What we've learnt - i3 startups are enhancing health product availability for 2M+ customers in Africa

Since we launched in June 2022, the Investing in Innovation (i3) program has worked tirelessly to deliver targeted Access to Markets and Investment Readiness support to catalyze growth-driven partnerships with donors, industry and African institutions for the selected 31 leading, African healthcare supply chain start-ups.  

We are testing a new model, and continuously learning. Here is what we have learnt so far[1]

Demand for digitally enabled distribution of health products is growing

The 31 i3 startups operate in 26 African countries.

Though many are still small businesses, collectively they distribute to 20K+ pharmacies, clinics and hospitals and to 2.4M+ patients directly.

Geographically, i3 start-ups are most concentrated in 3 of the big 4 countries (Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa), however ~50% of the cohort have expanded operations geographically in the last 6 months, with Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana being some of the favorite destinations.

Industry, donors and government partners are excited at the potential of healthcare supply chain startups

I3’s inaugural Access to Markets Event in December, facilitated 200+ partnership-focused meetings with 50+ institutional partners across industry, donors and government. The event was invite-only, but we heard from companies and partners alike, that access for additional actors would be welcome.

Within the last 6 months, 35% of the cohort have secured partnerships and pilot projects.[2]

Startups have raised additional funding and created jobs on the continent

In addition to the $1.5m+ grant funding provided by i3 to the cohort, 39% of the i3 cohort have raised over $5.4m in additional funding[3] within the last 3 months, indicating growing interest from investors, donors and partners in the solutions provided by these supply chain startups. A further 83% of the cohort plan to raise funds in the next 3 months, and i3 will provide these innovators with tailored investment readiness support and facilitate introductions between startups and potential investors.

Similarly, as these startups have grown their impact and scale, they have created 120+ new jobs (c.40% of new positions filled by women) across all levels of their operations, recruiting majorly health workers and engineering staff, in the past 6 months.  

Stay tuned as our understanding develops and spread the word! Share this with African health-tech innovators, donors, investors and enthusiasts within your network.

[1]  Report is based on self-reported information from i3 startups

[2] Note: not all the partnerships secured by the selected startups were facilitated by the i3 program

[3] I3 startups have raised c.US$5M+ in the last 3 months