Because we track locally-driven innovations in health-tech across the African continent, we curate a monthly newsletter to share our most “salient” learnings in more real time. We welcome submissions and suggestions.
Introducing Salient Advisory’s YouTube channel: In our first video, inspiring health-tech innovators across Africa share their thoughts on how local ecosystems can be supported.
More partnerships to drive growth and innovation in African health-tech ecosystems
In Kenya, retail pharmacy chain Goodlife is expanding its online distribution channels by partnering with Glovo Kenya, a digital marketplace and on-demand delivery service. Users will now be able to purchase medicines from Goodlife through Glovo’s marketplace, with orders fulfilled by Glovo’s logistics operations. Glovo Kenya’s asset-light model through partnerships with multiple pharmacies highlights its emerging potential as a significant player in the health product distribution ecosystem.
AstraZeneca and the Royal Academy of Engineering are collaborating to connect African healthcare innovators to AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network, which consists of over 20 health innovation hubs globally. Through the partnership, AstraZeneca will offer training support to promising health-tech innovators, and connect them to its global supply chain and investment ecosystem..
African health-tech innovators continue to gain investor support…
Health-tech innovators accounted for 20% of the beneficiary pool as Google for Startups disbursed $3 million in equity-free funding across 50 African innovators last month. (Five of the beneficiaries were innovators spotlighted in our 2021 report on Innovations in Health Product Distribution in Sub Saharan Africa!)
InstantRad, a Ghanaian on-demand teleradiology platform, raised funding from Microtraction, an early-stage venture capital firm. InstantRad’s technology bridges critical access to radiology services by allowing hospitals and doctors upload scans, and receive analysis reports from radiologists within hours.
RecoMed, a South African online healthcare marketplace, raised $1.5 million in a funding round led by Vunani Fintech Fund, with participation from Africa Asia Investment Consulting, Growth Grid Venture Capital Partners & Push Ventures. RecoMed’s marketplace allows patients book appointments with nearby healthcare providers and will be expanded to Kenya next year.
BixBio, a Cape Town-based genomics start-up has raised funding from Illumina Accelerator. BixBio’s proprietary AI platform curates large genetic datasets that can be utilized to improve the identification of disease-causing genetic variants and novel drug targets.
…and public sector actors are offering more risk-tolerant capital.
Nigeria’s central bank has doubled a healthcare sector intervention fund to provide low-cost financing for healthcare providers in the country. The $480,000 fund will be accessible by local healthcare service providers, drug & equipment manufacturers as well companies involved in health products’ logistics.
The French government has also committed $150 million to support 500 African startups through its Digital Africa initiative. The commitment includes a dedicated program to provide support and funding to start-ups in Francophone Africa – a significant boon for the region given long-running gaps in funding.
But despite the sustained momentum in funding support for African start-ups in general, the gender financing gap across the continent remains significant. New research from Briter Bridges and the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab shows that only 3% of early-stage venture capital funding in 2020 went to startups with all-female founding teams.
Innovator spotlight: mPharma’s scale demonstrates growth potential in African health-tech ecosystems
mPharma has expanded into Uganda – its eighth African country – by acquiring a controlling stake in Vine Pharmacy, one of the country’s largest pharmacy chains.
This is the latest milestone for mPharma in a year which has already seen it expand into Ethiopia, launch a telemedicine service delivered through its network of pharmacies and named among the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers of 2021.
mPharma was launched in 2013 as an inventory management service but has since developed more capabilities in health product distribution and is now operational in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Ethiopia and, most recently, Uganda.
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