South African startup BusyMed is connecting consumers to local independent pharmacies from the comfort of their homes, enabling secure consultation and order placement.
Formed as a one-man-band in 2018, BusyMed offers access to thousands of products offered by local independent pharmacies, which users can then have delivered to their homes, including prescription medication, in 60 minutes.
“Our goal is to offer primary healthcare businesses in the public and private sector the technology and resources they would need to serve the communities they are based in, and beyond, from the comfort of the patient’s home, at an affordable price,” Mphati Jezile, the startup’s founder and director, told Disrupt Africa.
“BusyMed seeks to solve a challenge that many South Africans face – not having access to affordable and convenient primary healthcare services. COVID-19 has made us all realise the strain our healthcare system is under, which means more services like BusyMed are essential in supporting the struggling healthcare system.”
The startup has seen strong growth, with Jezile saying BusyMed will have over 300 pharmacies accessible through its app by the end of this year, across all nine provinces. This growth has been funded with US$520,000 in funding secured back in 2020, and Jezile said it is in the process of seeking further investment.
“The first 24 months or so were quite a tricky thing to navigate because we had to solve complex regulatory challenges and present our service in a way that can be affordable to pharmacies and consumers in townships, suburbs, towns, and cities anywhere in the country digitally,” he said.
“It has been two years of non-stop work to create a service that enables pharmacies and consumers to securely and conveniently engage with each other digitally, beyond the confines of the pharmacies’ brick and mortar stores. We’ve managed to make advances thanks in part to our pharmacy partners and the Independent Community Pharmacy Association.”
Much of BusyMed’s growth has been around word of mouth, with the company having not put much effort into marketing the service publicly. Jezile sees expansion opportunities internationally, but says BusyMed has no plans to expand across borders until it has solved the problem at home in South Africa.
“In other African countries, access to affordable healthcare is an even larger issue than here in South Africa. In an effort to be part of the solution, we have started engaging with other health-tech startups in our neighbouring African countries and exploring how we can assist in enhancing their services and helping them on their mission,” he said.
“We firmly believe a joint effort is the better approach to solving these ever-growing healthcare challenges our continent faces even if it means making room for other businesses. Healthcare is a huge problem, our goal is to provide value first, and it’s been very cool to meet people who are open-minded and eager to solve the challenges in the industry.”