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  • Papama Nyati

RxAll secures $3.15M in seed to expand its drug counterfeit tech solution

Based in Nigeria and USA, RxAll™’s vision is to enable universal access to high quality medicines at the lowest prices to all humans across the world. The startup has just raised US$3.15M to scale its vision across Africa. “This [investment] will enable us to expand into more cities as we bring access to authenticated medicines closer to more people across Africa and the rest of the world,” says CEO Adebayo Alonge.

The key issue RxAll is tackling is the $200 billion industry (Interpol) of counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs, that further sickens and even kills many people across the globe - especially in developing countries like RxAll's birthplace Nigeria. Developing countries are the worst affected where regulatory structure is weaker and measurement and oversight is difficult; consumers in developing countries often buy Rx drugs (prescription medication) directly over the counter. RxAll co-founder and CEO, Adebayo Alonge, knows this misfortune first hand, having almost died in 2006 owing to consuming a fake drug. Based on an R&D project while at Yale University’s chemistry department, the three co-founders began to analyze how to use machine learning and molecular spectroscopy for drug quality and material and quality assurance. The output of this research is RxAll’s platform that provides real-time drug authentication in the palm of your hand.

A key product of the RxAll system is the RxAll RxScanner™. The platform records a fingerprint of a pure original drug and stores it in the cloud. Their proprietary AI algorithm is programmed to recognize this fingerprint. A user then uses the RxScanner™ platform (consisting of a handheld nano scanner and mobile app) to scan the drug. The fingerprint of the scanned drug is sent to the cloud where the RxAll AI analyses it and compares it against the reference fingerprint. The AI determines the drug identity and percentage quality vs. the reference and sends the result back to the mobile app informing the user if the drug is safe to use or not. The test is seamless from the end-user perspective as a report is available on the app within 20 seconds, without any loss or damage to the sample used.

Since starting in 2016, RxAll has built an ecosystem around its offering. Their system enables B2B2C deliveries of high quality medicines at manufacturer/wholesale price to hospitals, pharmacies and patients from their curated network of high quality wholesalers and pharma companies. The RxAll tech stack includes the proprietary instant drug testing platform, RxScanner™; the RxPOS™ that helps their sellers manage and sell inventory in-store and online; and an extensive RxLogistics™ fleet of bikes and vans that enables supplies from their pharma company and wholesaler partners to their B2B2C patrons.

The company makes money through commissions via transactions made on the marketplace. It also employs a subscription model with the RxScanner for individual and business customers.

Despite the company’s innovation, funding has been few and far between, as with many deep tech platforms with a significant focus on Africa. This is mainly due to the long cycle from research to commercialization of such ventures, so most investors would instead get involved in the company’s later stages. RxAll has stayed in business by winning prizes and grants (such as the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge), as well receiving funding from early-stage investors such as Founders Factory Africa, Uncovered Fund and Plug and Play Tech Centre.

The RxAll team understands that tech innovation alone won't sustain in the long-run,

Which is why the key to scaling its tech, according to Alonge, is making its products affordable for the market despite the costs incurred. Their recent seed raise of US$3.15M will assist the startup in its expansion plans. The round was led by SOSV ‘s HAX, with participation from Launch Africa and Keisuke Honda via his KSK fund.

Launch Africa’s Managing Partner, Zachariah George says, “We believe that RxAll is bridging a major gap in access to quality healthcare in Africa by pioneering a drug delivery platform to enable pharmacies and patients to buy authenticated medicines online. The ability to achieve favourable unit economics and multiple revenue streams by leveraging anti-counterfeiting mobile spectrometer technology, owning the entire drug delivery supply chain and their own payment wallet, provides a massive growth and scaling opportunity across Africa and beyond.”

The next step for RxAll is to focus on partnerships, according to Alonge, in order to scale its marketplace and scanner across Africa, Southeast Asia, North America and South America.


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