OCT NEWS | Investing in Innovation launches inaugural cohort of African health supply chain start-ups

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. | October 2022

30 African health innovators receive support through Investing in Innovation program

Investing in Innovation (i3), a pan-African support initiative for African health supply chain start-ups, launched its inaugural cohort with 30 promising start-ups selected from 14 countries. The selected start-ups will receive a $50,000 grant and targeted access to market support aimed at catalysing growth-driven partnerships with donors, industry and institutions.

The i3 program, which will support 60 start-ups over the next two years, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa and AmerisourceBergen.

Check out the full list of cohort companies.

Grant financing initiatives are powering African innovators’ efforts to rapidly improve malaria testing and maternal health

Maisha Meds received a $9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to scale its technology-enabled network to 5,000 pharmacies and drug shops across Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya, in a bid to support delivery of healthcare reimbursements for malaria for half a million patients by 2024. The grant is the first to be awarded as part of “Outcomes Fund for Fevers”, a new performance-based financing initiative aimed at improving access to malaria testing, treatment and reporting in sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative was launched by Health Finance Coalition and Malaria No More in partnership with the Global FundGlobal CitizenNPX, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

Supported by a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationButterfly Network is providing health workers in Kenya with 500 portable, handheld ultrasound devices. The device distribution initiative is aimed at improving maternal and foetal health across rural Kenya by ensuring improved access to antenatal diagnostics for local healthcare workers.

African health innovators remain attractive to equity investors…

Nigerian pharmacy procurement start-ups Remedial Health and Lifestores Healthcare have raised over $7 million in funding to scale their operations.

Remedial Health raised $4.4 million in a seed round to drive expansion across East and West Africa. The round was led by Global Ventures with participation from TencentY CombinatorCathexis VenturesLightspeed Venture Partners Scout FundVentures PlatformAlumni VenturesTrue Capital Management and other angel investors. Similarly, Lifestores Healthcare raised $3 million in a pre-series A funding round led by Health54, with participation from Aruwa Capital Management and other existing investors, to expand its online pharmaceutical marketplace across Nigeria.

Egypt-based health start-up Vezeeta has raised an undisclosed funding round from Gulf Capital and VNV Global to drive product development and expansion of its digital health platform. The start-up is also aiming to leverage its latest funding for strategic acquisitions of digital health businesses in Africa and the Middle East.

Infiuss Health raised an undisclosed round from UM6P Ventures to grow its remote platform for clinical research in Africa. Infiuss Health is working to improve African representation in medical research by connecting global researchers and companies to African participants for clinical trials and research.

LocumBase, a South African health start-up, secured an undisclosed funding round from Grindstone Ventures to scale its online medical booking platform. Founded in 2016, the start-up connects freelance medical professionals to practices seeking locum doctors.

…and continue to receive valuable technical support

Ghanaian health start-up Digital Health Access was selected for the latest cohort of the MEST Express Accelerator which provides investment readiness support to promising start-ups in Ghana. Still in its early stages, Digital Health Access is aiming to scale access healthcare by connecting providers to users through teleconsultations.

Nigeria-focused health start-up Doktorconnect was accepted into the Capital Factory, a Texas-based accelerator program. Founded in 2021, Doktorconnect is focused on making preventive care more affordable for users through insurance-style coverage plans for diagnostics and consultations.

A strategic partnership to mainstream mental health coverage in Nigeria

Nguvu Health, a Nigerian mental wellness start-up, has partnered with AXA Mansard, one of Nigeria’s largest health insurance providers, to mainstream access to affordable mental health care. The partnership will enable mental health coverage for AXA Mansard’s enrolees allowing them access virtual, confidential sessions with qualified professionals through Nguvu Health’s on-demand teletherapy platform.

Recommended reading

How Viebeg Technologies—an i3 cohort company—is  leveraging data-driven solutions to optimize procurement for healthcare facilities in Central and East Africa.

Spread the word! Share this with African health-tech innovators, donors, investors and enthusiasts within your network – and tell them to sign up!


  • Yomi KazeemSalient Advisory


New models to deliver health information, products, services and financing are desperately needed globally, especially for equity-seeking populations. As a healthcare consulting firm, we co-develop actionable insights and partnerships, supporting global changemakers to advance outcomes and equity.


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