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Infant Mortality-Focused Healthtech Neopenda Raises USD 1 Mn From Axel Johnson Inc and SUNU Capital


April 12, 2019

Uganda-focused, Chicago-based healthtech startup Neopenda has closed another financing round. The firm which makes wearable neonatal monitors has raised a seed round of USD 1.4 Mn, a deal which involved the participation of New York-based Axel Johnson Inc and Africa-based VC firm SUNU Capital. Raising money from American and African VCs, the firm confirms its hybrid identity and dual regional focus.

The funding will be used to manufacture and commercialize Neopenda’s product, and allow the healthtech to expand its clinical pilots to regions beyond their current base in Uganda. Founded by Sona Shah and Teresa Cauvel, the 2015-launched company is out to solve immensely pressing problems for the underserved in underdeveloped and low-resource regions in the world, with major focus on infant mortality.

As recognition and reward for Neopenda’s strides, particularly its wearable neonatal vital monitor – which is designed to reduce the rate of newborn fatalities – the startup was honored with the 2018 United Nations’ She Innovates Prize for Gender-Responsive Innovation. The conclave which stems from MIT Solve’s Frontlines of Health category, saw the healthtech go home with a USD 30 K cash prize.

January this year, the startup reported that is had completed a crowdfunding equity campaign, raising more than USD 300 K from a league of 703 investors. The raise, like the previous ones and the most recent USD 1 Mn, was believed to go into furthering the natal cause in Uganda and possibly other parts of the world, especially the development and distribution of Neopenda’s signature device.

The wearable neonatal vital monitor – which can powered by rechargeable, low-powered batteries – measures to pulse, respiratory, oxygen and temperature rates in newborns, and sends the received data via Bluetooth to a tablet with which a nurse can observe the signs. The bracelet-like contrivance also alerts nurses in the event of infant distress.

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