- Funding to expand the Shelf Life platform
- Digitizing and financing inventory for community pharmacies in Africa
- Increasing on-shelf availability of quality-assured medicines for patients
11 March 2020, Nigeria, Kenya, and Germany — Field Intelligence is today announcing the successful closing of its Series A funding round led by Blue Haven Initiative, with investors including Newtown Partners via the Imperial Venture Fund, Accion Venture Lab, and Sunu Capital. The US$3.6 million equity raise will fund the scale up of Shelf Life, the technology-enabled supply chain finance platform for pharmacies in Africa.
The annual pharmaceuticals market in Africa is valued at over $60 billion. For 80% of people in Africa their community pharmacy is the frontline of the health system and yet they routinely stock out of essential medicines, incur significant losses to expiry and struggle with substandard and falsified drugs. These inefficiencies cost the health system millions of dollars each year and limit access to quality care.
Field Intelligence has been a pioneer in pharmaceutical supply chain solutions in Africa. Its Shelf Life “Pay-As-You-Sell” subscription service for pharmaceutical products has grown rapidly since first debuting in Nigeria in mid 2017. The new investment will fund Shelf Life’s expansion throughout Nigeria and Kenya, as well as the development of additional services for Shelf Life clients and their patients.
Shelf Life’s pharmacy clients can subscribe to over a thousand quality-assured and price-stabilised drugs from 50 medical, health and wellness categories. Using Field Intelligence’s technology platform, Shelf Life forecasts, procures, delivers, manages, and finances each product the pharmacy has subscribed to.
Over 280 community pharmacies in Nigeria and Kenya have now subscribed to Shelf Life, making it one of the largest networks of pharmacies on the continent. It is making the business of community pharmacy less risky and lower-cost, while improving access to an expanded selection of higher-quality medicines.
Since inception, Shelf Life has maintained 96% stock availability for its clients, up from a pre-Shelf Life baseline of 60%. As an alternative to traditional inventory finance, Shelf Life costs pharmacies between 60 and 82% less than traditional loans – freeing these small retailers from prohibitively expensive capital.
Advisory support to this transaction was provided by CrossBoundary through USAID’s INVEST program funded by the USAID Southern and East Africa Regional Missions in support of the US Government’s Prosper Africa initiative.
Michael Moreland, Co-Founder and CEO, Field Intelligence, says, “We’re delighted to welcome new investors into the business. They share our vision for catalysing change in a huge and vitally-important sector. They bring deep fintech and logistics experience, which will be vital in helping us build a new generation of healthcare supply chains in Africa and beyond.”
Lauren Cochran, Managing Director, Blue Haven Initiative says, “Shelf Life is a proven platform to transform access to medicines through Africa’s private community pharmacy market. The design and development has been done on the ground in Nigeria and Kenya and there’s real experience in the team of what it takes to deliver at scale in African health systems.”
Llew Claasen, Managing Partner, Newtown Partners notes, “We’re excited about the potential for the Field Intelligence technology-first distributor business model to grow the pharmaceutical value chain in Sub-Saharan Africa, by supplying genuine pharmaceutical products, managing stock and providing working capital finance to community pharmacies.”
Michael Schlein, President and CEO, Accion, says, “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.”
Ashley Lewis, Senior Investment Officer for Africa at Accion Venture Lab, “Accion’s seed-stage inclusive fintech investment initiative, adds, “Its platform increases efficiency, decreases financing costs, and establishes strong rails for transformative payments and inventory services – ultimately improving access to medicines in community pharmacies.”
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About Field Intelligence
We are a social enterprise, building a new generation of healthcare supply chains in Africa. We develop enterprise platforms and manage logistics information for large-scale public health and community pharmacies. We use technology to amplify human resources and drive innovation. Our multinational team works out of our offices in Abuja, Berlin, Lagos, London and Nairobi. Field is managing commodities with a value of over $1 billion dollars across both the public and private sector.
About Blue Haven
Blue Haven Initiative is an innovative family office dedicated to putting wealth to work for competitive returns and positive social and environmental change. In alignment with the goals of the broader family office, Blue Haven’s Ventures team makes direct investments into mission-driven companies with rapid growth trajectories and strong potential for catalytic social change. The portfolio consists of sustainable and scalable businesses that target underserved consumers, build out fundamental market infrastructure, and develop economies. With a focus primarily on early stage, energy, fintech, logistics and human capital ventures in Sub Saharan Africa, Blue Haven’s portfolio includes CrossBoundary Energy, M-KOPA, Paystack, Shortlist and Twiga Foods.
About Accion Venture Lab
Accion’s seed-stage investment initiative Accion Venture Lab provides capital and extensive support to innovative fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved and have the potential to scale. Backed by commercial and impact investors since the launch of its third-party fund in 2019, Venture Lab has invested in more than 40 early-stage startups that operate in 30 countries worldwide. Venture Lab is a part of Accion, a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. Accion catalyzes financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector. For more than 50 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through our work with more than 110 partners in 50 countries. For further information, visit https://www.accion.org/venturelab.