Toronto-based telemedicine startup Maple has raised $75 million CAD from Loblaw Companies Limited through its subsidiary, Shoppers Drug Mart.
Loblaw Companies has taken a minority stake in Maple, six months after Shoppers Drug Mart began working with the startup. The two companies made virtual care available in more than 160 Shoppers Drug Mart locations in British Columbia and have also jointly facilitated nearly 20,000 virtual care visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loblaw Companies has taken a minority stake in Maple.
Maple will be working with Shoppers Drug Mart in the coming months to develop new programs to improve in-person and virtual healthcare. The startup will use the funds to expand its network, team, and portfolio of technologies for hospitals, governments, employers, and insurers.
Founded in 2015, Maple connects Canadians with a variety of healthcare providers through their phone, tablet or computer. Its service is designed to address the long wait times that have become commonplace when accessing healthcare. Maple claims to offer its services to over one million Canadians.
A spokesperson for Maple told BetaKit the $75 million in funding constituted a Series B for the company. Maple’s last financing round was a $14.5 million investment in September 2019.
Jeff Leger, president of Shoppers Drug Mart, pointed to the deal as being a way to better connect Canadians with virtual healthcare. He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need to have these types of resources.
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On BetaKit’s Black Swan podcast, Belchetz explained that Shoppers Drug Mart approached the startup hoping to increase access to virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Maple platform. Belchetz noted that Shoppers Drug Mart was looking to fund access to telemedicine, which is usually not covered publicly in provinces like Ontario.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Maple announced it would provide online COVID-19 screenings with a live physician to Ontario residents, and would offer its virtual clinic software to all Ontario and British Columbia physicians free of charge amid the outbreak. The startup confirmed to BetaKit it is no longer offering those services, but is still working with health organizations to facilitate COVID-19 testing.