Sarah Wig writes articles for Investocracy News, a news and media platform focusing on startup news from Africa and Asia

Healthtech, also known as digital health, is the use of technology like applications, mobiles, wearables, databases to improve the delivery and consumption of healthcare. Additionally, it increases the development and commercialization of medicinal products.

The promise of technology to innovate comes at a crucial time when healthcare needs to respond to the growing demand of resources due to COVID-19. As an industry, healthtech is in an enviable position because its financial and consumer backing portrays strong and continuous growth over the coming years. The digital health revolution is in a strong position to not only create solutions, but also deliver them effectively.

Even though the sector is still young, and will require the regulatory environment in particular needs to evolve alongside digital health in order for them both to benefit the society, it shows tremendous potential.


The rise of healthtech in Africa

The number of African healthtech startups operating across the continent has hit an all-time high at 180 active companies. Investment into the sectors continues to snowball, reaching record levels in the first half of 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report by Disrupt Africa, the number of startups active in the healthtech on the continent has grown by 56.5% over the last three years. Moreover, this enthusiasm for healthtech startups is echoed by investors. In 2020, African healthtech startups have raised over US$ 90M. Consequently, more than half of all funding to have gone into healthtech in the past five years was transacted in the first half of 2020.

Historically, the African healthcare system has been extremely underfunded and has led to Africa facing a series of outbreaks of infectious diseases like malaria, cholera, HIV, etc. However, due to the recent tech boom in Africa, healthtech startups are actually changing the face of the healthcare system in Africa. The goal of these digital startups is to provide efficient healthcare services more accessible.

Even though the COVID-19 global pandemic has put a hold on the economy, there is a blessing in disguise when it comes to the healthtech sector. The demand for the products and services offered by healthtech startups in Africa has rapidly increased leading to the rise of these digital platforms.

The following are the top HealthTech startups in Africa according to our in house VC research team at Investocracy.

hearX Group

hearX Group Healthtech
hearX Group

hearX Group provides consumers with clinical smartphone hearing test solutions. HearScreen, one of the startup’s services, provides clinically-validated and mobile hearing screening. Used at primary healthcare facilities and schools, the app identifies individuals that may have hearing loss or maybe be hard-of-hearing and refers them for further diagnostic tests. Additionally, HearTesta provides clinically-validated and mobile diagnostic hearing testing. mHealth Studio platform can integrate the apps and be used to store data and get a comprehensive patient overview across multiple applications. Furthermore, it also provides rapid self-test hearing screening devices for the patient. All of the startup’s products are FDA, CE and ISO certified.

Founded: In 2015 by De Wet Swanepoel and Herman Myburgh

Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Funding: US$ 5M

Investors: HAVAIC 

hearX Group's logo Healthtech
hearX Group’s logo

Guidepost Care

Guidepost Care
Guidepost Care’s team

Guidepost Care platform enables caregivers to work together with patients and manage their chronic conditions. Using the Guidepost platform, their carers can track and monitor patients in their portfolio. The platform integrates data feeds from different sources and compiles a complete view of the patient’s data. Based on nearly real-time data, the platform determines the best next steps for the patient’s care. Using the patient-provided data combined with lab test results and doctor’s feedback, the carers can provide telephonic coaching, education and advice on dose titration for the patient’s medication. This form of coaching allows patients to understand their own condition, determine the changes they might need to make in their lives and take action to achieve their health goals.

Founded: In 2003 by Graham Rowe, Richard Johnson and David Segal

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Funding: US$ 10M

Investors: AlphaCode 

3×4 Genetics

3x4 Genetics's team Healthtech
3×4 Genetics’s team

3×4 Genetics provides DNA genetic tests that determine how to manage health with DNA testing. The startup’s home-based diagnostic kit can test the genetic biomarkers from the sample. Providing convenience and accessibility, the app quickly scans the QR code of the test and obtains the test results. The report provides data on the identified gene pathways and health analytics which can then be shared with the health care provider of the patient.

