Kenya’s SophieBot selected for Merck Nairobi accelerator

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Kenyan e-health startup SophieBot has been selected to take part in the Merck accelerator programme in Nairobi, gaining access to office space, mentorship and EUR50,000 (US$60,000) in funding.

This is the fourth time Merch has run the programme – which also takes place in Darmstadt, Germany – in Nairobi.

The programme supports young companies in their seed-phase, with a focus on the fields of healthcare, life science, and performance materials. For the programme in Nairobi, a special focus is on projects in the digital health sector.

Three startups have been chosen to take part in the Nairobi accelerator. One of those is SophieBot, which recently completed the iAccelerator programme run by the Nailab. The startup has developed a chatbot that answers questions about sexual health using artificial intelligence.

Sophie the chatbot gives answers in real-time about any issues concerning sexual and reproductive health. The bot can be integrated into multiple platforms including Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Twitter and the Android mobile app.

SophieBot is joined in this cohort by India’s Wellthy Therapeutics, which has developed a digital therapy strategy for diabetes patients, and the Amsterdam-based Coolfinity, which has developed technology that ensures constant and uniform cooling of stored medicine.

“Due to the number of high-quality applications from over 60 countries, selecting startups for our fifth round in Darmstadt and our fourth intake in Nairobi was not easy,” said Michael Gamber, head of the Innovation Centre in Darmstadt.

“In comparison to the first accelerator intake back in 2015, we can see that digitalisation now plays an even greater role across the healthcare and life science sectors, guaranteeing even faster and easier ways for patients to manage their diseases. We can also see that digitalisation is constantly improving daily work for researchers.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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