mClinica, a mobile health technology startup backed by Kickstart Ventures, 500 Startups, and IMJ-Investment Partners, bagged the top prize in a pitch competition at the 2015 Hack Osaka Conference last month.
The company, which found initial traction in the Philippines and maintains a software research and development center in Manila, will use the prize money to fuel expansion to other Asian countries, including Vietnam and Indonesia.
mClinica specializes in mobile tech solutions for pharmacies in emerging markets, where fragmented pharmaceutical supply chains reduce access, affordability and quality for many essential medicines. The company builds digital networks of pharmacies that allow drug companies to reach pharmacies at scale. It creates programs that reduce medicine costs, boost health education, improve adherence, and overall create better health outcomes for the patient.
mClinica CEO Farouk Meralli, a Harvard-educated, Canadian entrepreneur who held senior positions at leading pharmaceutical companies including Roche and Pfizer, chose the Philippines for his pilot because the country’s healthcare system faces many challenges. He was also impressed by the quality of local tech talent and the openness of the Filipino people to new technologies.
“The win was a validation of our business model both in terms of its commercial value as well as its social impact,” said Meralli. “It encourages us to go even farther in changing healthcare. Following our success in the Philippines, we have entered Vietnam and Indonesia and are actively evaluating opportunities in other countries.”
mClinica currently has a growing network of over 1400 pharmacies in the Philippines which provides access to over 20 million patients. One in every two independent pharmacies in the Philippines is on the mClinica platform.
Due to its innovative business model and proven track record, mClinica bested nine other contestants at the Hack Osaka pitch competition, which included contestants from the UK, Germany, Thailand, and Japan. The silver award went to Blaze, a UK company that produces special safety lights for urban cyclists. The bronze award went to Up Performa, a Japanese company doing wearable devices for sports.
Kickstart Ventures, a wholly-owned investment and incubator firm of Globe Telecom, led the initial funding round for mClinica to provide it with growth capital and to open doors to corporations and overseas markets in support of mClinica’s aggressive expansion plan.
“It’s great to see mClinica recognized for the value it creates for all members of the healthcare system,” said Kickstart President Minette Navarrete. “By combining their proprietary software solutions with a deep understanding of patient needs and the pharma industry, mClinica is improving healthcare by making it both more intelligent and more human.”
As a member of Innov8 Sparks, the network of technology startup support and funding initiatives founded by members of the SingTel Group such as SingTel Innov8 (Singapore), AIS The Startup (Thailand), Optus-Innov8 Seed (Australia), and Telkomsel Teman Dev (Indonesia), Kickstart would be able to give mClinica access to a combined mobile customer base of over 550 million in 25 markets across Asia and Africa.