The growing number of tech-based healthcare startups in Africa has enticed investors to pour millions of dollars into businesses that aim to transform the African healthcare market.
The increased interest originates from a positive outlook on future innovation as well as the fact that many of these firms have the ability to develop faster with this funding.
As a result, Reliance Health, a Nigerian-based health-tech company, recently received $40 million in funding.
The Series B round is the highest in African health-tech history. According to a report, health technology in Africa is expected to reach a market worth of more than US$11 billion by 2025, and Reliance Health wants to play a key part in helping the region achieve that goal.
General Atlantic led the financing, with Partech, Picus Capital, Tencent Exploration, Africa Healthcare Master Fund, P1 Ventures, Laerdal Million Lives Fund, and M3 Inc. participating as well.
This funding comes two years after the startup raised $6 million in a Series A round in January 2020. Reliance previously secured a $2 million seed round in 2017, months after graduating from YC. Partech, Y Combinator, Golden Palm Investments, Ventures Platform, Lofty Inc– as well as Tencent and Picus– were among the investors in both rounds, which totaled $48 million.
Femi Kuti, Opeyemi Olumekun, and Matthew Mayaki launched the startup in 2016. It provides health insurance and telemedicine through agreements with hospitals and healthcare providers using integrated methods.
Both key principles have been packaged by Reliance Health so that people can subscribe to an integrated suite of healthcare goods.
Reliance Health provides some of that healthcare directly, via its telemedicine platform, drug delivery system, and two clinics in Lagos, Nigeria. Hospitals, diagnostic centers, and pharmaceutical centers are examples of third-party provider partners.
Business-to-business and business-to-customer models are used by Reliance Health. Users can choose monthly, quarterly, or yearly health plans starting from $3,500 ($7.00) to 148,500 ($297.00) through RelianceHMO, the firm’s health insurance plan for both groups of clients.
Businesses, on the other hand, can purchase subscriptions on behalf of their employees, which, according to Kuti, are marginally cheaper than retail subscriptions.
Reliance Health is used by over 200,000 people across both models. However, it is the platform’s business clients who have shown the most loyalty.
According to Kuti, the platform services 600 of them, including Biersdorf Nivea, Jumia, and PwC, while maintaining a 99 percent attributed intention rate.
Great health is the backbone of a nation. In Africa, the health system is still not efficient and there is much to be done. But amazing health tech startups are coming up fast to change this situation.
They are helping to make African health systems more effective and provide medical services for millions of Africans that don’t have access to them as well.
By using technology to deliver more affordable, quality care across a diverse population, the health tech sector has lower rates of disease and mortality, shorter recovery time in hospitals, and higher diagnostic accuracy than any other industry in the region.
Reliance Health wants to spend a portion of the money to develop two more clinics in Nigeria’s Abuja and Port Harcourt, according to the CEO. Reliance Health also plans to acquire talent and expand new product lines, particularly for Nigerians living abroad.
The health-tech firm will branch out into other markets. Egypt is at the top of the list, with Reliance Health already employing a national manager in preparation for a mid-year launch.
According to Kuti, the company plans to enter two or three nations by the end of the year.
Venture finance in African health tech is taking up after years of government and donor-backed funding schemes.
According to statistics on the African VC environment, health tech entrepreneurs raised less than $100 million in 2020, but that amount jumped to $370 million last year.
While African health tech still accounts for less than 10% of total funding, large rounds from startups such as Vezeeta, Helium Health, 54gene, mPharma, Africa Health Holdings, and now Reliance Health indicate that the sector is maturing, buoyed by market drivers such as the pandemic, population numbers, data analytics, and customer-centricity.
Africa has seen a number of high-impact investments in Health Tech companies over the past few years. In fact, there’s a reason it’s being called “the hottest region” for investors right now.
African healthcare could present the next big development in global health investment and tech innovation.
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