A record-breaking funding round women-led African health startups

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. | July 2023

Our latest market intelligence: Innovations in Digitizing Health Supply Chains in Africa

Salient Advisory’s new report, Innovations in Digitizing Health Supply Chains in Africa, is the first pan-African assessment of health supply chain innovators on the continent. Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the report tracks nearly 350 technology-enabled innovators digitizing supply chain processes across 27 African countries.

Amid other findings, the report shows African governments working with health supply chain innovators on nearly 50 partnerships, leveraging their tech-enabled solutions to resolve challenges around the availability, accessibility, and quality of health products in public health supply chains. Read the full report!

A strong funding month for women-led African health startups—including a record-breaking round

Kasha, a Kenyan digital retail startup focused on women’s health products, raised $21 million in a Series B funding round—the largest funding round by woman-led African health startup. The round was led by Knife Capital, with participation from FinnfundDevelopment Finance CorporationBeyond Capital VenturesAltree CapitalBamboo Capital’s BLOC Smart Africa Fund, and Five35 Ventures. Founded and led by Joanna Bichsel, Kasha has grown its operations across Rwanda and Kenya since 2016 and is now aiming for expansion across South Africa, and select West African markets. The record-breaking round is significant given long-running gender financing gaps in Africa’s health technology ecosystems: in 2022, women-led companies raised only 1% of all funding for African health startups, according to Salient’s data.

In South Africa, Zoie Health, a women’s health-focused startup, raised a pre-seed extension funding round from 4DX Ventures and E Squared Investments to fund expansion and growth. Zoie Health offers virtual and at-home consultations for women-specific needs such as finding the right contraception, as well subscriptions for medication delivery and access to its women-only support community.

Clafiya, a Nigeria health startup, raised $610,000 in a pre-seed round to support product development plans and to grow its team. Investors include Norrsken AcceleratorAcquired Wisdom FundHustle FundVoltron CapitalMicrotraction and Ajim Capital. Clafiya ensures easier access to primary healthcare services by connecting patients to qualified locally-based nurses that provide home-based care.

PanacareImani Health Wallet and MyAfya Africa have been selected among 15 women-founded startups for the Standard Chartered Women in Tech support program. The companies will partake in 12 weeks of business incubation training with a selected number receiving $10,000 in funding at the end of the program.

Innovators are expanding through landmark acquisitions and mergers

MyDawa, a Kenyan online pharmacy startup, acquired Guardian Health, a retail pharmacy chain with 10+ outlets across Uganda. The move kickstarts MyDawa’s regional and business expansion plans, and comes after a $20 million investment from Alta Semper Capital. Launched in 2016, MyDawa has rapidly grown its online pharmacy operations, including booking services for consultation and diagnostics and is now expanding its model to incorporate physical locations. MyDawa’s acquisition of a pharmacy chain, a traditional incumbent, is the latest of rare disruptive move across Africa’s health ecosystems: between 2019 and 2022, mPharma also acquired pharmacy chains in KenyaUganda and Nigeria.

My 1Health, a Kenyan digital health company formed after a recent merger between MyHealth Africa and International Medical Treatment Limited, is expanding operations to Ethiopia and South Sudan. The move increases the company’s footprint to 14 countries. Individually, both companies were focused on connecting Africa-based patients with local and international specialists and hospitals, and the merger sees MyHealth Africa combine its strong software-led offering with International Medical Treatment Limited’s vast network of hospitals and specialists across and beyond the continent.

Health technology innovators are featuring among Africa’s standout entrepreneurs

Five founders of African health startups have been selected among the top 20 finalists for this year’s Africa Business Heroes award, making up 25% of the list of finalists. The award is a recognition for outstanding entrepreneurs who are driving change and creating significant impact in local communities. Ikpeme Neto (Wellahealth, Nigeria), Funmi Adewara (Mobihealth, Nigeria), Bryan Mezue (Lifestores Healthcare, Nigeria), Bola Bardet (Susu, Côte d’Ivoire), Mohamed Moustafa (Shezlong, Egypt) are all in the running to make the list of top 10 finalists and receive a share of $1.5 million in grant funding as well as mentorship and training.


Recommended Read

The lack of access to credit financing is a longstanding problem for health providers and facilities across Nigeria. This TechCabal feature piece explores how Helium Health, an established digital health records startup, is scaling a new product to bridge health financing gaps in Africa’s largest economy. 

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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