Biggest financial support achieved by Egyptian start-up Vezeeta
Start-ups need a financial prop in their early years. They often need a second wave to finance expansion. A report in Disrupt Africa says Egyptian start-up Vezeeta has raised US$12m. It’s the largest single investment ever received by an Egyptian start-up. It builds on its US$5m support achieved in 2017, as reported in Disrupt Africa.
Set up by its Ceo Amir Barsoum in Cairo in 2015, Vezeeta’s eHealth enables users to find and book appointments with over 10,000 doctors. It’s available in Jordan and Saudi Arabia too. For the region, it manages three million bookings for 2.5m patients. It also provides Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions using cloud computing and big data for patients and doctors.
The financing round was led by the Saudi Arabia-based STV Capital. It included existing investors BECO Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Silicon Badia and CE-Ventures. Vezeeta’s will deploy its extra finance to two initiatives.
One’s to continue its expansion in Saudi Arabia. The other’s to develop new products.
Will a subsequent investment phase turn Vezeeta’s attention towards the rest of Africa? For this, it may need expanded commercial opportunities driven by large numbers of users.
- 213 views
- September 26, 2018
- Tom Jones
eHealth start-up Redbird can expand access to rapid diagnoses across Ghana
Africans suffer from diabetes at more than twice the global average. Resource constraints mean that millions lack proper access to healthcare to help them manage the disease. Launched this year, July has been a month of swift advances for Redbird Health Tech (Redbird HT) to try to bridge the gap.
Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, account for half of Ghana’s healthcare activity. Responses require treatment and long-term monitoring and management. Travelling to a hospital and waiting was the only the services for chronic disease patients. Risks of patients ignoring their conditions, either by necessity or willfulness, are very high. Consequences can be devastating.
An interview with Patrick Beattie, Redbird’s CEO, in Disrupt Africa, says his team could leverage existing, approved, under-utilised Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) technology to create convenient health monitoring points for routine health questions and, alleviating pressure on overburdened physician. Redbird secured funding from Gray Matters Capital an Atlanta-based impact investor. Redbird’s success with third place in the Ghanaian round of the DEMO Africa Innovation Tour seems to have helped its case.The solution develops a network of locations for primary care diagnoses and personal health monitoring to offer patients local access to healthcare at minimum disruption and cost. Existing national networks of pharmacies are part of the service. Redbird supplies them with verified RDTs, health monitoring software, and trained staff to interpret RDTs’ data.
Having secured finance, Redbird’s plans to expand its pharmacy partnership from two to thirty in the next three months. The project’s scalable, and could become regional. Eventually, it could expand across all Africa’s health systems.
CureAid pharmacy in Adenta advertising Redbird health monitoring services. Image from the Redbird website.
- 470 views
- August 02, 2018
- Matt Jones
HearX Group makes hearing screening more accessible
In 2015, eHNA reported on a South African start-up, HearX Group, founded by Prof De Wet Swanepoel and Dr Herman Myburgh. They developed a low-cost smartphone app that detects hearing loss and connects patients to health services.
The product uses a smartphone and headphones along with a custom-developed software application to detect hearing loss. This inexpensive alternative to conventional screening is 50-70% less expensive and can be administered by non-specialists and screeners with even basic literacy and low digital skills.
Today, the company boasts a suite of apps and mHealth devices geared towards improving hearing screening in underserved and remote communities, and especially among children. Other products included in their collection include hearZA, mHealthStudio, hearTest and hearDigits, as well as a partner product in vision called Peek Acuity.
Now, HearX group has taken their solution beyond Africa. A recent collaboration with the American Academy of Audiology saw the launch of America’s first-ever intensive hearing screening mobile app, hearScreen USA. This was launched at the Academy’s annual conference April 2018 and is freely available on smartphone devices.
In many nations, the general awareness of hearing impairment is low and shortage of resources has caused a lack of screening programmes. HearX Group could soon be turning this into a problem of the past with further collaborations in Africa, Europe and Asia.
- 388 views
- May 08, 2018
- Ameera Hamid
Cape Town’s eHealth accelerator programme offers opportunities for graduates
Many of us have good ideas. Turning them into action is often harder. Cape Town's Accelerator Programmes aims to help. It offers opportunities for graduates to access finance and work experience to turn their ideas into a viable business.
There are two pilot programmes. Accelerator two opens for applications on the 15th March 2018. Accelerator one has announced its eight finalists. They participate in a ten week online programme and have face to face interactions with their mentors.
Business coaches in eHealth started on the 23rd January 2018. The course extends over 10 weeks. There is one topic each week taking about ten hours. Finalists take part in discussions about health problems and solutions. Strategic planning, alignment to health-care environments, defining and marketing proposals are the main themes. Discussions on topics relevant to running a profitable and beneficial eHealth business are included too.
