E-health startups – apply now to Merck’s $30k equity-free accelerator


Global science and technology firm Merck has opened applications for the third edition of its equity-free e-health accelerator based in Nairobi, offering startups up to US$30,000 in funding.

Disrupt Africa reported in January, Merck launched its e-health accelerator programme in Nairobi, – the programme already successfully established in Germany – aiming to foster the growth of Africa’s high potential, early-stage e-health startups.

The three-month Merck Accelerator Africa programme sees chosen startups in the field of digital health given funding with no equity taken in return -, and provided with coaching, mentoring, access to Merck’s global networks.

The first programme ran from April to June this year, while the second cohort began the programme in September.

Merck has now opened applications for the third edition of the accelerator, inviting submissions from young startups with a digital approach in the fields of healthcare, life science and performance materials.

For this edition of the programme, Merck said it is particularly interested in startups with solutions that support care, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment in the areas of oncology, fertility, and diabetes; wearables, sensors, and photonics; health-tech with integration fintech innovations; and big data analytics.

While in the first two rounds of the programme Merck offered startups US$15,000 in funding, this time the amount has been increased, so participants in the third cohort will receive up to US$30,000.

“Due to the dynamic nature of the digital health market in Nairobi, we decided to invest more in the startups here and to link them up with a more global community. We also recognize that many startups here in Africa need financial support of a certain level in order to give them the opportunity to push their ideas forward,” said Michael Gamber, head of the Merck Innovation Centre.

Applications to the third cohort are available here, until December 19.  The programme will run between March and May 2017.


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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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