i3's 2nd Cohort Progress Update: Creating jobs, Reaching millions of Patients, and Expanding Geographically

We are excited to share the latest insights and achievements from Year 2 of the i3 program!

The innovators in the second cohort have gained significant traction over the last four months of the program and are improving access for an estimated 83m patients annually through at least 58k providers they serve.

Collectively, they have successfully secured an additional $11.3 million in funding, marking a significant milestone. On the front of job creation, 300 new jobs were created - notably 36% of these roles were filled by women, underscoring our commitment to women inclusion.

Lastly, we are excited to highlight the expansion efforts of 13 of our cohort members, both nationally and internationally. Innovators have also secured 45 partnerships, with five directly attributed to the i3 program. Here's a snapshot of our progress.

As we progress, we are finding that connecting innovators with potential customers/partners requires dynamic approaches thus prompting us to explore new strategies in our program delivery to facilitate more partnerships.

We are excited for the journey ahead and the lasting impact we will make with the innovators!

Until next quarter!

i3 Launches Second Cohort of 29 African Health Supply Chain Startups

Investing in Innovation Africa (i3), a pan-African initiative for start-ups building the future of healthcare supply chains, is proud to announced its second cohort of 29 companies.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and sponsored by Cencora (formerly AmerisourceBergen), Merck Sharpe & Dohme (MSD), Microsoft, and Chemonics, i3 is dedicated to facilitating the commercialization of promising early- and growth-stage companies. Selected startups receive introductions to leading potential customers in industry, donor agencies and governments, a $50,000 grant, and tailored investment readiness support from leading accelerators Villgro Africa, IMPACT Lab, Startupbootcamp Afritech, and CcHUB. 

The 29 start-ups chosen operate in 21 different African countries, delivering digitally-enabled healthcare supply chain solutions. Innovators are building online pharmacies and telemedicine firms, as well as inventory management services for pharmacies, clinics and hospitals, supply chain data analytics, product protection, product visibility and more. 38% of the companies selected are women-led and 17% are conducting operations in Francophone Africa. The selected companies are, in alphabetical order: Afia Group Limited, Aimcare Health, Bena Care, BioCertica, Chari Pharma, CheckUps Medical, Chefaa, Dawa Mkononi, Drugstore Nigeria, Famasi Limited, Field Intelligence, Inc, GICMED, Grinta, Healthtracka, Kapsule, Medical Diagnostech, Medpharma Alliance International Limited, Octosoft Technologies Limited, Pharmarun, Pharmaserv Health Project Nigeria Limited, Reductiona, SASA Health Limited, Tech Care For All Eastern Africa, Technovera - Pelebox Smart Lockers, Tibu Health, UltraTeb, Waspito, WellaHealth, and Welo. 

Innovators selected will benefit from the i3’s annual Access to Markets event in Nairobi, which will be held between 14-15 of November. The event facilitates dynamic partnership dialogues between industry stakeholders, governments, donors, and large multilateral agencies. Connections are made to drive the commercialization and scale of the start-ups through mutually beneficial contracts, pilot projects, and investments. The first cohort of 31 companies supported by i3 last year forged 24 contracts, pilots, and strategic partnerships to date. 

Kieran Daly, Director, Global Health Agencies and Funds at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, commented: “As countries and global health institutions work to expand access to priority products, we face an urgent need to leverage solutions across the public and private sectors to improve health outcomes and strengthen local health systems. Programs like i3 help us understand, support and engage with technology-driven solutions emerging across Africa, hand-in-hand with our partners.”  

Yusuf Rasool, Director, Global Market Access, Sustainable Access Solutions at MSD, noted “We are excited to have a second cohort of 29 innovative changemakers in African healthcare enter the program. Investing in these companies are a means of delivering lifesaving solutions and empowering communities through the access of critical medicines across the continent.”  

Jason Dinger, Senior Vice President of Global Products and Solutions at Cencora “The range of startups selected for the second cohort reflects the breadth of talent and creativity in the  African entrepreneurial landscape, and we look forward to witnessing the transformative impact of their solutions in the years to come.” 

i3 is coordinated by Salient Advisory and SCIDaR and is operationalized by leading technology hubs across the continent: CCHub for West Africa, Startupbootcamp AfriTech for Southern Africa, IMPACT Lab for North and French-speaking Africa, and Villgro Africa for East Africa. 

Investing in Innovation Launches Inaugural Cohort of 31 African Health Supply Chain Startups

The Investing in Innovation (i3) is proud to announce its first cohort of 30 companies.  

The 30 startups have been selected from 14 African countries; nearly 50% of the start-ups are women-led, and 30% of the companies operate in Francophone Africa. Operating in early, and growth-stages, the companies are delivering novel solutions for device and medicines distribution, stock management and financing, authentication, traceability, medical waste management and more – demonstrating that African-built solutions are poised to help transform access to health products in many ways. 

The selected startups are, in alphabetical order: Chekkit Technologies, Disrupt Pharma Tech Africa (Medsaf), DrugStoc Ehub Limited, Erith Health Services, Gricd, LifeBank, Lifestores Healthcare, OneHealth, ClinicPesa, Damu Sasa, The Pathology Network, Negus Med, Signalytic,  Viebeg Technologies, Zuri Health, Xetova, Cure Bionics, DeepEcho, Dr Sett, Infiuss Health Limited, Medevice, Meditect, Sobrus, Valorigo, Azanza Health, Appy Saude, Aviro Health, Contro, VaxiGlobal, Zinacare.

 You can read more about the selected companies here


Dr Abdullahi Sheriff, Associate Vice President of Global Market Access at MSD noted “The innovation represented by the start-ups selected is inspiring. At MSD, we are excited by the opportunity to collaborate with these leading innovators through i3, to help transform health care supply chains and improve access to medicines across Africa.” 

i3 is coordinated by Salient Advisory, SCIDaR, and SouthBridge A&I and is operationalized by leading technology hubs across the continent: CCHub for West Africa, Startupbootcamp Afritech for Southern Africa, IMPACT Lab for North and Francophone Africa, and Villgro Africa for East Africa. These hubs are responsible for the selection process and the follow-up of the startups throughout the program. 

Jason Dinger, SVP, Strategy and Innovation, Amerisource Bergen also commented:  

“Start-ups can play a major role in digitizing supply chains in Africa to help ensure they are resilient, agile, and responsive to the needs of patients. At Amerisource Bergen we are thrilled to support the growth and commercialization of the selected companies, as they work towards impact at scale.”  

Efosa Ojomo, Director, Global Prosperity at the Clayton Christensen Institute, and member of the i3 Steering Committee also commented:   

“i3's focus on African ingenuity is long overdue – supporting locally-led, market creating innovations to scale will equip the continent to achieve health gains, generate prosperity and weather future crises.”  

Prashant Yadav, Senior Fellow, Centre for Global Development, and INSEAD Professor who is Chair of the i3 Steering Committee also commented:   

“The breadth of innovation represented by the cohort of companies selected is confirming that technology-led business model innovations can play an important role in rapidly improving the effectiveness of African health supply chains.”  


Watch the announcement video introducing these incredible innovators here