SoftBank-Backed MedTech Startup Dingdang Kuaiyao Raises US$150M Series B+

Dingdang Kuaiyao operates a chain of pharmacies and offers doorstep delivery for over-the-counter medicines.

Chinese online-to-offline (O2O) drug retailer Dingdang Kuaiyao has completed its second tranche of Series B financing with RMB1 billion (US$150 million) raised, dealmaker China Renaissance Capital announced in a statement on Tuesday.

New investors who participated in the current round include Taikang Insurance Group, Haier Medical, and Longmen investment, the statement said. They were joined by existing backers SoftBank China, CMB International, and Sinopharm Zhongjin, among others, it added.

The startup had previously raised RMB600 million ($89 million) in an initial tranche of Series B financing in March 2019, prior to raising an undisclosed sum two months ago, according to a report by KrAsia.

Founder and Chairman of Dingdang Kuaiyao Wenlong Yang said that the latest financing will be used to accelerate the startup’s expansion plans, and for product and service innovation. The company plans to launch its services in 10 more cities in China by the end of 2020, and cover all first, second, and third-tier cities by 2021, he added.

Beijing-headquartered Dingdang Kuaiyao was established in 2014. It currently operates smart pharmaceutical retail stores in over 10 cities in China, and claims to serve ‘tens of millions’ of users through its mobile-friendly platform and physical stores.

The startup delivers over-the-counter medicines to customers round-the-clock, and promises delivery in 28 minutes within a certain radius. Additionally, Dingdang Kuaiyao leverages AI and big data to offer innovative services like online medical consultation, and health and chronic disease management, the statement noted.

Taikang Assets Managing Director and Strategic Equity Investment Head Jun Xu said, “Dingdang Kuaiyao provides users with immediate needs through a deep understanding of user needs and timely response to health needs.”

“Relying on its supply chain advantages and offline retail management efficiency, Dingdang Kuaiyao has achieved rapid scale expansion and cross-regional replication through the new drug retail model,” he added.

He further added that Taikang and Dingdang Kuaiyao are collaborating to build an all encompassing healthcare ecosystem. The startup plans to provide customers with efficient and professional health management services through a combination of online and offline models, he said.

According to a report by South China Morning Post, the startup has experienced 700-800% increase in orders compared to before the pandemic. This was largely due to the lockdowns and social distancing measures that were imposed to curb the outbreak, forcing people to resort to and get accustomed to ordering essentials, including medicines, online.

China’s online healthcare industry was valued at RMB133.6 billion ($19.1 billion) in 2019. However, factoring in the effect of the pandemic, the industry is expected to grow a whopping 46.7% this year to reach RMB200 billion ($30 billion).

Header image by Christina Victoria Craft on Unsplash

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