While some startups manage to bootstrap their operations until they grow to product market fit, many notable startups dominating the African tech space survived thanks to support and funding from VCs, angels, and private equity companies.
Investors are the backbone of many startups, providing capital, resources, and market access that foster the growth of the companies. Thanks to these funders, billions of Africans now enjoy the products and services of innovative startup companies.
The healthcare sector is particularly interesting; only 1% of global health funding is spent in Africa, according to data from Health Finance Coalition. That means healthcare providers in Africa lack sufficient funding to scale up their services.
Thankfully, a few investment companies have taken on the responsibility of supporting healthcare development in Africa. Here we highlight nine investment companies dedicating vast resources to advancing solutions in the African healthcare sector.
Health 54 is the corporate venture capital arm of CFAO, an affiliate of the Toyota Tusho Group. CFAO is the largest healthcare distribution channel in sub-Saharan Africa, and it aims to deliver affordable and reliable healthcare access to Africans.
Through Health 54, CFAO is implementing multiple initiatives to foster innovation and digitization to address Africa’s social challenges. Health 54 supports the growth of innovative startups in the African health tech and business ecosystem by providing them with crucial financial backing.
It also aims to remove the resource restraints limiting the growth of early-mid stage transformative businesses in Africa.
While the company is still relatively young, it has been actively working to fulfill its core mandate, i.e., empowering African healthcare startups. So far, it has impacted notable companies, including Tibu Health, Lifestores Pharmacy, Lifestores Health, and Waspito.
Villgro Africa is an impact investment firm supporting the growth of healthcare technology and services in Africa. It aims to enable providers of innovative solutions in health services within Africa to grow and take their ideas to market.
Initially based in India, Viligro expanded operations into Africa in 2017, establishing its base in Nairobi, Kenya. But it has since rebranded to Villgro Africa, reiterating its commitment to fostering health tech growth in Africa. The company has also expanded its operations into several other parts of the continent.
In addition to providing capital support for startups in the healthcare and life sciences sector, Villgro also actively oversees the growth of early-stage businesses in the industry. It runs a startup incubation program offering personalized mentoring and network access to its portfolio businesses.
Since it began operations in Africa, it has disbursed over $20M in funding, and its efforts have impacted over 10 million lives on the continent. Among its portfolio companies are Dawa Health, BioTec, Swift Lab, and A-Lite.
Jaza Rift Ventures
Jaza Rift Ventures is an impact investment fund enabling the development of advanced healthcare systems and services in Africa. The company invests in innovative and impactful invention-based startups creating scalable healthcare solutions in Africa.
Jaza Rift primarily focuses on early-stage companies – providing varying degrees of capital backing for pre-seed, seed, and Series A stage startups in the health tech, Medtech, and digital health solutions categories. It aims to help founders scale their innovative ideas and inventions to 10x growth within 5-7 years of operation.
Jaza Rift typically invests between $200k and $2m in select startups. It has also partnered with Villgro to provide additional value for its portfolio companies, putting them up for participation in Villgrow’s incubation program. Thus they provide financial backing for companies and help them access the platforms and other resources they need to grow.
Investment Funds for Health Africa
Investment Funds for Health Africa is a venture capital and private equity setup dedicated to enabling the growth of emerging private healthcare companies across Sub-saharan Africa. The firm provides funding backing for fast-growing startups with a unique competitive advantage in their respective markets.
Being a health-focused setup, the VC primarily looks for companies in five health industry subcategories. It aims to support primary care providers such as hospitals, clinics, telehealth setups, etc., Health insurance providers such as HMOs, supporting industries such as biomedical labs, medical supplies manufacturers, and healthcare product distributors.
IFHA currently has up to 170m Euros worth of assets under management with 12 portfolio investments and 18 investors. The company is implementing several innovative investment strategies to optimize and accelerate the development of its portfolio companies.
IFHA’s efforts are reflected in its provision of capital for expanding its portfolio companies and growing their products to market fit. It’s helping healthcare services in Africa reach its full potential.
HealthCap Africa, incorporated as Healthcare Africa Limited, is a venture capital investment firm dedicated to helping Africans live better lifestyles by funding assets that improve healthcare access in Africa.
HealthCap invests in early-stage seed and pre-Series A startups in the healthcare and clean energy sectors. It helps its portfolio companies scale up by giving them the funds and support necessary for growth.
HealthCap boasts an impressive portfolio featuring notable health tech startups, including Heliumhealth, Koniku, Lifebank, Healthtracka, Mdaasglobal, and Lifestores Pharmacy.
HealthCap Africa is committed to creating economic value by funding the development of assets that make Africa a healthier place. It also aims to promote Gender Equality, Clean Water supply as well as affordable and clean energy on the continent.
The i3 Initiative is a pan-African investment fund for developing growth-stage companies providing healthcare solutions in Africa. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-backed venture aims to empower startups to bring high-quality health products closer to patients.
The i3 Initiative has recently unveiled a $7 million fund that it intends to distribute between 30 health tech companies that qualify for its cohort. Selected startups will each receive a $50,000 grant and other necessary support to catalyze their growth, including market access and additional investment readiness support.
With additional sponsorship contributions from Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), AUDA-NEPAD, and the WHO Regional Office for Africa, the Initiative unites leading investors and donors to provide financial support for companies developing Africa’s most innovative healthcare solutions.
Vital Capital is a high-impact investment firm dedicated to transforming lives in Africa by funding the growth of scalable businesses across the continent. The company has deep operational expertise that it leverages in identifying overlooked opportunities in vital sectors across Africa.
The private equity firm seeks out and backs companies creating solutions that improve the quality of life of Africans in developing nations across Sub-Saharan Africa. It targets its funds at startups solving problems in health care, food, and water supply categories.
Vital Capital hopes to improve access to quality healthcare, food, and water for Africans by actively supporting startups that offer them. They back such companies with funding and expert support to help them scale their operations.
Vital Capital is impact-oriented; thus, it primarily invests in startups with the potential to have significant impacts regardless of their life stage.
LeapFrog Investment is a private investment fund supporting the growth of healthcare startups in emerging markets across Africa. The company provides financial support as well as unique value additions for its portfolio companies, giving them all they need to achieve growth leaps and expansion.
LeapFrog Investment predominantly invests in companies that demonstrate a clear impact in the healthcare and financial services sector. It supports their growths with its unique value-add initiatives, including a talent accelerator mentorship program, impact labs – its innovation engine, and its customer experience tool – CV Launchpad.
LeapFrog aims to create a success pathway for businesses that provide consumers in emerging markets with tools to live healthy lifestyles. It’s achieving that by providing the companies with the necessary financial support, enterprise resources, and capacity addition they need to give their best.
Kepple Africa Ventures
Kepple Africa is a venture capital company enabling the development of innovative technology in Africa. It connects startups with investors and strategic corporate partners to facilitate cross-border expansion and catalyze mergers.
Kepple Africa invests in startups across multiple sectors, but it has had an undeniable impact on the health tech ecosystem. Its portfolio includes several notable health tech companies such as Antarahealth, Access Afya, Tibu Health, Talamus, and healthlane, among others.
Kepple Africa Ventures provides seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage financing for its portfolio companies. It recently partnered with Verod Capital Management to expand its investments. The partnership enabled it to raise additional funds to scale up its coverage.