Nigerian health startup, MDaaS Global announced the launch of a new health-tech product, SentinelX, and also closed a seed extension round of $2.3 million to scale across Nigeria.
MDaaS, an abbreviation for medical devices-as-a-service, started back in 2016. It operates a network of tech-enabled diagnostic centers across Nigeria. Two years ago, it raised a million-dollar seed round. And in addition to the other investments secured over the last five years, the health-tech startup has raised a total of $3.7 million.
The investors in the round include lead Newtown Partners, who invested via its Imperial Venture Fund, CRI Foundation, and return investors FINCA Ventures, Techstars, and Future Africa.
The idea for MDaaS came when co-founder and CEO Oluwasoga Oni was tasked alongside his classmates at an MIT class to develop an idea that could impact a billion lives. Coming from a medical background, he chose the one he could relate to.
“I wanted to solve the problem close to me and my dad in my early years. He had a 30-bed hospital and struggled so hard to find medical equipment that was good for him and also at a good rate,” he said to TechCrunch.
Oni started MDaaS with Opeyemi Ologun, Genevieve Barnard Oni, and Joseph McCord. With their connections in the U.S., the founders began connecting secondary medical equipment marketplace in the U.S. to Nigeria.
MDaaS diagnostic centers offer a wide range of services. First, there are imaging services such as digital x-ray and ultrasound, cardiac services such as ECG and echo. Then the lab services ranging from chemistry analysis and immunoassay to hematology.
Oni explained how did SentinelX come about, he said it was during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. As MDaaS helped out with testing for COVID in patients, it was also taking time to screen for underlying health conditions.
“We didn’t really find a lot of people that had COVID, but what we found was that a lot of people had underlying conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol that they didn’t know about. So we were really shocked about that.”
So far, MDaaS, the healthcare startup has provided diagnostic services to over 40,000 patients in underserved communities. It has also performed over 80,000 diagnostics tests across cardiology, radiology, neurology, laboratory, and general health checks. Over 750 clinicians use its referral network, and it has locked partnerships with more than 500 health facilities and 10 HMO networks.
Therefore, building SentinelX on the infrastructure already put in place serves as an opportunity to provide more customer-centric products for its users. The platform acts as a personalized care program where patients pay a one-time fee of N35k (~$70) and access a doctor all year round.
At the moment, users can run through a series of tests ranging from 60 or 70 biomarkers to assess individual risk for a wide range of diseases, including cancers, diabetes, kidney disease, and heart diseases. Clinical and family history and demographic data are also taken into consideration as part of the comprehensive analysis. Meanwhile, MDaaS creates a care plan unique to customers should they have health concerns after screening.
SentinelX is currently in private beta. However, the plan is to go live in September 2021. One would argue that $70 for a year might be cheap for this kind of service, Oni concurs but says it’s all about the long game for MDaaS.
“What we’re trying to solve is non-consumption. Most people in Nigeria don’t go for annual screening, which is something meant to be routinely done. Instead, what we tend to have in Nigeria is that people wait till they get sick before going for checkups. By that time, it costs so much money to solve the problem,” Oni echoes on the lackadaisical effort some Nigerians place on their health.
“We have had to get very creative in the way we build things because we target low to middle-income patients. As a result, we’ve needed to customize our diagnostic infrastructure, especially as it relates to costs for the people we serve,” Oni added.
The economic recession has also affected one of MDaaS’ most priced assets: doctors. Brain drain is a major challenge facing the Nigerian health system right now. It has led to a dramatic reduction in the number of Nigerian doctors who leave for a better quality of life and pay, with some reports estimating that over 2,000 doctors leave annually.
“When you hear about it in the news, it seems like a theoretical thing. But for us, it is real because we have staff leaving to go abroad,” the CEO remarked. MDaaS tries to approach the situation by training younger doctors and deploying them to its centers. Still, there’s some commitment play as both parties agree on a period of time the doctor would work with the company.
Per application of funds, MDaaS wants to scale its physical footprint across Nigeria by adding six more diagnostic centers this year. According to Oni, the health-tech startup wants to become one of Nigeria’s three largest diagnostic centers. The CEO also said MDaaS would consider a pan-African expansion to similar countries like Nigeria, although he gave no timeline. But by 2025, the company aims to operate 100 centers across the continent and serve a million patients per year.
Speaking on the news, the managing partner at Newtown Partners, Llew Claasen, said, “Most consumers in sub-Saharan Africa receive suboptimal medical care because of infrastructure gaps, low physician density, delays in diagnostics, and a lack of health data visibility. We think the physical diagnostic infrastructure that MDaaS is building out, coupled with the means to collect data and deliver value-added software services, has the potential to completely change the way that physicians, clinicians, and pharmacists do their jobs and lead to better health outcomes for a huge number of previously underserved consumers.”
Nigerian Mobility Pioneer Moove Raises $76 Million in Game-Changing Financing Round
Moove, a trailblazing player in Nigeria’s mobility and logistics sector, has successfully raised $76 million in a financing round that promises to reshape the landscape of transportation and mobility services in the country.
This substantial investment further solidifies Moove’s position as a driving force behind innovative transportation solutions.
The company’s unique approach to automobile financing, which utilizes a hire-purchase model, has garnered attention from both investors and industry experts.
Under this model, Moove rents cars to drivers, allowing them to ultimately become car owners once they complete payments based on a predetermined value set by the company.
This infusion of funds will enable Moove to accelerate its efforts in bringing affordable and flexible mobility solutions to Nigerian drivers, fostering economic opportunities and contributing to the growth of the local transportation ecosystem.
