Pakistan’s online pharmacy Dawaai raising $5m Series A from 500 Startups, others

Medical drugs in a pharmacy. Credit: Flickr/epSos .de

Dawaai, a Pakistan-based online pharmacy, aims to raise $5 million in Series A funding from 500 Startups and other investors, its founder and CEO Furquan Kidwai told DealStreetAsia.

The Karachi-based startup expects to close the round in coming weeks.

According to Kidwai, the Pakistani startup raised nearly $1 million in pre-Series A funding from 500 Startups’s 500 Durians fund in April. The investment is understood to be one of the largest first cheques made by the Southeast Asian seed investor and its first in the burgeoning South Asian market.

500 Durians has made several prominent Southeast Asian bets in the past, including names such as ride-hailing decacorn Grab, Indonesian e-commerce giant Bukalapak and Naspers-backed classifieds startup Carousell.

500 Durians is also expected to double down on Dawaai as it closes its Series A. It will join existing investors such as Boston-based Crimson Seed Capital, Pakistan’s Planet N Group, and angel investors. Kidwai added that another Southeast Asian venture capital firm will be leading the round but declined to provide details.

Dawaai was founded in 2013 by Kidwai, a former trader and analyst with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers in London.

The Karachi-based online pharmacy operates six fulfillment centres and delivers medicines directly to Pakistani homes across 17 cities. It is also developing a full-stack platform, which will include an ePharmacy platform for hospitals, refill reminders, eLabs at home, and doctor chat and appointment services with its own in-house team of healthcare professionals to provide advice.

Kidwai said that the Series A funds will be used to develop the startup’s technology and product stack. It will also be used for hiring talent as the company embarks on aggressive growth plans over the next year. Dawaai expects to expand its reach from 17 to 100 cities in Pakistan by 2020.

Dawaai joins a number of Pakistani tech startups which have closed their early stage rounds in recent months.

Knowledge Platform, an edtech startup, raised over $2 million in Series A funding from Beaconhouse School System and asset management firm Lakson Investments Venture Capital (LIVC) in April.

Airlift, a transportation startup, nabbed $2.2 million in seed funding co-led by Fatima Gobi Ventures and Indus Valley Capital to expand its footprint in the country.

At least one startup is already entering Series B territory. Bykea, a ride-hailing and parcel delivery startup, has already received $5 million in capital commitments for its targeted $15 million Series B round which it hopes to close in early 2020.

Led by former Daraz co-founder, Muneeb Maayr, Bykea closed its $5.7 million Series A in April this year. It is backed by investors such as Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), and Pakistan-focused venture capital firm, Sarmayacar.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.