Newtown Partners via The Imperial Venture Fund has invested in Egypt-based pharmacy benefits platform Chefaa in an undisclosed round of venture financing, marking an expansion of its healthtech investment breadth into the MENA region.
Chefaa is an asset-light, digital e-pharmacy and pharmacy benefits platform that enables access and direct distribution to end-consumers within the pharmaceutical value chain in Egypt and MENA. Chefaa’s mobile application consolidates Egypt’s fragmented pharmacy market enabling consumers to search, make orders, schedule deliveries (utilizing GPS functionality) and make payments online for medication and healthcare products in real-time.
Chefaa has built a platform that enables Egypt’s fragmented market of brick-and-mortar pharmacies to transact like e-pharmacies, leveraging scale efficiencies and automation technology to provide affordable and accessible medication to consumer homes and increase medication adherence. Chefaa’s technology automates the ordering, payment, and delivery processes, providing an ecosystem where:
- Chefaa consolidates medication supply across a fragmented pharmacy network and enables the end-consumer to search real-time for medication by proximity.
- Pharmacies receive orders through the application and deliver products to consumers, benefiting from Chefaa’s automated processes and consumer base to increase their sales volumes.
- SMEs (to the benefit of their employees) and end consumers can pay a monthly subscription to access discounted medications and health services through Chefaa Prime.
The venture funding round featured a cohort of multinational investors including Global Brain (Japan) and GMS Capital Partners (MENA). The undisclosed round is part of Chefaa’s journey to further expand its network, support the release of its Chefaa Prime product, a complete medical insurance alternative designed for emerging markets and to launch officially in new markets.
We found Chefaa compelling for its proven ability to scale across geographies, impressive traction and growth across MENA, a strong female-led team with extensive healthcare and pharmaceutical expertise, a large, engaged base of customers, as well as strong alignment with our pharmaceutical e-commerce and digitizing healthcare interfaces investment theses wherein we find that business models that are expected to alter the basis of competition and disrupt the existing pharmaceutical value chain include one or more of the following:
- Integration of previously modularized elements of the value chain
- Integration of critical, unreliable components to provide predictability (such as fulfillment and payment rails).
- Removal of cost from the value chain.
- Provision of visibility to the end of the supply chain to understand demand and consumption.
- Pragmatic use of affordable & easy to access technological solutions.
- Use of emerging technologies with high applicability to the African market like AI.
- Asset-light (agent-led) delivery models that are platforms or aggregators.
Chefaa is a strong investment thesis fit considering they are building a platform to serve the needs of multiple stakeholders within the pharma value chain in Egypt and MENA with a focus on providing a distribution channel for pharmacies and non-pharma brands to patients whilst solving patient challenges in accessing/understanding medication. This has proven to be a compelling combination for a pharmaceutical e-commerce business in MENA as Chefaa has proven the ability to capture considerable pharmaceutical and wellness spend over the last 4 years, a complex process and difficult to accomplish.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has driven faster e-commerce adoption with Chefaa providing the digital infrastructure for medical access at a time when the world needs it most, Newtown Partners has high execution conviction in Chefaa’ two dynamic female Egyptian co-founders, who have a combined 25+ years of experience in medical practice and digital marketing strategy.