RMI’s AlphaCode takes 25.1% stake in healthtech Guidepost

Supplied: Guidepost Founders L-R Graham Rowe, Richard Johnson, Prof. David Segal

Rand Merchant Investments (RMI), through its fintech investment arm, AlphaCode, announced today that it had taken a 25.1% stake in SA healthtech platform Guidepost.

RMI senior investment executive Dominique Collett declined to reveal the value of the investment, pointing out that RMI typically doesn’t do so in the investments it makes. However, she was able to confirm that it was over R10-million.

Guidepost’s platform enables highly personalised, data-driven diabetes management at scale. The timing of this investment is marked by World Diabetes day, tomorrow (14 November).

With the use of coaches that utilise voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phones and biometric data updated by users, the platform helps guide diabetes sufferers with information such as when to take medication, what diet to follow, the kind of medication to take and helps them cope with the psychological effects of the illness.

The platform is run by Sancreed, a company founded in 2012 by Graham Rowe and Richard Johnson (pictured above left and centre, respectively). David Segal (pictured above, right) joined as chief medical officer and a co-founder a few months thereafter.

Guidepost’s platform enables highly personalised, data-driven diabetes management at scale

In an earlier statement today, Guidepost said it would use the funding to recruit key executives, further develop Guidepost’s differentiated clinical technology and scale the business locally and globally with insurance partners.

Guidepost claims it can achieve radical clinical improvements in just four to six months of working with patients and their data.

It says it has achieved significant clinical, customer and business model milestones during its six years of operation with a 45% reduction in diabetes complications risk proven across more than 8000 patients (the platform’s current user base).

Guidepost allows insurers to significantly better manage their diabetes risk. People with diabetes are extremely expensive for both medical and life insurance companies when not well managed and Guidepost helps solve this business problem while supporting patients to achieve substantially better health.

Already working with Outsurance

In the same statement, Guidepost CEO and co-founder Graham Rowe said the company is “delighted” to partner with AlphaCode and RMI.

“We already work with life insurers such as Outsurance (a Rand Merchant Bank company), innovative medical schemes such as CAMAF and pharmaceutical businesses such as Novo Nordisk.

“The heart of our business is a network of caring diabetes coaches empowered by our technology. We look forward to supporting our coaches and patients even better with RMI’s involvement,” he said.

RMI believes that Guidepost’s growth will come from applying its healthtech capabilities to the insurance industry.

Collett added in the same statement that Guidepost has already started programmes at insurers where the company is underwriting diabetic lives and managing these patients on the programme in collaboration with Swiss Re.

“There is also the opportunity for the skilled leadership team to roll out this methodology for other diseases and chronic conditions,” she added.

Rowe and Johnson were selected in 2017 as Endeavor entrepreneurs (see this story). At the time the company said two years after its launch the platform had over 5000 registered users (which has since grown to 8000 users).

To date, AlphaCode has invested in Prodigy Finance (2017), Entersekt (2017), Merchant Capital (2015) and Luno (2017).

Read more: 7 South African healthtech startups to watch in 2018 [Digital All Stars]
Read more: Joburg health platform Guidepost one of 20 new companies Endeavor to boost

*Correction: We initially had it that Guidepost co-founder David Segal joined the company recently and that the company was founded in 2013 — when in fact it was founded in 2012.

Guidepost co-founder and CEO Graham Rowe confirmed to Ventureburn subsequent to the publication of this story that Segal joined “in 2012 a few months after founding”.

“He has not been full time but has been a critical founding member,” Rowe added.

Featured image (from left to right): Guidepost founders Graham Rowe, Richard Johnson and David Segal (Supplied)



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