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Diagnostics firm gets Sh75.8m funding

African tech startups raised over Sh100 billion
African tech startups raised over Sh100 billion equity funding in 2018. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nairobi-based healthcare diagnostics company Ilara Health has raised Sh75.8 million in seed funding from local and foreign venture capital firms for local expansion.

Founded last year, Ilara Health says it sources tech-powered diagnostic equipment at “affordable prices” for use to identify diseases by medical clinics.

Doctors under its model pay a deposit to use the equipment and then pay off the remaining cost in installments determined by usage.

It said the new funding will help it grow its medical clinic customers in Kenya.

“This round of investment will be used primarily to grow Ilara Health’s peri-urban medical clinic customers in Kenya, and ultimately beyond,” said the firm in a statement.

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“It will also allow the company to build a flexible technology platform to manage and protect valuable patient health and clinic financial data.”

Nairobi-based Shaka VC, Chandaria Capital, the venture capital arm Chandaria Industries, Villgro Kenya as well as some angel investors backed the capital raise.

The angel investors that participated in the round include Esther Dyson, Nijhad Jamal, Aadil Mamujee, Selma Ribica and Shakir Merali.

The startup had earlier obtained a Sh2.5 million grant from the impact investment arm of the US Columbia Business School.

Its founders include Emilian Popa, a former managing director at venture capital firm Rocket Internet, Amaan Banwait - former general manager of UK diagnostics start-up Werlabs, Hannes Eckmayr - former sales executive of Kenyan off-grid solar company Pawame, and Dr Matiko Riro - a Kenyan doctor who is a former consultant to the World Bank and Lancet Labs.

A report by Partech Africa found that African tech startups raised over Sh100 billion equity funding in 2018, with Kenyan firms taking up the highest percentage of the pie.

Companies such as Twiga, Cellulant, Mobius and Tala were among those that benefitted from Sh35 billion funding last year.

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