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Sanofi announces the 10 African startups set to pitch at VivaTech

Global biopharmaceutical firm and Viva Technology partner Sanofi has announced the 10 African startups selected as finalists in its Sanofi Afric@Tech initiative.

The finalists are set to pitch their health innovations before a panel later this month at startup conference VivaTech which will be held in Paris next week — between 24 and 26 May.

It will be the first time at the startup conference that a track dedicated to African innovation will be run.

Selected projects will be offered the opportunity to benefit from financial support and from a coaching and mentoring programme by Sanofi, in order to prepare an eventual collaboration with one of the company’s departments in Africa.

Sanofi’s Afric@Tech initiative, which launched in February, saw the firm set three challenges aimed at revolutionising healthcare practices in Africa.

The first focused on solutions that diagnose non-communicable diseases. The second challenge focused on telemedicine solutions with mobile payment integration, while the third centered around multi-device and multi-channel solutions that could both educate and inform health professionals on non-communicable diseases.

Two of the finalists — Vula Mobile, and Appenberg Digital Publishing — from South Africa, the ten startups were selected from an applicant pool of over 180 startups

The 10 finalists were selected from an applicant pool of over 180 startups. The 10 were selected based on five criteria, namely: a concrete proof of positive results in at least one African country, the maturity of the project, the relevance of the solution, the potential of the market and of the business model, skills, expertise and experience of the team, and finally, the scientific feasiblility.

The 10 startups selected are:

Appenberg Digital Publishing (South Africa): Launched in 2014, Appenberg’s Cape Town-based team — which includes clinical consultant Dr Rory Leisegang, Moegamat Johnson, Ryan Johnson, and Andrew Browne — aims to upscale education, foster and provide remote access to healthcare resources through digital technology.

The startup’s primary focus is to support the establishment of digital resources which are region-specific, as well as provide a centre of excellence for healthcare and digital education training.

Appenberg collaborates with numerous universities and key stakeholders in the Western Cape, and has already created and fostered various digital resources including mobile apps, elearning platforms, and websites that have facilitated learning.

Vula Mobile (South Africa): Multiple award winning medical referral startup founded in 2014 by Dr William Mapham which recently raised R1-million and is looking to raise $500 000 more to help assist a minimum of 100 000 patients this year.

Bisa (Ghana): This mobile app — which has been downloaded over 16 000 times — enables users to to directly interact with medical practitioners without being physically present at the hospital. The startup was founded by Raindolf Owusu and Dr Dennis Addo.

Gifted Mom (Cameroon): Founded in by Alain Nteff and Conrad Dangu, this multiple award winning medtech platform tackles infant and maternal mortality through information sent to users via SMS or a smartphone app. The startup won the 2017 Seedstars Douala pitch event and last month represented Cameroon at the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland.

Informed Healthcare (Egypt): Digital medical service provider founded by Egyptian-Canadian entrepreneur and medical doctor Amir Kalila in 2014.

KEA Medicals (Benin): Founded last year by Dr Arielle Ahouansou, KEA Medicals has developed a platform which uses a QR-code-embedded medical identification card to trace users medical history.

MedTrucks (Morocco): Also founded last year by Asmae El Hilal and Anass El Hilal, MedTrucks is addressing the issue of lack of medical care in remote areas through its mobile hospitals.

Otrac (Nigeria): Elearning platform for health workers founded in 2016 by CEO Farida Kabir.

Sagitarix (Kenya): Founded in 2016 by CEO Moka Lantum, this healthtech startup has developed a mobile health information exchange called iSikCure which enables users to enables access quality medicines at the most affordable rates by integrating with digital prescriptions from providers.

Yapili (Pan Africa): A free peer-to-peer medical advice platform that matches users to licensed doctors. The startup was founded in 2014 by CEO Enya Seguin, CHO Sherzel Smith, CTO Igne Degutye and COO Fred Nnaji.


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