Africa’s pharmaceuticals market, valued at $45 billion, is anticipated to achieve a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%, reaching $100 billion by 2030. Despite this promising outlook, the industry contends with challenges emanating from highly fragmented and undercapitalized supply chains, plagued by counterfeit medications, resulting in the tragic loss of thousands of lives annually. Notably, in Nigeria, the prevalence of counterfeit drugs stands at a staggering 20-40%.
Having undertaken pharmaceutical and supply-chain initiatives in their previous professional roles, co-founders Bryan Mezue and Andrew Garza were resolute that their endeavor should democratize access to reliable and affordable primary healthcare. In 2017, they initiated Lifestores Healthcare as a chain of retail pharmacies. Subsequently, the company shifted its focus to B2B services for pharmacies and digital healthcare services for patients.
The operational framework of Lifestores Healthcare encompasses a network exceeding 750 outlets. This healthtech enterprise reports a remarkable 25% monthly growth in its marketplace and has garnered the allegiance of over 10% of Nigeria’s pharmacies as registered clientele. An ambitious expansion target aims to capture 25% of the market, thereby elevating the number of patients reached fourfold – from 100,000 to an impressive 400,000 by 2023.
Founded by Andrew Garza and Bryan Mezue in 2017, Lifestores initially consisted of six retail pharmacies, aimed at offering Nigerians access to authenticated medications. This solution was particularly pertinent in Nigeria, where a disconcerting 20%–40% of medicines are counterfeit. Their approach involved ensuring drug legitimacy by sourcing supplies from the top of the supply chain and subjecting them to rigorous traditional inspections.
The dynamic duo, both alumni of esteemed institutions – Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School – share a background as former employees of global management consultancy Bain & Company. Moreover, their entrepreneurial exploits in Africa paved the way for the establishment of Lifestores Healthcare.
Andrew Garza, as the Co-founder & CEO of Lifestores Healthcare, spearheads the mission to democratize access to superior primary healthcare. The company boasts the fastest-growing digital pharmaceutical marketplace in Africa and is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. Garza’s previous roles encompass a management consulting position at Bain & Co, as well as initiating an educational social enterprise in Ghana named Titagya Schools. Armed with an MBA from Stanford and a BA in Sociology from Haverford College, he eagerly lends support to other startups, providing insights into aspects like product evolution, recruitment, go-to-market strategies, distribution, and fundraising.
Bryan Mezue, the Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Lifestores Healthcare, bears the distinction of being an Alumni Fellow of the Harvard Forum for Growth and Innovation. Here, he co-published a feature article in Foreign Affairs alongside Professor Clayton Christensen, shedding light on innovation-led economic prosperity.
Embarking on his professional journey in 2006, Bryan initiated his career as an investment banking summer intern at Barclays Capital. He subsequently joined Bain & Company, the London-based consultancy, as a consultant. His career path included serving as the Director of Operations and Business Development at d.light Design, a renewable energy semiconductor manufacturer, and undertaking roles in operations, sales, and marketing at MyTime. Furthermore, he interned as a private equity associate at Actis and later managed Bain & Company’s operations.
On October 4, 2022, Lifestores proudly announced the successful conclusion of a pre-Series A funding round amounting to $3 million. This capital infusion will further bolster their mission to democratize access to “quality and affordable primary healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa.”
From its inception, Lifestores Healthcare has consistently attended to over 100,000 patients monthly, leading to substantial savings of $1 million for healthcare providers. The company is also backed by Google for Startups, Aruwa Capital Management, Startup Health, Kepple Africa Ventures, K50 Ventures, CFAO Healthcare, Consonance, and Lionbear Conduit Capital.
In the realm of healthcare investment, Healthcap Africa demonstrates a keen interest in healthtech startups that are making notable strides within the healthcare sector, akin to the remarkable trajectory of Lifestores Healthcare.