Villgro Kenya to incubate, fund 2 Ugandan e-health startups

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Villgro Kenya has added Uganda-based e-health startups innovations MamaOpe and clinicPesa to its portfolio, offering them funding and incubation support to help grow the businesses and increase access to healthcare for low-income communities.

Disrupt Africa reported in February of last year the India-based Villgro Innovations Foundation had launched an incubator for early-stage businesses in the healthcare and life sciences sector in Nairobi.

In India, Villgro works with early-stage for-profit social enterprises that have an impact on the lives of the poor, incubating companies in sectors such as education, health, energy and agriculture. Villgro Kenya is a health-focused incubator offering mentoring, funding and access to networks.

Following funding approval from the Villgro Kenya Investment Committee, Villgro has now confirmed investments of US$25,000 in MamaOpe and and US$40,000 in clinicPesa, both of which are in the form of grant funding.

MamaOpe is a biomedical smart jacket for screening and continuous monitoring of pneumonia patients, which measures the primary symptoms of pneumonia to aid non-physician clinicians in correctly diagnosing pneumonia.

“Pneumonia is the number one killer of children under five years of age globally. Over half a million deaths each year can be easily prevented by early diagnosis and treatment. As Villgro Kenya, we remain committed to investing in inventors that are developing lifesaving medical technologies designed to strengthen health systems in Africa,” said Villgro Kenya chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Robert Karanja.

clinicPesa, meanwhile, is a digital micro-savings and loans platform that provides users with convenient and affordable means to accessing healthcare. It allows users to access their saving and loans for use at registered health services providers, reducing out-of-pocket spending for medical bills and purchases of drugs.

“Financial constraints are one of the biggest reasons that people avoid going to the doctor or getting the medication they need. clinicPesa’s unique approach makes saving for healthcare as simple as possible, so people can access the healthcare they need. We’re excited to be working with clinicPesa to bring this product to the market along with their other partners,” said Villgro Kenya chief operating officer (COO) Paul Belknap.

Villgro Kenya will offer financial support, high-touch mentorship through a structured programme, access to networks of healthcare and product development experts, and connections to investors and strategic partners in order to assist the two startups in advancing health coverage across Africa.

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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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