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Ilara Health Secures $4.2M Pre-series A to Digitise Fragmented Primary Healthcare in Africa

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Ilara Health, the healthtech company digitising and consolidating  highly fragmented primary care in Kenya, has announced the close of a $4.2M pre-series A round of equity and debt. Led by DOB Equity, the round also sees follow-on equity investment from AAIC INVESTMENT, Angaza Capital, Black Pearl Investments, Perivoli Innovations, as well  as debt investment from Alphamundi and Kiva Capital.

New to the round are Philips Foundation and Boehringer Ingelheim. The new partners are strategic healthcare investors that bring their deep experience working with and investing in companies in the global healthcare industry.

Ilara Health will use the latest capital injection to scale its tech-enabled primary care model across Kenya before expanding to other regions. With this latest funding, the company’s total investment to date reaches $11.7M, encompassing various funding rounds, such as a $3.75M seed round in 2020, along with multiple grants, including two grants totaling $1.6M from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Founded in 2019 by Emilian Popa, Maximilian Mancini and Sameer Afzal Farooqi, Ilara Health launched to deliver affordable and accessible quality healthcare in the peri-urban areas of Kenya.

The company began by addressing the gap in diagnostics impacting primary healthcare centres in the region due to significant disparities in availability and quality testing. Ilara Health’s initial model offered revenue-generating diagnostic assets, which enabled clinics to instantly scale their businesses, whilst also providing flexible repayment plans, and also the training required to test patients.

The company has since expanded to digitising the entire end-to-end operations, leveraging data to enhance its infrastructural business model. This includes helping clinics electronically manage their patient base and becoming their one-stop shop for diagnostic tools, consumables, and pharmaceuticals.

The investment will facilitate Ilara Health’s focus for the next 12 months which is to achieve significant topline growth, keep growing the already large partner clinics network, and incorporate the next phase of growth into its model, which includes the launch of the employee health services through B2B health & occupational services, initially in select locations and later throughout the country.

This is to further strengthen the Ilara Health branded clinics and achieve revenue growth, proving the path to profitability as the operating base remains broadly consistent.

The healthtech company also intends to drive internal efficiencies in operations and embark on a fundraising round of both equity and debt, to support the working capital investments fueling the growth goals.

There will also be a meaningful investment in technology and the proprietary Practice Management Software (PMS) to prove the longer-term data-driven potential of our business model.

Live data from the PMS will enable the start-up to analyse the performance of primary care providers to provide follow-on asset lending and working capital of between $10,000 to $15,000 for: clinic rejuvenations, staff training, provision of diagnostic equipment and a ‘powered by Ilara Health’ co-branding opportunity.

The company presently has 8 clinics covered by these follow-on investments and co-branding, with plans to expand to 50 by the end of the year.

Speaking on the round, Emilian Popa, CEO and Co-founder of Ilara Health says “Ilara Health came about by one common goal; to improve the quality of healthcare for Africans. We passionately believe healthcare should be affordable and accessible to all and I’m therefore proud of the measurable impact we have achieved in such a short space of time.

“There’s still so much more to be done, which is why we are thrilled to be joined by prominent global investors who share our core vision for Kenya and ultimately all of Africa. This fundraise will build on our continued growth and we look forward to driving standardised quality healthcare on the continent.”

Kenya has ~10,000 privately owned primary care facilities and a further ~7,000 that are publicly owned. Ilara Health’s growth momentum has so far seen it partner with over 3,000 of these clinics to deliver better healthcare across 42 Kenyan counties, which in turn serve over 5 million patients each year.

Margot Cooijmans, Director of Philips Foundation Impact Investments said, “Supporting Ilara Health reflects Philips Foundation’s effort to improve healthcare access through innovation, aligning with our goal to make quality healthcare available for all. This investment is a practical step towards bridging the healthcare gap, focusing on solutions that can be implemented in communities that need them the most.”

