Lagos-based healthtech startup raises $10 million for Africa expansion
Helium said it plans to use the latest funding round to expand its market footprint across Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia, while also expanding into new markets in North Africa, East Africa, and Francophone West Africa.
Helium Health, a leading provider of full-service technology solutions for the African healthcare sector, said last week that it has raised $10 million in Series A funding round. The investment round was co-led by Global Ventures, a Dubai-based venture capital (VC) firm, and Japan’s Africa Healthcare Masterfund (AAIC), according to a statement released by the health technology (healthtech) firm.
Founded in 2014 by three Nigerians, Goke Olubisi, Tito Ovia and Dimeji Sofowora, Helium Health uses a suite of technology solutions to strengthen healthcare delivery, from electronic medical records and telemedicine, to administration and financial management. The startup says it now covers more than 300 health facilities and has over 5,000 medical professionals in its database. It also manages the records of over 165,000 patients every month.
The investment comes amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has provided a catalyst for VCs to scout for growth healthcare startups. According to Helium, it plans to use the latest funding round to expand its market footprint across Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia, while also expanding into new markets in North Africa, East Africa, and Francophone West Africa this year.
The company said it will build on its Electronic Medical Records/Hospital Management Information System (EMR/HMIS) to roll out new products for healthcare providers, payers, patients, public health partners, governments and donor agencies. Among its new products are HeliumPay, a billing and payments solution; Helium CareCredit, which utilises financial performance data to create a healthcare lending credit score; and Helium Cover, which helps in simplifying the processing of health insurance.
“We’re building the technology infrastructure to connect a fragmented healthcare sector and power the delivery of quality, affordable, comprehensive care across the continent," said Adegoke Olubusi, Co-founder/CEO of Helium Health. "The devastating impact of the pandemic is a humbling reminder of how critical responsive and agile health systems are to our collective wellbeing."
Olubusi added that only "data and technology can produce the required responsiveness and agility to tackle health challenges of this magnitude. It has never been more imperative for Africa to build a modern and digitized healthcare system.”
Other participants in the funding round include China's Tencent and Japan's Ohara Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. In an interview with TechCrunch last week, Olubusi disclosed that the healthtech firm has received acquisition offers. However, it declined them as it looks forward to grow the venture to the point where it can take it public.
“We are excited to partner with Helium Health as the need for healthcare data and inclusion in emerging markets is exacerbated by the pandemic," said Noor Sweid, General Partner at Global Ventures. "Helium Health has the opportunity to solve large problems through its software and help accelerate healthcare accessibility.”
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