Sunday February 05, 2023

Startup raises country’s biggest healthcare funding

By Our Correspondent
May 13, 2022

KARACHI: Healthcare startup MedznMore has raised more than $11.5 million in pre-series A round funding, making it the biggest funding raised by a healthcare startup in the country, The News learnt on Thursday.

The company, which sells medicines to pharmacies as well as to retail customers, said the new funding would help it expand services and hire more tech talent.

It currently has over 800 employees and operating in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.

“We will be expanding to up to eight new cities by end of this year,” chief executive officer Asad Khan said ,adding that the funding would be spend on establishing warehouses, omni-channel stores, staff and inventory in the new cities.

The company made announcement of investors Integra Partners, Sturgeon Capital, and Nunc Gestion in the pre-Series A round funding.

The Karachi-based startup raised $2.6 million in September 2020, which was the largest seed round of the country at that time.

The company chief said they were aiming for a Series A round by the end of the year.

MedznMore was founded by Asad Khan, Saad Khawar and Babar Lakhani in 2020. Khan and Khawar had previously worked in the healthcare sector while Lakhani was an investment banker.

The aim of the startup was to make genuine medicines easily accessible to the general public in the country.

Last month, another healthcare based Pakistani startup medIQ raised $1.8 million in pre-seed stage funding with an aim to expand services into 20 cities of Pakistan, and later on regionally.

Covid-19 pandemic proved to be a catalyst for the startup landscape in the country, which saw investments rise from $65 million in 2020 to $350 million (83 deals) in 2021. In the first quarter of calendar year 2022, Pakistani startups have raised over $165 million.

“Pakistan has a large population and has huge service gaps in almost all industries,” Khurram Schehzad, Founder Alpha Beta Core, said. He added that the country had great potential to attract funding for startups. “There are huge gaps that have been addressed in other parts of the world by startups with ideas to solve them.”

A seasoned tech analyst revealed that the country has a potential of attracting $4 to $5 billion annually. He quoted that Indian startups were attracting multiple of $100 million funding for having a viable business environment.

He said that regulatory bodies such as the State Bank of Pakistan and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SCEP) were making efforts to move in the right direction, but there was need for more work on it, he urged.

The analyst called for initiatives such as provision of tax incentives, cheap internet, and other to achieve true potential of country’s tech-based startup culture.