The financing round boasts support from 31 investors, including prominent names such as BlackRock and Mubadala.
It said in a statement that, “Moove is different from typical mobility companies like Uber or Taxify; instead, it operates as an automobile financing startup that employs a hire purchase model. Under this approach, Moove rents cars to drivers, who eventually become car owners after paying the predetermined value set by Moove.”
According to the statement, the collective efforts of Nigerian mobility and logistics startups were making a substantial impact, employing 1,374 individuals in total, averaging around 49 employees per company, as highlighted by Disrupt Africa’s research.
With this successful funding round, Moove has now raised $550 million across 15 rounds as it eyes unicorn status. “Unicorn” status—a term used to describe privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion—represents a significant milestone in the realm of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Zuvy Secures $4.5 Million to Revolutionize SME Financing in Africa
Nigerian startup Zuvy raises substantial funding to transform the landscape of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financing in Africa, addressing the critical challenges faced by businesses in accessing capital
Nigerian startup Zuvy has secured $4.5 million in funding to revolutionize SME financing in Africa by addressing the challenges faced by businesses in accessing capital for their operations.
Zuvy, founded in 2021 and operating out of Nigeria, specializes in providing innovative invoice financing and management tools for SMEs.
The co-founders, Angel Onuoha and Ahmad Shehu, share a passion for digitizing and providing financing solutions tailored to the unique needs of small businesses in Africa.
“When I first came to Lagos, I was helping one of my aunties run her food catering business, and I saw just how much of an impact that invoice financing could have had on her business,” shares Angel Onuoha, reflecting on his personal motivation for establishing Zuvy.
“This was primarily because most of her work is determined by large contracts that she would get from large oil and gas companies. They wouldn’t pay her for 30 or 45 days at a time, and I found that a lot of these payment delays are very common for vendors.”
Payment delays are a prevalent challenge faced by SMEs in Nigeria, where large corporations often take as long as 90 days to settle invoices for services rendered. This creates significant cash flow constraints for smaller businesses, adversely affecting their operations and growth prospects.
Zuvy aims to bridge this financing gap by providing invoice financing to SMEs, particularly in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), healthcare, and supply chain sectors where payment delays are rampant.
By offering cash advances based on invoices issued by businesses, Zuvy enables SMEs to access the funds they are owed, reducing their dependence on delayed payments.
To ensure the legitimacy of each application, Zuvy collaborates closely with the businesses receiving the services. This approach not only verifies the authenticity of the invoice but also streamlines the repayment process.
Repayment terms, ranging from 30 to 90 days, are determined based on the specific needs of each business, allowing for flexibility and tailored financing solutions.
Zuvy’s innovative approach to SME financing has garnered support from investors, with TLG Capital leading the recent funding round. The funding, split between debt ($4 million) and equity ($580k), will enable Zuvy to expand its loan book and meet the increasing demand from vendors in Nigeria.
“TLG’s innovative approach to lending in Naira, a critical aspect of our operations, has demonstrated their deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within our market,” says Angel Onuoha, expressing his enthusiasm for TLG Capital’s investment.
“Most importantly, their deal execution speed is unparalleled, and we are highly aligned with their mission in fostering the growth of SMEs on the continent.”
Nigerian Health Tech Startup Helium Health Secures $30 Million in Funding to Expand Offering in Africa
Nigerian health tech startup Helium Health has secured $30 million in series B funding to expand its offering across Africa.
Nigerian health tech startup Helium Health has secured $30 million in series B funding to expand its offering across Africa.
The funding round was led by AXA IM Alts, with participation from Capria Ventures, Angaza Capital, Anne Wojcicki, and Flatworld partners. Other existing investors that participated in the round include Tencent, Ohara Pharmaceuticals, LCY Group, WTI, and AAIC.
With the recent funds raised, Helium Health seeks to expand the reach of its fintech product Helium Credit, which is one of the leading digital finance products for Africa’s healthcare sector.
Speaking on the recent funds raised, Helium Health CEO and Co-founder Adegoke Olubusi said, “We believe in a future where good healthcare is a reality for Africans, not just a few. We are deeply committed to supporting both private healthcare providers and public health stakeholders with finance, technology, and data to achieve that vision. We are delighted to have such seasoned healthcare investors accompany us on our journey”.
Also commenting on the funding round, Helium Health lead investor AXA IM Alts through the head of impact investing Jonathan Dean said, “We are delighted to invest, through AXA IM Alts’ impact investing strategies, in ‘Helium Health’s mission of providing digital solutions to improve the quality and efficacy of health services in resource-constrained environments, whilst also directly equipping health sector enterprises with affordable financial services. This investment directly contributes to AXA IM Alts’ broader impact goals of improving financial inclusion and reducing inequalities globally.”
Launched in 2020, Helium Health has extended more than $3.5 million in credit to over 200 healthcare facilities in Nigeria, including pharmacies, diagnostics centers, Hospitals, and Clinics, which have used the loans to purchase medical equipment and medications in bulk and also expand their locations.
The health tech startup works with leading global health organizations and governments, supporting them to execute their strategies, informing policy and decision-making, and improving outcomes for us all. The YC-backed HealthTech startup claims to be the widest-reaching EMR platform in West Africa, used by over 10,000 health workers across 1,000 facilities to care for over 1 million African patients, Investors King understands.
Since Helium’s health series A investment, it has grown its credit from $250,000 to a handful of healthcare facilities to more than $3.5 million across 200+ healthcare facilities in Nigeria.
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