Affordable medicine is a miracle still in its African infancy. One of the companies pushing this turnaround for the continent is Ilara, a healthtech startup based in Nairobi. The firm has raised a seed round of USD 735 K from foreign and local investors.
The new investment saw the participation of Shaka VC, a Chinese venture capital firm based in Nairobi, Chandaria Capital – Chandaria Industries’ VC arm, and Villgro Kenya. Angel investors also participated in the round, including Esther Dyson, Selman Ribica, Nijhad Jamal, Addiil Mamujee and Shakir Merali.
Illara targets more than 500 million people in Africa who lack access to genuine and affordable diagnostics. With the new investment, the startup will build a more encompassing tech platform to handle and protect patients and clinical financial data while bringing new users on board.
The healthtech which was founded just last year by Emilian Popa (CEO), Amaan Banwaitm (COO) of Hannes Eckmayr (VP sales) will also use the money received to expand its footprints in Kenya and make its platform more accessible.
This is Shaka VC’s second funding participation in the space of two weeks. Last week, WeeTracker announced that the Chinese firm participated in a multi-million Series A round for Lagos transport payment startup GONA.
On the sidelines of the funding with Ilara, the VC firm reveals that over half a million Africans have to go through ordeals to access or afford a simple blood test.
According to Larry Liu, Partner at Shaka VC, Ilara is addressing the affordable diagnostics problem by distributing more affordable tech-powered diagnostics equipment to primary-care doctors at the front line of healthcare.
The investor, in the same statement, said it is delighted to join the startup in its journey. However, Ilara is not alone, as Nigeria’s global medtech startup MDaas is also making affordable diagnostics a reality. It recently raised USD 1 Mn in seed funding to take its services to the next level.
Emilian Popa, Co-founder, and CEO at Ilara Health said: “Seventy percent of patients need some form of medical test to inform their treatment, but many doctors across Africa have limited ability to perform diagnostics in their clinics.
When a patient needs a test, doctors often refer them to a lab. Given the infrastructure challenges across the region – the time, the money it takes to get anywhere – patients frequently fail to attend and care breaks down.”
Ilara Health sources tech-enabled diagnostic equipment at affordable prices and distribute them to healthcare facilities which pay for them over a specified period. Aside from making these devices available, the startup bundles the equipment to integrate them through a proprietary tech platform.