|20 August, 2019

Egyptian healthcare app Chefaa to expand operations amidst inflation

Expanding Chefaa across Egypt will be no easy task

Image used for illustrative purpose. Counterfeit drugs seized by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection are seen on display at the agency's offices at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York August 15, 2012.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Counterfeit drugs seized by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection are seen on display at the agency's offices at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York August 15, 2012.

REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Egyptian start-up Chefaa, an on-demand medicine delivery platform, is planning to expand within the country and the Gulf countries, thanks to a recently secured six-figure seed funding.

The first step for Doaa Aref and Rasha Rady, Chefaa’s co-founders, is to expand the platform’s coverage to 26 governorates in Egypt by the end of 2019. “After covering Egypt, we will expand to the GCC states by the first quarter of 2020. Saudi Arabia will be our first destination, followed by the UAE,” Aref told Zawya.

However, expanding Chefaa across Egypt will be no easy task, especially while the country reels from high inflation. Aref cites this as having a particularly significant impact on healthcare sector; as medicine prices increase continuously, many patients can’t access the medical care they need.

The Cairo-based health-tech start-up was founded in 2017 to enable patients to order their medicines via an app and receive it at their doorstep every month. Operating in nine governorates in Egypt, Chefaa has generated sales of more than $1 million and completed over 100,000 orders through its network of more than 800 pharmacies.

Chefaa’s seed funding, which took place last week, was a round led by 500 Startups with participation of Flat6Labs (a follow-on investment) and a group of undisclosed angel investors. Besides expanding across geographies, part of the funding will be used for product development, including onboarding new services and testing them.

Chefaa co-founders Dr.Doaa Aref and Dr. Rasha Rady. Source: Chefaa

Aref told Zawya that Chefaa plans to increase its uptake among customers by entering into partnerships with public- and private-sector health insurance companies, including Sanofi, Pfizer Global, Novartis and Glaxo SmithKline, mainly to market their products through its mobile app.

Aref noted that access to funding remains a key challenge for many startups in Egypt. “In the beginning we were a self-financed firm, but after seeing huge growth, we started searching for investors who could help us expand. Though they were initially worried by Egypt’s economy, funding came in because medicines were so vital, and they trusted the Chefaa platform.” 

Chefaa’s monthly numbers have been increasing consistently, from 6,700 orders a month in December 2018 to over 16,000 orders in June this year, Aref said.

(Reporting by Marwa Abo Almajd, editing by Seban Scaria) (seban.scaria@refinitiv.com)

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© ZAWYA 2019

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