Investing in Innovation Africa (i3), a pan-African initiative for start-ups building the future of healthcare supply chains, has announced its second cohort of 29 companies. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and sponsored by Cencora (formerly AmerisourceBergen), Merck Sharpe & Dohme (MSD), Microsoft, and Chemonics, i3 is dedicated to facilitating the commercialization of promising early- and growth-stage companies.
Selected startups receive introductions to leading potential customers in industry, donor agencies and governments, a $50,000 grant, and tailored investment readiness support from leading accelerators Villgro Africa, IMPACT Lab, Startupbootcamp Afritech, and CcHUB.
The 29 start-ups chosen operate in 21 different African countries, delivering digitally-enabled healthcare supply chain solutions. Innovators are building online pharmacies and telemedicine firms, as well as inventory management services for pharmacies, clinics and hospitals, supply chain data analytics, product protection, product visibility and more. Some 38% of the companies selected are women-led and 17% are conducting operations in Francophone Africa.
The selected companies are, in alphabetical order:
- Afia Group
- Aimcare Health
- Bena Care
- Chari Pharma
- CheckUps Medical
- Dawa Mkononi
- Drugstore Nigeria
- Famasi Limited
- Field Intelligence
- Medical Diagnostech
- Medpharma Alliance International
- Octosoft Technologies
- Pharmaserv Health Project Nigeria
- SASA Health
- Tech Care For All Eastern Africa
- Technovera – Pelebox Smart Lockers
- Tibu Health
Innovators selected will benefit from the i3’s annual Access to Markets event in Nairobi, which will be held between 14-15 of November. The event facilitates dynamic partnership dialogues between industry stakeholders, governments, donors, and large multilateral agencies. Connections are made to drive the commercialization and scale of the start-ups through mutually beneficial contracts, pilot projects, and investments. The first cohort of 31 companies supported by i3 last year forged 24 contracts, pilots, and strategic partnerships to date.
Kieran Daly, Director, Global Health Agencies and Funds at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, commented: “As countries and global health institutions work to expand access to priority products, we face an urgent need to leverage solutions across the public and private sectors to improve health outcomes and strengthen local health systems. Programs like i3 help us understand, support and engage with technology-driven solutions emerging across Africa, hand-in-hand with our partners.”
Yusuf Rasool, Director, Global Market Access, Sustainable Access Solutions at MSD, noted, “We are excited to have a second cohort of 29 innovative changemakers in African healthcare enter the program. Investing in these companies are a means of delivering lifesaving solutions and empowering communities through the access of critical medicines across the continent.”
Jason Dinger, the Senior VP of Global Products and Solutions at Cencora: “The range of startups selected for the second cohort reflects the breadth of talent and creativity in the African entrepreneurial landscape, and we look forward to witnessing the transformative impact of their solutions in the years to come.”
i3 is coordinated by Salient Advisory and SCIDaR and is operationalized by leading technology hubs across the continent: CCHub for West Africa, Startupbootcamp AfriTech for Southern Africa, IMPACT Lab for North and French-speaking Africa, and Villgro Africa for East Africa.
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them a chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the US, it seeks to ensure that all people – especially those with the fewest resources – have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.