African e-health startups multiply but only 44% are mobile based

African e-health startups multiply but only 44% are mobile based

The number of African e-health startups is accelerating continent-wide, but contrary to popular assumptions the majority of these ventures do not leverage mobile phones.

According to the High Tech Health: Exploring the African E-health Startup Ecosystem Report 2017, released by Disrupt Africa, 115 e-health startups are currently operating in 20 countries across Africa.

The number of startups launching annually continent-wide has risen over the past three years; and investors are also beginning to pay more attention – the number of startups raising funding to grow their businesses is increasing each year. To date, Africa’s e-health startups combined have raised investment in excess of US$19 million. Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are the top three hotspots in terms of e-health startups based in the countries.

However, contrary to Africa’s global reputation as a “mobile-first” continent, the majority of e-health startups tracked in the new report do not use mobile to reach their customers. Only 44 per cent of the e-health ventures counted are mobile-based.

Speaking with, Gabriella Mulligan co-founder of Disrupt Africa.shared some interesting regional variations around the delivery of services. “The majority of East African e-health startups use mobile, for example 64% of Kenyan startups use mobile. However this is in contrast to SA were the number is 38% and Nigeria with only 25% of e-startups using mobile. Maternal health; and emergency response, are the two most mobile-based sub-categories of e-health.”

“Africa’s health sector faces enormous challenges. The need – and opportunity – for the continent’s innovative entrepreneurs to make a real impact in delivering quality healthcare to all has never been greater. And in researching this report, we have seen clearly that Africa’s entrepreneurs are not shirking this duty – the levels of innovation and commitment to improving health outcomes is extraordinary. We’re very pleased to be able to share our findings on this exciting sector today,” add Mulligan.

“This is a timely piece of research, as more and more e-health ventures enter the market and investors take note. We all know that digital health startups are playing a pivotal role in increasing access to quality healthcare across Africa, but for the first time this report gives an oversight of what is happening, where, and the form innovation is taking in the health space,” said Tom Jackson, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.

The report analyses eight key sub-sectors of the e-health space across a variety of African tech ecosystems, as well as funding trends; and the details of health-focused accelerators and competitions for startups. The full list of 115 African e-health startups is also being made available.

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