Finalists are :Petrus Van Niekerk : Udok allows doctors to interact with patients who are far away as well as administer treatment and monitor patient careDr William Mapham : Vula Mobile is a system which allows doctors to refer patients to specialists in tertiary hospitals Dr Anuschka Coovadia : HealthAtHome is a company that will provide patients with the best care from the comfortability of their homes at an affordable price. Brighton Khumalo : ConnecTB is an online tool which allows health care providers to register and monitor TB patientsNicole Van Der Merwe : GeneCare Molecular Genetics will provide patients with access to customised diet plans as well as exercise programmes which will be accompanied by educational video coachingDr Musaed Abrahams : Aviro Health has developed an app that will mentor nurses in primary health care to efficiently treat patients with HIVSuretha Erasmus : GC Network has developed a pregnancy screening app that educates pregnant mother of their individual risk for a chromosome abnormality as well as provides detailed information regarding available prenatal testing which will help the mothers make informed decisionsVere Shaba : RAR Group VRHEALTH is a company that created a virtual yet realistic world for substance abuse patients who have been placed in a rehabilitation to develop new behavioral patterns through the virtual world Is the programme a model for Africa’s other health systems? It offers a smart way to encourage and develop Africa’s budding eHealth entrepreneurs.
- 470 views
- March 12, 2018
- Kamogelo Motlhomi
EMGuidance web-platform to simplify medication look-up in South Africa
Since the launch of their clinical support platform in 2016, EMGuidance has become one of the most popular medical apps in South Africa, even extending to other parts of the globe. Its popularity is largely due to the comprehensive, up-to-date and locally relevant clinical guides and protocols made easily available to health professionals.
In fact, the response from health professionals has been so great that EMGuidance is now available as a web-based platform. The web-based platform essentially functions as a Google search engine with a twist. This niche search engine only returns locally relevant information – fulfilling a great gap in clinical support tools in South Africa. Health professionals will now be able to search for relevant South African therapies by trade name, active ingredient or registered indication.
Realising the potential for other African countries, EMGuidance has launched a slim-line version of their tool in Sierra Leone. The positive response from the local community has spurred plans to expand to Kenya, Tanzania and other African countries. It’s activities and initiatives like EMGuidance that will springboard eHealth in Africa to first-world healthcare delivery.
- 378 views
- February 12, 2018
- Ameera Hamid
Are Africa’s eHealth start-ups on the move?
Africa’s health systems need a vibrant eHealth start-up environment that provides local solutions. It’s good news that the number of Africa’s eHealth start-ups is rising. Most don’t leverage mHealth.
The report from the start-up portalDisrupt Africa High Tech Health: Exploring the African E-health Startup Ecosystem Report 2017, identified 115 eHealth start-ups in 20 African countries, about 37%. It reveals the need to stimulate eHealth start-ups in the other 63%.
Investment’s increasing too, especially finance for businesses growth. The combined eHealth start-up investment’s exceeds US$19 million. Most eHealth start-ups in the report don’t use mHealth. It’s about 44%.
Niche solutions are an important component of Africa’s eHealth investment. As demand and opportunities expand, especially for mHealth, the scope for Africa’s eHealth supply side can expand with it. A report in Standard Digital summarises the landscape using data from the 20 countries over three years from Disrupt Africa, it says about 73% of Africa’s eHealth ventures provide mHealth solutions. Local eHealth innovators are emerging in Uganda, Ghana, Egypt, and Senegal. Start-ups launching across Africa has increased over three years. Investors are starting to support start-ups planning to grow expand.
Africa has an estimated 115 eHealth start-ups. About 28%, 32, are in East Africa. Nearly half of these, 15, of East Africa’s eHealth start-ups in are in Kenya, about 13% of Africa’s total. They may be confronting challenges in attracting finance, unlike reported significant investment in other countries in the region. Does it mean that the available finance’s being spread more evenly, or is it because better investment opportunities are emerging from other countries?
Total investment in eHealth start-ups over the period is estimated at US$19 million. Kenya start-ups raised US$379,600, under 2%.
Africa.com has a different perspective. Its report identifies Tunisia emerging as the next eHealth hub. It says there are more than 300 African tech start-ups, 54, 18%, in South Africa , 27, 9%, in Kenya, 23, 8% in Nigeria and 15, 5%, in Tunisia. After creating a successful incubator in Kenya, Merck will launch a start-up incubator in Tunisia by 2019 to collaborate with innovative eHealth start-ups.
It’s not all rosy. Several challenges to growth are seen as access to finance, uncertain policies, competition from established brands and finding and recruiting talent.
Africa’s eHealth strategies need to parallel these initiatives. They’re creating opportunities to improve health and healthcare.
- 556 views
- November 30, 2017
- Tom Jones
eHealth start-up EMGuidance wins SA’s Seedstars
Talent competitions are always good motivators for contestants, especially those who top the list. The winners of the South African stage of the Seedstars World competition, EMGuidance, an eHealth start-up’ll be highly focused on the next round. The team’ll be competing for a US$500,000 funding stream at the global final in Switzerland.
An article in Disrupt Africa EMGuidance was chosen from ten finalists from its early-stage start-ups competition. Its largely about solving a fundamental problem for the medical profession: how to aggregate medical content from regional experts into one place. Its app does it by allowing for fast access to diverse but reliable data.
