#i3AccessToMarkets, innovators’ strong end to the year & telecoms-driven partnerships

Written By

  • Yomi Kazeem

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. | December 2022

Investing in Innovation hosts first Access to Markets event

The Investing in Innovation program hosted its first Access to Markets event in Lagos this month with the goal of enabling partnerships for the 31 African healthcare supply chain start-ups in the first cohort. The event featured 50+ institutional partners across government, industry and donors who held over 200 partnership-focused meetings with innovators during the three-day event.

Over the next year, these innovators will be further supported with a focus on investment readiness and securing partnerships that will foster resilient and efficient health supply chains across Africa. The Investing in Innovation program is sponsored by Gates FoundationMSDAmerisourceBergenWHO AFROChemonics & Microsoft.

Innovators end the year strong with investment and recognition

In Egypt, health supply chain start-up Grinta, raised $8 million in a seed funding round co-led by Raed Ventures and Nclude with participation from Endeavor Catalyst and 500 Global. Grinta offers end-to-end pharmaceutical supply chain solutions, including a digital marketplace which enables partner pharmacies manage, order and finance inventory. Nadia Gamal El Din, founder of maternal care start-up Rahet Bally, was named among top three finalists of the Africa Business Heroes award, winning a $150,000 cash prize. The annual award is a philanthropic program by the Jack Ma Foundation to spotlight and support outstanding African entrepreneurs.

In Rwanda, digital health start-up Eden Care raised an undisclosed pre-seed round led by DOB Equity with participation from Seedstars InternationalNorrsken Foundation and Bathurst Capital. Founded last year, Eden Care digitizes insurance processes and offers affordable, accessible and personalised health coverage plans to businesses and their employees. Digital health and wellness start-up Lifesten Health was named winner of Hanga Pitchfest, an annual tech and innovation showcase organised by Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT and InnovationRwanda Development Board and UNDP Rwanda. Lifesten Health will receive a $50,000 cash prize and further technical support to scale its digital health solutions.

The United States Trade and Development Agency awarded Zipline a grant to conduct a feasibility study on expanding its drone delivery operations to facilitate increased access to medical products in Ghana and Nigeria. The grant fits with the agency’s ambitions of providing risk-tolerant financing to support non-traditional methods of increasing access to healthcare in underserved and hard-to-reach communities.

Nextwear Technologies was named healthtech innovation of the year at the Africa Tech Festival in Cape Town. The Nigeria-based start-up develops and incorporates wearable technology in bras to enable early detection of breast cancer.

Telecoms giants are driving mobile-first digital health solutions

ClinicPesa has partnered with MTN’s mobile money service in Uganda to scale access to healthcare financing solutions. The partnership will enable users of the mobile money service seamlessly leverage ClinicPesa’s health financing offerings to save, borrow and pay for healthcare services and products.

South African telecoms giant Vodacom has launched a patient engagement solution in partnership with the Northern Cape Department of Health to improve access to healthcare services in the province. The solution includes a mobile-based app enabling patients to log medical assistance needs and a tech-enabled emergency medical service dispatch system that allows users make emergency service requests through several channels, including SMS & USSD.

M-TIBA, a Kenyan digital health platform affiliated with telecoms giant Safaricom, has partnered with telehealth service BYON8 to enable teleconsultations for its users. The partnership with BYON8 allows M-TIBA users access consultations with a range of specialists and schedule diagnostic tests remotely. The partnership enhances the utility of M-TIBA which already allows users receive, save and spend funds specifically for medical treatment through mobile money wallets.

Innovations to reduce maternal mortality in low-resource settings are gaining traction

In Kenya, Jacaranda Health has partnered with the Nakuru County government to improve the competencies of local health workers providing maternal and neonatal care services. Jacaranda Health will provide specialized training to health workers, including training on how to leverage Prompts, its AI-powered SMS service which provides expectant mothers with critical pregnancy related-information and enables them consult doctors remotely.

Wekebere, a Uganda-based social enterprise leveraging technology to improve birth outcomes, is aiming to scale its operations in Nigeria through partnerships and investment. Wekebere provides portable tools to detect and diagnose early pregnancy complications, providing health workers with key information to ensure positive outcomes.

Recommended reading

The downturn in global tech ecosystems has been one of the biggest economic stories of the year. Amid ecosystem trends, including large-scale layoffs & significant valuation revisions, there has been uncertainty about how the downturn will affect African start-ups. In an op-ed for TechCabal, Sam Sturm, Chief Venture Architect at Founders Factory Africa shares analysis on potential implications for investment in African health technology start-ups.

See you next year!

It’s been an amazing year tracking, and being inspired by, healthtech innovators working to improve health outcomes across the continent. Thank you for coming with us on that journey through 2022. Happy holidays from everyone at Salient Advisory! 

– Mara, Remi, ‘Dunni, Samantha, Juddy, Malyse, Sieglinder , Willow, Yomi, Seun & Boye

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

If you know of an organization which offers funding or support to businesses in African health tech, please let us know. Our team evaluates each support opportunity to share with our community of innovators. 


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