Innovator Spotlight: DawaPay

An interview with DawaPay CEO, Daniel Mutambi.

PHOTO 2022 10 04 16 54 12 2

Tell us about your innovation. What solution are you offering?

DawaPay is building the technology to distribute pharmaceutical and laboratory products through a network of wholesale agents. We do this by having nearby wholesale agents to stock medication that we provide to them and then we provide the technology to enable the invoicing and inventory of all the products. We came upon this problem after working as a field sales representative with two local pharmaceutical manufacturers here in Kenya. As a field sales representative, I encountered hundreds of retail pharmacies and wholesalers and noticed several common problems. There were delays in deliveries, taking up to a day or sometimes even three days for them to be delivered, which consumes a lot of time. Equally, the prices were high because collecting few orders based on the minimum order quantities meant that they were getting a little bit higher priced than ordinarily they would get from a nearby wholesaler. So with that, we decided to start off with DawaPay’s technology that will enable us to collect multiple orders at the same time, starting with just a basic website and then we started working with Villgro, who helped us develop the DawaPay mobile application that helps us to streamline our processes. 

What are you currently celebrating?

Something we have been celebrating is our ability to have consistent, repeat customers. We are a B2B enterprise and every month we have had a repeat customer base of at least 212 businesses. It means we are introducing something new in the market and businesses are finding our services useful. So that gives me a lot of confidence.

We have also recently received a grant from the International Development Research Center (IDRC), through which we are partnering with the African Population and Health Research Council (APHRC) to do a case study on DawaPay to discover the impact and viability of the company across the pharmaceutical value chain. 

"Daniel is a committed entrepreneur who has an in-depth knowledge of the market dynamics in which DawaPay operates.  It has been wonderful to see him iterate and adjust his business model and we look forward to continued development of DawaPay!" - Rob Beyer, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman

What are the primary challenges you’re currently facing?

Currently, the biggest challenge we are facing is access to capital. There is limited capital, especially because we are doing our seed round right now. The process is long, so we are limited in our ability to expand our fulfilment centres (wholesale agents). 

What is something you have learned along your journey that might help other innovators?

What I've learned along the way is that it's good to start where you are. The most important thing is to have a small community of paying customers, start with this small group, and then increase gradually and build on it as you grow.

How has Villgro impacted your growth?

Villgro has impacted our growth a lot. Having weekly meetings with my mentor has had a significant impact on us in terms of giving us direction and helping us to manage the equity investment that we have received. Also, the networking opportunities and introductions to key players within the market has also made a difference. Villgro has helped us refine our business model to the place we are right now. When we joined Villgro, they helped us expand from only pharmaceutical products to including laboratory products and to manage that growth. We have been supported in streamlining our internal processes, including having our financial statements audited and putting in place necessary systems to run a business effectively.