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. | June 2022
African healthtech regains investment momentum with early-stage funding rounds
Kenyan telemedicine start-up Zuri Health raised $1.3 million in pre-seed funding from DOB Equity, Launch Africa and Founders Factory Africa. Zuri Health enables mobile-based virtual consultations, including through SMS, and has rapidly expanded to Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia since launching in 2021.
In Egypt, Esaal, a telemedicine start-up which enables virtual consultations for patients, raised $1.7 million seed funding from A15. Digital health records start-up Doxx also raised $1.5 million in seed funding from Openner and Elevate Healthcare. The two-year old start-up facilitates doctor appointments for patients while also providing access to their health records across consultations, medication, and diagnostics.
Blink Pharma,a Moroccan health start-up raised an undisclosed pre-seed funding round from Azur Innovation Fund to drive expansion of its digital marketplace which allows health providers, including pharmacies, laboratories and wholesalers, purchase services from each other. Welo, a South African homecare start-up, received $32,000 in grant funding from AlphaCode Incubate, an early-stage incubation program. Welo provides medication delivery, home testing and home-based consultations to patients.
In a much larger round, health start-up CarePoint raised a $10 million bridge round to fast-track its deployment of “micro-clinics” which will leverage telemedicine to scale access to healthcare. The round was led by TRB Advisors with participation from Breyer Capital, Beyond Capital Ventures, M3, Inc and Asia Pacific Land. CarePoint will also leverage the funding to strengthen its data science and artificial intelligence capabilities.
Innovators are securing access to technical support through global accelerators and awards
Clafiya (Nigeria) and HealthDart (South Africa) were selected to participate in the Norrsken Impact Accelerator’s 8-week growth program, and will receive a $125,000 investment from the Norrsken Foundation.
Zuri Health (Kenya) and Safe Motherhood Alliance (Zambia) were among five winners of the 2022 Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award. They received €25,000 in grants and will participate in a 24-week accelerator program.
WHISPA (Nigeria), Famasi (Nigeria), Oncopadi (Nigeria), and YeneHealth (Ethiopia) were selected among 10 start-ups for the Technology for Impact program, a Children’s Investment Fund Foundation initiative to support women-led innovations. Three finalists will receive business development assistance, including potential investment, from CIFF and its partners.
Nigeria-based Field Intelligence has been accepted into Endeavor – a global network that mentors and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs by providing them with access to support services to help their companies scale.
Access Afya, a Kenya-based primary healthcare social enterprise, was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s 100 most disruptive Technology Pioneers of 2022. The annual selection recognizes early to growth-stage technology-driven businesses that have potential for significant impact. (mPharma and 54gene were selected in last year’s list).
Innovators notched major milestones in supply chain solutions and genomics research
In Kenya, supply chain start-up Maisha Meds now serves over 1,000 active pharmacies with its business management software. The point-of-sale service allows pharmacies manage inventory, avoid stockouts and access product reimbursement features. Maisha Meds’ growing scale mirrors trends captured in Salient Advisory’s upcoming market intelligence report (to be published on June 22) which highlights rapid growth among business-to-business health start-ups in product distribution.
In Nigeria, genomics research start-up 54gene has partnered with the National Academy of Sciences and Technology of Senegal and the Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar to develop a full genomic database of the Senegalese population. The study will highlight prevalent genetic characteristics and seek to improve local interventions for disease management and treatment. Similarly, working with a consortium of partners, 54gene has also published the first phase of the Nigerian 100K Genomes Project – a study of the characteristics of non-communicable diseases in 100,000 adults in Nigeria to improve understanding of the genetic basis of highly prevalent diseases. 54gene’s work is essential to filling long-running gaps in African genomic data and research.
Large players are deepening their healthtech interests through new service offerings and expansion
Pan-African e-commerce giant Jumia is betting on a telemedicine service to drive uptake of “JumiaPay” its newly licensed fintech service. Collaborating with Meeting Doctors, Jumia is piloting a telemedicine service to provide remote access to consultations for $1 monthly. This is the latest turn in Jumia’s interest in healthtech having been involved in facilitating product distribution for pharmacies through its logistics arm and listing over-the-counter medicines on its digital marketplace platform.
Medical drone delivery service Zipline has kicked off operations in Nigeria’s Kaduna state, months after striking an agreement with the state government. With one distribution center operational and servicing 500 health facilities, Zipline is projecting to launch two more and ensure 95% coverage of the state early next year.
As part of its Torchlight Series, this Nigeria Health Watch piece details how DrugStoc’s tech-enabled pharmaceutical procurement services are resolving supply chain inefficiencies, and saving lives, in Nigeria.
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