Founded: In 2018 by Jared Kahn and Jason Haddock

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Funding: US$ 3M

Investors: Alethea Capital Management, HAVAIC

3x4 Genetics's logo Healthtech
3×4 Genetics’s logo

Syncrophi Systems

Syncrophi Systems's team Healthtech
Syncrophi Systems’s team

Syncrophi Systems offers advanced wireless patient monitoring systems which help health providers attain front-line patient care. Its services include KEWS 100, KEWS 200, and KEWS 300. KEWS 100 is small and lightweight sensor modules worn in a disposable pouch which provides the patient freedom to move and enables the staff to continuously monitor body vitals. KEWS 200 is a wireless ambulatory patient vital-signs that monitors with paperless observation records and instant patient review at the point of care. KEWS 300 is a CE-marked software suite that supports paperless patient observation rounds and clinical reviews at the point-of-care. It basically provides real-time updates of patient records and instant recall of patient history when combined with KEWSpod.

Founded: In 2007 by Gerry Lyons and David Toohey

Location: Parkmore, South Africa

Funding: US$ 1M

Investors: AIB Seed Capital Fund, Enterprise Equity, Western Development Commission

Vitls Inc

Vitls Inc's team Healthtech
Vitls Inc’s team

Vitls Inc has developed a wearable device for monitoring breathing rate and temperature for children up to age of 4 years. Their consumer facing product is known as Vitls Home and the product meant for use by hospitals is called Vitls Health. When temperature or breathing rate of the child changes abnormally, the device rises an alarm. Vitls device can be applied to patients as they arrive in the ED and start treatment for the most urgent cases. Successful implementation of Vitls’ platform has brought about immediate improvements to the way care is provided in the ED.

Founded: In 2015 by Werner Vorster

Location: Durban, South Africa

Funding: US$ 1M

Investors: Dreamit


LocumBase startup

LocumBase gives access to a platform for doctors to search for locum jobs. The online platform assists doctors in their search for desired replacement. It takes into account temporary requirements, and books according to the needs. It connects locums in an area to the hospitals. LocumBase challenges the status quo, and creates the supportive ecosystem that empowers every medical professional and establishment in South Africa and beyond to do what they love with freedom and flexibility, growing their business and ultimately raising the standards of primary health care.

Founded: In 2016 by Zulé Vuuren

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Funding: US$ 200K

Investors: Justin Clarke, Michael Jordaan, Montegray Capital

Ingress Healthcare

Ingress Healthcare is a digital platform that offers the ability to patients to book doctor appointments online. It allows users to search for doctors based on their requirements and book an appointment with them. Users can book services for paediatricians, ENTs, dermatologists, psychiatrists and physiotherapists, dermatologists, and many more.

Founded: In 2019 by Jason McArthur, Noxolo Gqada and Nicolina Bardou

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Funding: US$ 706K

Investors: Pegasus, Enso Equity

Ingress Healthcare's logo
Ingress Healthcare’s logo


RecoMed also provides patients with an online doctor appointment booking platform. It enables patients to search for doctors by medical specialty, location. It provides information for each doctor including their qualifications, accepted insurance, languages spoken, among other features.

Founded: In 2013 by Sheraan Amod and Eugen Petersen

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Funding: US$ 324K

Investors: Springlab, HAVAIC


5nines Technologies

5nines Technologies
5nines Technologies

5nines Technologies develops software for lab information management and provides a  solution for compliance with temperature monitoring rules. PharmaScout, a software developed by the start-up, is a wireless solution which enables in removing the GPP rules relating to temperature monitoring, temperature mapping and calibration of equipment. It is used for monitoring temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products.

Founded: In 2014 by Doug Siepman

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Investors: Knife Capital, Andrei Baronov and Insight Partners

5nines Technologies's logo
5nines Technologies’s logo

Vula Mobile

Vula Mobile is a mobile app that connects general healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses and healthcare workers with eye specialists. The app provides healthcare workers with information, eye test, pupil check, and allows them to capture patient information like photographs. Additionally, healthcare workers can connect with specialists through the chat function. According to the company, the customer paying for the license would normally be the public sector like the local, provincial and national departments of health, however, sometimes it could also include large NGOs, and private sector companies.

Founded: In 2012 by Dr William Mapham

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Funding: US$ 173K

Investors: AngelHub Ventures, HAVAIC, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Vula Mobile
Vula Mobile

Investocracy, a company focused on connecting startups from emerging markets with Japanese investors, produced this article. 

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