Bahaa Eddine Sarroukh, Impact Investment Lead at Philips Foundation said, “Ilara Health represents a significant stride forward in healthcare innovation, blending technology and finance in a manner that is both pioneering and profoundly impactful.

“Their approach goes beyond mere access; it’s about empowering the healthcare providers at the grassroots level with the tools and financial models they need to thrive. This blend is not just unique—it’s a critical enabler for expanding quality healthcare to those who need it most, setting a new standard for what’s possible in healthcare delivery across Africa.”

Hayo Afman, Managing Director at DOB Equity said, “Having supported Ilara Health and its founders since the beginning, we are enthusiastic about the progress and the notable improvement of patient outcomes thus far. We look forward to collaborating with our new partners to support the team in redefining the standard of medical care in Africa.”

Christian Bausch, at Boehringer Ingelheim said, “Ilara Health’s plan to decentralise financing for primary care clinics captured our hearts. We value companies and entrepreneurs that create innovative solutions that push the envelope and are proud to support Ilara Health as they address an unmet demand of clinics in Kenya and Sub Saharan Africa.”

Hiroki Ishida, Director at AAIC Partners Africa said, “Primary care represents one of the most challenging areas for business model development. Nevertheless, it serves as the foundation of the healthcare sector. As a healthcare-focused fund in Africa, I have confidence in the team’s capabilities, and I anticipate their role as innovators on this continent.”

Ilara Health intends to use its innovative tech infrastructure to bridge the estimated $66 billion financing gap and outdated processes affecting healthcare delivery across the African continent as a whole.


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E-Business

FG Unveils Roadmap for Africa’s Digital Trade Revolution Under AfCFTA

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The Federal Government on Friday unveiled a comprehensive strategy to lead Africa’s digital trade revolution within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The strategy is part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to harness trade as a catalyst for economic growth and continental cohesion in line with AfCFTA objectives.

To this effect, Vice President Kashim Shettima said Nigeria is in a unique position to spearhead the continent’s technological transformation.

He made the observation while delivering the keynote address during a Stakeholders Summit with the theme, “Digital Trade in Africa: The Renewed Hope Strategy,” held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We are in a vantage position because we are the continent’s largest ICT hub, and as such, we must lead the way to the future of this peculiar wave of the Industrial Revolution.

“Our collaboration must prioritize comparisons of our policy initiatives to those of developed economies and fine-tune them to sustain our place and fast-track our growth,” the Vice President stated.

Senator Shettima outlined key components of the roadmap to include implementation of AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol and the development of expansive technical talent hubs.

The plan, according to him, also focuses “on enhancing digital infrastructure investments, promoting disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship, and ensuring the alignment of multiple government agencies to support digital trade initiatives.”

The VP stressed the need for strong synergy between the public and private sectors in implementing the AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol, just as he assured that the federal government remains committed to investing in digital infrastructure and human capital development to drive the process.

He continued: “Our collaboration must prioritize comparisons of our policy initiatives to those of developed economies and fine-tune them to sustain our place and fast-track our growth. For a sector upon which all others rely to survive, digital technologies hold the nation together, and we cannot afford to slow down.

“Our programmes, from the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) to the ongoing intervention to train 3 million technical talents by the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, to the Outsource to Nigeria Initiative (OTNI), are lifelines in our digital economy.

“They offer us an avenue to not only maximize our potential but also commit to the adoption of the Digital Trade Protocol within AfCFTA,” VP Shettima further explained.

Earlier in his remarks, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijjani, said the Tinubu administration is investing significantly in every aspect of the digital trade protocol, with a view to harnessing opportunities in the country and continent at large.

He explained that through innovative policies and programmes such as the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme, data protection policy and improved investments in digital infrastructure, the administration is equipping the country’s young population for the opportunities of the present and future.

Underscoring the significance of technology in trading across the continent, Dr Tijjani said opportunities that exist within the single market area are unprecedented and could best be harnessed through effective collaboration and networking facilitated by digital technology.