Zlto, a digital rewards platform incentivising its users for positive behaviour, was runner-up. It uses a mobile wallet to access a marketplace. Empty Trips came third, with an online trip exchange using algorithms and transport auctions to fill empty spaces to places.
Fanny Dauchez, associate for Seedstars World Africa, told Disrupt Africa that “We had a pleasure of meeting talented entrepreneurs from different cities and backgrounds in South Africa, and seeing them do such an amazing job representing themselves and their start-ups on this big South Africa finals stage.” Hopefully, it won’t be too long before EMGuidance’s and the other competitors solutions are used across all Africa.
- 835 views
- July 24, 2017
- Matt Jones
eHealth SME start-ups aren’t booming yet
As a relatively new and constantly changing industry, eHealth can expect the role of Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) to provide a significant contribution. Africa’s eHealth success could depend on them. An EU survey of over 300 European eHealth SMEs by eHealth Hub produced some surprises that highlight issues for Africa’s eHealth.
About 39% of eHealth SMEs are in pre-revenue stages. Some 43% have revenues below €100,000. Taken together, that’s 82% in early development stages.
These point to an EU market that’s still maturing. While this may be the state of the SMEs, their solutions may be further ahead. Pascal Lardier, executive director at Health 2.0 says demonstration apps for Health 2.0 Europe have shown a consistent maturity over several years. His conclusion’s that the supply side is maturing faster than demand by consumers and healthcare.
He’s also surprised that most SMEs, almost an even split for a total of about two thirds, work on B2B or B2B2C solutions:
The EU differs from the US where the bulk of investment’s for B2C solutions. In the EU, it’s about 8%. It may be that the EU’s investment flow may be greater if B2C initiatives were stronger, with Europeans spending more as health consumers?
83% of SMEs surveyed stated they were currently looking for funding. Their investors’ most important criterion remains commercial traction. About 37% of these start-ups also said they’d already raised a round of external capital, with 38% of that subset having raised over €1 million. Indicating that raising investment money without revenues is viable.
Finding the right investors needs a combination of the right idea with the right plan to turn it into a successful business, Pascal Lardier’s advice’s to adopt an old “Ask for money and you'll get advice, ask for advice and you'll get money." Will this work for Africa’s eHealth SMEs?
- 943 views
- April 21, 2017
- Tom Jones
Merck picks a Ghanaian start-up for its accelerator
It’s good to see African start-ups recognised by big, global business. Merck, a global healthcare and pharmaceutical firm, has chosen Peach Health Technologies (PHT), a Ghanaian start-up and two from the US to be part its third eHealth accelerator event in Nairobi, Kenya. PHT’s developed a cloud-based EHR for hospitals in developing countries.
An article in Disrupt Africa says Merck launched its eHealth accelerator programme in Nairobi alongside its successful event in Germany. The aim’s to foster the growth of Africa’s high potential, early stage eHealth start-ups. The Merck Accelerator Africa programme runs for three months. Selected eHealth start-ups are provided with finance with no equity taken in return, coaching, mentoring and access to Merck’s global networks.
In the first two rounds of the programme, Merck offered start-ups US$15,000. For this stage, it’s increased to US$30,000.
The US companies are RxAll and Secure Data Kit (SDK). RxAll’s developed an AI platform for pharmacies to authenticate medicines in Africa. SDK has a programme for data management of global health supply chains.
All three can benefit Africa’s health systems. It’ll be good to see their solutions deployed soon.
- 729 views
- April 04, 2017
- Tom Jones
There are plenty of eHealth startups to watch out for in 2017
Technology and startups keep growing across Africa as more people search for unique solutions to everyday problems. Disrupt Africa monitors technology startups on the continent and recently published a report identifying South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya as the top three destinations for technology investors in 2016, both in terms of numbers of deals and total funding.
A Disrupt Africa list now sets out the top technology start-ups for 2017, ITNEWS Africa selected ten start-ups it predicts will influence the market this year. Of the ten innovations, three are in healthcare. They are:
Flare, a Kenyan start-up. Its app aggregates available ambulances onto a single system and allows patients or hospitals to request emergency help using a smartphone. Flare underwent testing with ambulances throughout 2016 ahead of the release of an Uber-style consumer-facing app.
Jumaii. a Tanzanian company. Its app provides a mobile micro-health insurance product for low income and informal sectors. It’s built a mobile policy management platform that performs all the administrative activities of an insurer and allows users to access cheap insurance. Jamii won the Tanzania Seedstar World competition and is set to launch in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa in 2017.
Dr CADx, a Zimbabwean start-up founded in 2016. It’s developing a computer-aided diagnostic system to help doctors diagnose medical images more accurately and provide pervasive radiology diagnostics in regions that don’t have radiologists. The solution’s designed to be used by medical professionals on existing computers and tablets. Dr CADx is able to diagnose most diseases but the start-up’s initial focus is on lung diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and lung cancer, as well as head injuries and breast cancer. Dr CADx was named winner of the Zimbabwean edition of Seedstars World.
All the best to the startups. We’re looking forward to reporting on your successes on eHNA soon.
- 1,305 views
- February 17, 2017
- Lesley Dobson
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