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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awards Nigeria’s Medsaf, SA’s Iyeza Health with $10k each


Nigerian startup Medsaf and SA startup Iyeza Health have received $10 000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation after winning the foundation’s Malaria and Vaccine Delivery challenges, respectively.

The prizes were handed out at the sixth Seedstars Summit held last Friday (6 April) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Seedstars is a Swiss organisation that assists tech startups in emerging markets.

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Medsaf is a medication marketplace for Africa’s hospitals and pharmacies, while Iyeza is a logistics startup that delivers chronic medication as well as contraceptives and HIV self-testing kits.

The initiative was announced at the Seedstars Africa Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 13 December and entailed two separate challenges, namely the Vaccine Delivery Challenge and the Malaria Challenge. Applications for both closed on 20 February.

Nigerian startup Medsaf and SA startup Iyeza Health have received $10 000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Iyeza Health co-founder Sizwe Nzima (pictured above, receiving his prize) told Ventureburn today by phone that he plans to use the prize money to develop his startup’s tech platform further.

The development will include building an android version of the platform and improving the integration of the platform’s tracking and monitoring capability

Nzima started the business in 2015 with two bicycles delivering medication to those in Khayelitsha township in Cape Town. About a year or two later Siraaj Adams joined and the two added the tech platform.

The platform, says Nzima has “opened quite a few doors”  as it’s allowed the business to scale to the rest of the country and has also served as a management tool for example by leaving an audit trail of medications delivered.

The startup is still based in Khayelitsha and currently has 12 employees, with six vehicles and four bicycles — which are utilised in Cape Town, with the startup using a courier service to deliver medication in the rest of the country.

The platform has about 30 000 users, with 6000 of these in townships and the remainder in suburbs. Those who use the platform are able to claim the cost of delivery from their medical aid.

Adams told Ventureburn by email that the business has 18 contract clients and has delivered over 590 000 parcels to date. He said the startup has contracts with the private-sector where it delivers medication nationwide and a provincial sub-contract servicing 44 clinics.

Read more: Argentinian edtech Blended crowned 2019 Seedstars Global Winner
Read more: Seedstars announces $100m fund to invest in African tech startups [Updated]
Read more: Here are the 12 finalists who will pitch for up to $500k in the 2019 Seedstars World prize
Read more: Prize of $10k up for grabs for two startups in Seedstars Health Challenge

Featured image: Iyeza Health co-founder Sizwe Nzima receiving the Vaccine Delivery Prize from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the sixth Seedstars Summit held in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday (6 April) (Supplied)

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