Loblaw Expands Virtual Healthcare with Maple Investment

Loblaw will acquire a minority stake in the virtual care company and expand its service across the country.

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Need to Know

  • Loblaw’s wholly-owned pharmacy subsidiary, Shoppers Drug Mart, will invest $75 million in Maple, a company that connects patients with doctors via virtual telehealth solutions.
  • Loblaw will acquire a material minority stake in the company
  • Maple first began working with Shoppers Drug Mart in March on a virtual healthcare system.
  • Maple virtual care is available now in more than 160 Shoppers Drug Mart stores in British Columbia.

Analysis

Canadian grocery conglomerate Loblaw has made a $75 million investment in virtual care company Maple—an investment that will secure Loblaw a material minority stake in the company.

The investment, which was made by Loblaw’s pharmacy subsidiary, Shoppers Drug Mart, will ensure that the pharmacy chain can increase its virtual healthcare offerings in the future, as remote access to medical care and advice becomes of increased importance to consumers. Maple and Shoppers Drug Mart have teamed up before, in March of this year, to launch virtual healthcare across Canada in an effort to relieve the burden that was being placed at that time on the acute healthcare system, specifically emergency rooms. In less than a month, that initiative saw nearly 20,000 virtual care visits.

Additionally, Maple virtual care is already available in more than 160 Shoppers Drug Mart locations in British Columbia.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that Canadians need new ways, particularly virtual ways, to get access to care,” Jeff Leger, president of Shoppers Drug Mart, said in a statement announcing the Maple partnership. “We know that the future of healthcare is digitally enabled. We believe that our store network and infrastructure, combined with Maple’s technology can help better connect Canadians to the healthcare support they need, whenever and wherever they are.”

Maple is a Toronto-based virtual care platform that connects patients with healthcare professionals. The platform has its own network of doctors available 24/7, treating conditions involving mental health, chronic care, acute care, and more. Based on the consultation, the doctors can write prescriptions, medical notes, and refer patients to labs or specialists for further assessment.

The company was founded in 2015, and in 2018, successfully raised $4 million in Series A funding to expand its platform. A year later, it announced $14.5 million in funding from Action Capital. As of 2018, the company counted roughly 20,000 patients and 100 doctors on its healthcare platform.

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