Nigeria-based health care company, Field Intelligence has closed a $3.6 million Series A funding round to scale up its supply chain service to pharmacies.

The round was led by Blue Haven Initiative, one of the world’s biggest impact investors. Sunu Capital, another impact investor, and Accion Venture Lab, which typically backs fintech companies, participated in the round.

Imperial Venture Fund, a new $20 million fund created by Newtown Capital and South African logistics company Imperial, also backed the round. Field Intelligence is Imperial Venture’s first investment.

Field Intelligence is using technology to improve the supply chain and logistics needs of pharmacies in Africa.

Pharmacies are a critical part of the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria and Africa. With the low reach and accessibility to hospitals and clinics, pharmacies are the first healthcare contact for many people.

Pharmacies are the commonest way most Africans access health services.

It is a $60 billion market, Field Intelligence wrote in a press statement. But it is not uncommon that many pharmacies run out of stock for important drugs at times people need them the most. Pharmacies also struggle with the problem of fake and substandard drugs.

Field Intelligence wants to address these problems.

Its flagship product is Shelf Life, a subscription-based service that helps pharmacies restock inventory on-demand or every week. The service sells pharma products and inventory management tools to drug stores.

Shelf life app during delivery at Princess Pharmacy in Nairobi on November 8, 2019

The tech solution allows stores to forecast, procure, deliver, manage, and finance each product they have subscribed to. Shelf Life is live in Nigeria and Kenya.

“Shelf Life is a powerful example of the innovative use of financial technologies to address supply chain challenges that hinder small businesses’ efficiency and growth – and ultimately affect their ability to deliver the products and services that communities need to thrive.” 

Since it launched in 2017, Shelf Life has grown to 280 pharmacies as subscribers. The company says Shelf Life has helped to maintain 96% stock availability for subscribers, up from 60% when they were not subscribed.

With its new funding, Field Intelligence says it will scale up Shelf Life in Nigeria and Kenya. It plans to develop additional features for the service.

The diverse background of its investors could play a big role in its future. For instance, Accion Venture Lab has only ever backed fintechs. Getting Accion’s support could mean Field Intelligence is developing some finance technology targeted at drug stores. 

Meanwhile, the entry of Imperial Venture Fund gives the startup access to Silicon Valley networks through Newtown Capital and they also get a deep understanding of logistics through Imperial.

Abubakar Idris Author

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