistics in-house to ensure service levels.

Since its inception in 2016 when the Company became East Africa’s first licensed online pharmacy, MYDAWA has focused on addressing critical customer needs by tackling significant public health issues such as product quality and affordable cost, amidst growing concerns over genuine and safe pharmaceuticals in the continent, high prices, scarcity  medications and unreliable supply lines. Furthermore, the company’s technology, expertise and first mover advantage make it a natural platform for regional consolidation and further product line proliferation. The MYDAWA brand is the top rated brand in its markets.

Absorbing 5 years of market feedback and data it was clear that ready access to advice (not just products) was also a challenge to many – leading to self-medication, exploitation by sellers of poor products and the clogging of clinics by those with chronic or sometimes routine health issues. Responding to the needs of consumers – MYDAWA is now a fully regulated one stop shop for healthcare with access to consultations, tests, referrals, a continuous help desk, all accessed by whatever channel suits the customer. Purchasers of prescription medicine will always be advised by a professional and “Pharmtecs” bring personal service to the customer’s door by arriving on a motorbike. To complete the full service offering – walk in pharmacy and health centres are being opened in Kenya – the newest being the successful launch of a combined super pharmacy, health centre and fulfilment centre in Mombasa, Kenya. MYDAWA has now leapfrogged most the world in the completeness of the service to customers.

In addition to its full service offering to consumers MYDAWA is also partnering with other major health providers and businesses. Sales of its own brand products to wholesalers, clinics, pharmacies and supermarkets are growing rapidly. Sales of its services from telehealth to fulfilment are commencing with some of Kenya’s biggest clinic chains to expand their reach. It is partnering with insurers and others to develop and fulfil best practice chronic care as illnesses such as diabetes become an increasing issue in Africa. It provides rich data to partners. In effect it has a matrix of tech enabled health services and products to support other health stakeholders as needed. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have partnered with MYDAWA and provided grant funding to MYDAWA to provide advice and distribute HIV products.

The company is on the lookout for potential acquisitions, collaborations and promising start-ups situated across Africa. It is also keen to engage with strategic partners and value add investors as it expands.

MYDAWA was founded,  and continues to be led at group level by experienced business builder Neil O’Leary. Neil is enthusiastic about the partnership with Alta Semper. “Alta Semper’s ambition exactly matches that of MYDAWA, and it brings the drive, connections and clout to succeed. It invests in market leading consumer and healthcare platforms with regional aspirations seeking to ensure better health outcomes to as many Africans as possible. Three years ago, AAIC, a Japanese backed African healthcare fund joined as our first external investor and now the team has been augmented in the strongest manner possible. MYDAWA now has both a solid secure base and a great expansion opportunity based on a great offering which improves health outcomes. Guardian is a great first step on fulfilling our ambitions.”

 The CEO of Alta Semper, Afsane Jetha, highlighted that their focus is on market-leading businesses highly diversified, politically stable, and fast-growing economies. “This investment marks our entry into digital healthcare in Africa, which we see as a major growth area across Africa in the coming years.  MYDAWA was the logical choice for us as their groundbreaking technology, underpinning a scalable business model along with regulatory knowhow and market entry experience mapped so well to our own strategy. The drive to increase access to good advice and safe and affordable medication is core to our overall mission of democratizing access to health and wellbeing across the African continent.”

Afsane Jetha adds that “With consumer spending in Africa 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.

Alta Semper and its shareholders were advised by Si Ad, E&Y, A&K and CRS in London, while MYDAWA was advised McCann Fitzgerald, Bowman’s, Ion Equity and J Smeby.

Alta Semper is a private equity manager active across growth markets, with a specific focus on Africa. The Firm was founded by Afsane Jetha, Ronald Lauder, (Chairman of Clinique Laboratories, a subsidiary of the Estée Lauder Company, and a former US ambassador to Austria), Richard Parsons (Chairman of Rockefeller Foundation, former Chairman of Citigroup, and Chairman/CEO of Time Warner Group) and is dedicated to sustainable investing in the healthcare, consumer, technology, and education sectors across growth markets.


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