In his welcome address, the Special Assistant to the President on ICT Policy, Dr. Salihu Dasuki Nakande, thanked President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima for their commitment and dedication to the Renewed Hope Agenda, which he said has laid a solid foundation for the digital transformation journey in the country.

He said their continuous support has led to the discourse on digital transformation which will equally lead to a prosperous Nigeria.

Quoting the Vice President in his address at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, Dr. Nakande said, “Looking ahead, there is a need for speed and cohesion among African countries, the idea of AfCFTA must be revived and there is no hope in keeping waiting in this world, we must act swiftly and together ensure that the AfCFTA succeeds.


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Cybersecurity Firm Uncovers Scams Targeting Olympic Games Fans

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The first in-person Summer Olympics since the lifting of pandemic restrictions is set to begin on July 26, attracting millions of sports enthusiasts.

Kaspersky experts have noted a surge in scamming activity surrounding the event, with fraudsters targeting users’ money and data.

To understand how scammers are exploiting viewers’ interest, Kaspersky experts analysed Olympic-related phishing websites and identified the main schemes currently in use.

Fake Tickets

With the Olympic Committee warning of fake ticket offers and news of a UK swimmer’s family being scammed out of £2,500 while attempting to purchase tickets for the Paris Olympics, Kaspersky’s telemetry confirms that fraudsters are actively crafting phishing websites.

These sites offer tickets for Olympic competitions at exclusive prices or claim to have seats for sold-out events. This well-tested yet effective fraudulent scheme has resurfaced during many Olympic seasons, and Kaspersky’s experts expect such websites to proliferate during Paris 2024 events.

In this scenario, users fill out a data form and transfer both their personal information and money to scammers. As a result, they may receive invalid tickets or, more likely, nothing at all, leading to financial loss and their data being sold on Dark Web forums.

Fake Corporate Giveaways

Many organisations host giveaways for their employees, partners, and customers during major events. Recently, Kaspersky experts uncovered a fraudulent page impersonating a French bank, falsely promising a chance to win event tickets.

Employees are enticed to fill out a form with personal details, including their Internet account login credentials and passwords. This allows fraudsters to infiltrate victims’ corporate resources and potentially spread malicious content further.

Fake Merch Stores

Kaspersky experts have also discovered fraudulent online stores selling merchandise such as shirts, uniforms, accessories, and more. Needless to say, those who were enticed by these offers never received the items they ordered.

Special Cell Phone Plans

Fraudsters have set up phishing websites offering a free 48 GB data package for all networks. These sites entice users to provide personal information, such as phone numbers and payment details, under the guise of activating the data package.

Once submitted, this information is harvested for malicious purposes, leading to potential financial loss and privacy breaches.

“During major events like the Olympics, the sheer volume of offers can be overwhelming and deceptive,” says Anton Yatsenko, security expert at Kaspersky. “Scammers prey on the excitement and urgency people feel, making it crucial to approach every offer with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take the time to verify the authenticity of offers and protect your personal information. Your vigilance can be the difference between enjoying the event and falling victim to a scam.”


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Nigeria inflation rate hits 34.19%

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Nigeria’s annual inflation rate increased for the fifth consecutive month to 34.19 per cent as Nigerians battle with high living crisis.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), released on Monday, the June figure is 0.24 per cent higher than the 33.95 per cent recorded in May. The lowest figure in 2024 was 29.90 per cent, recorded in January.

On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.40 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023, which was 22.79 per cent.

“This shows that the headline inflation rate (year-on-year basis) increased in the month of June 2024 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (i.e. June 2023),” the NBS said.

NBS said on a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in June 2024 was 2.31 per cent, which was 0.17 per cent higher than the rate recorded in May 2024 (2.14 per cent) meaning that in the month of June 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is higher than the rate of increase in the average price level in May 2024.

According to the NBS, the food inflation rate in June 2024 rose 40.87 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.62 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023 (25.25 per cent).


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