Nigeria’s Helium Health raises $10M Series A for Africa expansion – TechCrunch


Nigerian startup Helium Well being sits in an excellent place throughout a troublesome interval, in line with its co-founder.

The Lagos based mostly healthtech enterprise is within the black, has batted away acquisition affords, and simply raised a $10 million Collection A spherical, CEO Adegoke Olubusi informed TechCrunch.

The startup affords a product go well with that digitizes knowledge, formalizes monetization and allows telemedicine for well being care methods in Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana.

Helium plans to make use of the most recent funding spherical to rent and develop to North and East Africa, together with Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Morocco, Olubusi confirmed on a name.

He co-founded the startup in 2016 — with Dimeji Sofowora and Tito Ovia — to convey higher supply of medical companies in Nigeria and broader Africa.

“It’s actually about tackling three core issues that we see within the healthcare sector in Africa: inefficiency, fragmentation and an absence of information,” stated Olubusi.

When he and co-founders Sofowora and Oviato set out doing analysis for Helium, they famous an information desert on medical information throughout the continent’s healthcare infrastructure.

“We found out in a short time that that may be a long run downside to resolve. And the easiest way to get the information and entry to it’s to offer easy expertise to the suppliers and allow them to use it to make their lives extra environment friendly.”

Helium Well being has since developed a number of core product areas for healthcare entities with software for suppliers, fee, sufferers, and companions.

It affords tech options and developer assets for administration, medical information and monetary administration. Helium Well being has digital fee and credit score merchandise for hospitals and insurance coverage suppliers.

As a part of the most recent financing, the startup is launching a number of new merchandise — such because the MyHelium Affected person app to facilitate appointments and knowledge sharing between healthcare suppliers and residents.

Photos Credit: Helium Well being

Helium additionally accelerated deployment of a telemedicine platform in response to the coronavirus hitting Nigeria and the lockdowns that ensued.

“Within the final three weeks since we launched we’ve had roughly 360 hospitals enroll, they usually’ve had 1000’s of [online] visits already,” Olubusi stated.

Helium Well being generates revenues by charging percentages and costs on its merchandise, companies and accompanying transactions. Present purchasers embrace a number of hospitals within the West Africa area, resembling Paelon Memorial in Lagos.

Helium Well being’s mannequin obtained the eye of the startup’s $10 million Collection A backers and Silicon Valley accelerator Y-Combinator — which accepted the startup into its spring 2017 batch.

World Ventures and Africa Healthcare Masterfund co-led the funding with participation that included Tencent and extra Y-Combinator assist.

World Ventures Basic Accomplice Noor Sweid confirmed the Dubai based mostly fund’s co-lead of the $10 million spherical and that the agency will take a Helium Well being board seat.

The trail of the startup’s CEO —  Adegoke Olubusi — to turning into a tech founder handed by way of the U.S. and conventional company roles. He went to Maryland in 2014 to finish a sophisticated diploma in engineering at Johns Hopkins College, then did a stint at Goldman Sachs earlier than touchdown positions in massive tech with eBay and PayPal.

Olubusi discovered work with massive corporates lower than stimulating and gravitated to forming his personal firm and returning to Nigeria.

“After I was at eBay and Goldman I used to be actually bored and I needed to do one thing tougher,” he stated. “We thought, ‘why don’t we choose an issue that may be a long-term downside in Africa,’” Olubusi defined.

Helium Well being founders (L to R) Dimeji Sofowora, Tito Ovia, and Adegoke Olubusi: Picture Credit: Helium Well being

The founder believes the merchandise Helium Well being creates can enhance the poor well being care stats in nations resembling Nigeria — which stands as Africa’s largest economic system and most populous nation.

Nigeria additionally ranked 142nd out of 195 nations on well being efficiency indicators in The Lancet’s 2018 Healthcare Entry and High quality Index.

On the dismal stats, “We’d like extra correctly run hospitals, and we want extra worthwhile hospitals, well being methods and well being care suppliers,” stated Olubusi.

Higher monetization and group of hospitals might lure extra medical doctors again to African nations, he believes.

“Half my household are medical doctors however none of them follow in Nigeria. Everybody’s working towards in all places, however Nigeria,” Olubusi stated.

The founder additionally sees a extra digitized and knowledge pushed well being care sector as one thing that may draw extra entrepreneurs to African healthtech. In comparison with dominant sectors, resembling fintech, well being associated startups in Africa achieve a small share of the continent’s annual VC haul — solely 9.3% by Partech’s 2019 stats.

“There are individuals who wish to make investments available in the market however they’ll’t…and founders can’t actually deal with a healthcare downside as a result of they don’t know what’s happening,” he stated.

As for his enterprise, Olubusi expects development even given the precarious financial outlook COVID-19 is creating for nations, resembling Nigeria — which is anticipated to enter recession this 12 months.

The coronavirus and lockdowns are shining a light-weight on the nation’s healthcare inadequacies (in line with Helium Well being’s CEO) that individuals can’t ignore, together with the elite.

“That is the primary time they’ll’t get on their jet and depart so that they must go to the hospitals we have now. The system was uncared for for the previous couple of many years as a result of individuals had that [previous] choice,” stated Olubusi.

“I’m hoping this coronavirus disaster will likely be a interval that forces everybody to rethink what we’re doing [on healthcare].”

That might result in extra enterprise for Helium Well being.

The startup doesn’t launch monetary info however has optimistic web revenue. “We do generate revenues in tens of millions of {dollars} and are worthwhile,” Olubusi stated.

Helium Well being has obtained acquisition affords, however declined them, in line with its CEO. Olubusi and group intend to develop the enterprise to the purpose the place it may checklist on a worldwide alternate.

“We all know that is the form of enterprise we will take public, with out having to promote,” he stated.

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