RxAll seizes $ 3.15 million to expand drug verification and counterfeiting technology across Africa – TechCrunch
Research indicates that counterfeit drugs are the cause of one million deaths per year. A tenth of that number comes from Africa. Counterfeiting is difficult to detect, investigate, quantify or stop. It is a global problem, with annual revenues from substandard drugs amounting to over $ 100 billion.
Certain technologies have helped to cope with this threat; for example, radio frequency identification, which works by assigning serial numbers to containers of each product. More modern approaches are being taken these days, such as RxAll, a startup using cutting edge technology to deliver quality drugs to patients.. Today, the US-Nigeria-Based Company Announces $ 3.15 Million Funding to Expand Existing Markets and Improve Technology.
RxAll Was found in 2016 by Adebayo Alonge, Amy Kao and Wei Lui. As students at Yale University, the trio came together to collectively solve a problem they encountered directly, or personally or in relation to a loved one.
In 2006, Alonge was the victim of fake pharmaceuticals and nearly died after taking drugs containing deadly levels of diazepam.. He fell into a coma for three weeks.
“I survived a 21 day coma in Nigeria 15 years ago. My co-founder, Amy, was hospitalized in Thailand after taking counterfeit drugs. And Wei lost a family member to tainted drugs, ”Alonge told TechCrunch on a call.
Based on an R&D project at the college chemistry department, Alonge, Kao and Lui began to analyze how to use machine learning and molecular spectroscopy for drug quality, material and quality assurance.. The big idea was to tackle the problem of lack of access to high quality medicines in Africa first and then in the rest of the world by creating a market to authenticate the sale of safe and reputable pharmaceuticals..
“After going through this, the information available confirmed that what we experienced was not a one-off situation. It is an ongoing problem; 100,000 Africans die from this problem every year. A million people are dying around the world from this problem, ”continued CEO Alonge.
Its proprietary technology, RxScanner, is a portable authenticator designed for patients to verify their medications. According to the company, the RxScanner can identify the quality of prescription drugs in 20 seconds and display the results in real time through mobile apps.
RxAll arranges high quality sellers in its marketplace and provides the RxScanner to them. Machine learning model reads spectrum samples and sends test results indicating identity and quality against reference. Sellers can to be found by using the filter, and oOnce the batch testing is complete, the seller can market the product and make it available for ordering, pickup, and on-demand deliveries..
The company earns money through commissions through transactions made in the market. It also uses a subscription model with the RxScanner for home and business customers.
Despite the company’s innovation, funding has been scarce, as is the case for many deep tech platforms with a strong focus on Africa. This is mostly due to the long cycle from research to commercialization of such businesses, most VCs would instead get involved in the later stages of the business. So far, RxAll has stayed alive winning grants and prizes in competitions, with equity funding from the Africa-focused Founders Factory Africa accelerator..
Alonge sees RxAll as a pioneer in the world of deep technology mixed with healthcare technology. He believes there is no direct competition with how the RxScanner works, at least for now.
“In terms of Pharmaceutical e-commerce, yes it’s a different ball game. In terms of drug testing, the only other options available are laboratory equipment, and they can be expensive. But in the space we play in, the scope, the price, the way we do it using deep learning and cellphones, there is no comparison, ”said CEO ..
However, technological advance alone does not allow you to sell a product or run a business. With RxAll, the key to advancing its technology, according to Alonge, is to make its products affordable to the market despite the costs incurred. It’s a challenge that the company strives to meet more to make its technology easier for investors to understand.
RxAll describes itself as a company operating in a global market. But as pointed out previously, a large part of its customers and income comes from Africa, especially Nigeria. It currently serves ten cities and is actively validate the authenticity of drugs for 1 million patients while serving more than 2,000 hospitals and pharmacies in this West African country. The company plans to add 14 more cities before the end of the year, with a Pan-African game launching next year.
This funding round is the cumulative of a fundraising round of $ 2 million recently closed (oversubscribed with $ 2.25 million) and a pre-seed of $ 900,000 raised at the end of last year.. Launch Africa led the round with participation of HAX from SOSV and Keisuke Honda through its KSK fund.
Speaking in the round, Launch Africa Ventures Managing Partner Zachariah George said: “Launch Africa Ventures is excited to co-lead this round of financing within a solid and experienced team at RxAll. We believe that RxAll fills a major gap in access to quality healthcare in Africa by creating a drug distribution platform to enable pharmacies and patients to purchase authenticated drugs online. The ability to obtain a favorable unit economy and many revenue streams by leveraging anti-counterfeiting mobile spectrometer technology, owning the entire drug supply chain and their own payment portfolio, provides an opportunity for massive growth and expansion through the ‘Africa and beyond. “
Duncan Turner, Managing Partner of SOSV and Managing Director of HAX added: “We have been unbelievably impressed with RxAll’s ability to scale and meet customer demand. In fair Last year, the team brought together cutting-edge technology and operational excellence to solve the pressing problems of over one million Nigerians, and we couldn’t be more excited about their vision for the wider pharmaceutical market.. “
So what’s next for RxAll? Alonge said the company’s next focus is on partnerships. According to him, they will be an integral part of RxAll’s efforts to develop its market and scanner across Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.
“Besides hospitals, pharmacies and patients, we also sell to governments and FDAs in countries on the scanner side. So we are looking to secure key partnerships globally, not fair in Nigeria, but across Africa, Southeast Asia, North America and South America. These are the key markets in which we seek to expand.