Ilara Health in Kenya receives $4.2 million in support to expand its clinical support services

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Ilara Health, a Kenya-based health technology that gives private clinics access to diagnostic devices and pharmaceuticals, secured $4.2 million in equity in a pre-Series A round The funds will be used to expand operations in the East African country and deepen access to healthcare for as many people as possible through the rollout of a B2B health and work service that will enable workers uninsured to access care in its network of partner clinics for a fixed monthly amount. costs.

The $2.5 million funding round was led by DOB Equity, with participation from the Philips Foundation and existing investors including AAIC Investment, Angaza Capital, Black Pearl Investments and Perivoli Innovations. Debt investments came from Alphamundi, Kiva Capital and Boehringer Ingelheim. The new round brings the startup’s total debt, equity and grants secured to $11.7 million.

Ilara Health began by leasing diagnostic devices to clinics in 2019, but has since evolved to allow health centers to acquire pharmaceuticals and other items like hospital furniture on credit. Émilien Popaco-founder and CEO of Ilara, told TechCrunch that this strategic move has enabled private healthcare operators to run well-equipped clinics, capable of providing quality primary healthcare to patients.

“In Kenya, quality of care, not access, is the problem, and our focus since launch has been to improve standards of care; these clinics could not provide certain services due to lack of diagnostic devices or perform small procedures due to lack of furniture. This is how over time we became a supplier or financier for all clinic needs,” said Popa, co-founder of Ilara with Maximilian Mancini (co-CEO) and Samir Afzal Farooq (COO).

Ilara Health taps into the private healthcare sector in Kenya, which has become the preferred alternative for those with health coverage or those who can afford to pay out of pocket. This runs counter to government-run facilities that continue to suffer from underinvestment. The country’s current leaders hope to improve their health care offerings with new health financing program that promises change the way public health care is accessed and delivered. However, it may be some time before sufficient and well-equipped facilities are in place to cope with the growing demand.

Popa said Ilara serves 3,000 clinics across Kenya, out of the 15,000 he estimates are operational in the country. These clinics are often set up in residential areas, making them easily accessible and a better, but expensive, alternative to public facilities, where occasional equipment failures paralyze service delivery and immediate care is never guaranteed .

To equip clinics, the startup has partnered with various manufacturers, including US-based Butterfly Network, to provide devices like the low-cost portable ultrasound machine, which Popa says helps bring scanning services within reach of the target clientele.

The startup also equips clinics with practice management software by monthly subscription (KSh.1000 [$6.25 per today’s exchange rate]), to digitize their operations and improve the management of their businesses.

“They can view their assessment, record patient data and have a view of a patient’s journey. They can also report to the Ministry of Health with the press of a button. The software also gives us a view from inside the clinic,” he said, adding that they use the data for credit scoring to support loan projects of $10,000 to $15,000.

In the next phase of Ilara Health’s growth, they plan to increase their efforts to reach patients through B2B health and work service, through which they will partner with employers to give employees access to various outpatient services in partner clinics.

“We live in a place where only 2.7% of Kenyans are privately insured and even NHIF (state-run health insurance) does not adequately cover outpatient care. We have built a provider model and now we are reaching patients to close the cycle,” said Popa, co-founder of Ilara Health after working for years in management consulting and then in the technology and healthcare ecosystem. startups in Africa. Before launching Ilara Health, Popa worked as an investor at DiGamea now fully invested fund focused on Africa and a subsidiary of UK private equity firm Zouk Capital.

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