Healthtech startup Vula Mobile raises R1m after partnering with HAVAÍC

Medical referral startup Vula Mobile has raised R1-million in a seed round after partnering with Cape Town-based investment and advisory firm HAVAÍC.

Vula, which was founded in 2014 by Dr William Mapham, enables health workers — particularly those in undeserved remote rural areas — to get patients quick and specialist referrals in opthalmology, cardiology and orthopedics.

The R1-million seed round with HAVAÍC — which was conducted over three weeks — was concluded in January and saw Vula’s partners, users, stakeholders as well as HAVAÍC partners each invest a minimum of R5000 each.

Vula enables health workers – particularly in remote areas – to get patients quick and specialist referrals

Speaking to Ventureburn last month, Vula Mobile founder Dr William Mapham said the startup set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in November last year and offered up 2000 units at R5000 each to health-care workers who also use Vula Mobile’s app. The SPV has a 10% stake in the startup.

In a phone call this week with Ventureburn, HAVAÍC partner Grant Rock said the seed round is a “lesson in very successful crowdfunding”.

He said although HAVAÍC partners had participated in the round “as a show of faith”, the majority of the investments had come from Vula’s “strong user base”.

“As a start-up we didn’t have the skills to raise capital on our own. The HAVAÍC team’s combined experience in finance, legal and equity sales made the innovative seed round possible,” Mapham said in a statement today (10 April).

The seed round was a culmination of four months of advisory work with HAVAÍC, which saw the firm assist the pre-revenue startup on its business strategy and with its revenue streams.

Rock will also be joining Vula as a non-executive board member.

HAVAÍC partner Rob Heath said in the same statement to Ventureburn that he had been impressed with company’s traction, quality of product and the international recognition it had received.

“There is a lot of underlying value that we are looking to maximise, and we were very excited to participate in Vula’s further success,” said Heath.

The startup is the recipient of MTN’s Most Innovative App Award. In addition, Vula Mobile was shortlisted as one of the 20 finalists of Amazon’s City on a Cloud Awards.

Exponential growth after seed round

The capital raised through the seed round has enabled Vula’s team to work full time, focus on growth and fund technical development — all this has led to exponential growth in the number of users using Vula’s platform.


vulaa-aGrowth in referrals between Q1 2016 to Q1 2018 (Supplied)

Vula non-executive chair Dr Lungi Nyathi — who is also an executive director at Medscheme — said in the same statement that Vula’s primary goal will remain the provision of efficient specialist healthcare access to South Africa’s rural population, and potentially those of other countries.

Daniel Mpala


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