Dawaai.pk, one of Pakistan’s largest digital healthcare platforms, operates as an online pharmacy that targets both the B2B (retail pharmacies, medical stores, and businesses) and the B2C segments throughout the country.
Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry is projected to have a value of at least $3 billion and expand at a double-digit rate (excluding the $1 + billion endemic counterfeit industry). Despite its size and expansion, the sector remains extremely fragmented with incumbents including a handful of regional chains, and a large number of single-location retail players relying on an inefficient and expensive supply chain rife with counterfeit products.
Rather, Dawaai sources goods directly from manufacturers and existing distributors to ensure quality, and subsequently meet aggregated demand across the country through its end-to-end logistics feature managed.
In 2013, Furquan Kidwai, a former London investment banker, started Dawaai, with a goal to digitize pharmaceutical logistics in Pakistan. After a prolonged period of a foothold in the country’s tightly regulated and complex pharmaceutical space, Furquan’s company appears to be booming – rising more than 6x in size in less than a year.
The increased size also appealed to producers who had previously struggled to have their goods enter far-flung areas of the country, which in turn helped Dawaai gain more lucrative terms from the manufacturers. The problem for Dawaai, it seems, is not to attract customers but to ensure effective logistics and an adequate supply of inventory to fulfill orders from across the world.
Healthcare should be accessible and affordable for everyone, and to make that happen we are setting up the infrastructure, supply chain, and logistics. The way consumers access essential items is changing fast and we expect the same trend with their healthcare needs. Dawaai is positioning itself to lead the charge on fulfilling that customer demand. With the capital we have raised and the support of partners like Sarmayacar and Kingsway we are focused on driving scale in the most capital-efficient manner and ushering Pakistan’s healthcare system into the new era.
The investment round brings together Sarmayacar, Pakistan’s leading venture capital firm, along with London-based investment company Kingsway Capital (also investors in the parent organization EMPG of Zameen.com) and the Mentors Fund, headquartered in San Francisco.
Moving pharmaceutical products across Pakistan comes with logistical challenges, impacting margins in a price-controlled market. This creates the opportunity for a parallel counterfeit market to thrive as consumers cannot access affordable and authentic medicines. Dawaai, in our view, is tackling these very real pain points – by aggregating demand across the country and managing logistics end to end, customers now have a company that will bring authentic drugs direct from manufacturers and distributors to their doorstep. We believe Pakistan is quickly moving through its digital revolution and an increasing proportion of its population, much like other developed countries, will buy its drugs online in the years to come. We have absolute conviction in Furquan being the leader that will make Dawaai the protagonist in that transformation across Pakistan and beyond.