Investor activitySurveillance Africa

Why We Invested in Ilara Health: Improving Access to Healthcare in Africa

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Ilara Heath is a Kenyan healthtech startup rebuilding Africa’s primary healthcare system. Founded by Emilian Popa and Maximilian Mancini in early 2019, the innovative startup provides tech-powered diagnostic devices to primary healthcare centers (PHCs) in low and middle-income areas across Kenya. Through partnerships with existing clinics, Ilara is making healthcare more accessible and affordable to the 500 million people in Africa who struggle to access specialized care.

IMPACT

According to an article by Stanford Business, access is still the greatest challenge to healthcare delivery in Africa. Fewer than 50% of Africans have access to modern medical care, with the high cost of medical equipment being one of the main reasons most healthcare facilities cannot afford specialized care. For example, over 15,000 clinics in Kenya lack the right medical equipment to offer proper diagnostics tests. This often means patients have to travel long distances to access more specialized care, resulting in added costs or lack of access altogether. According to one of Ilara Health’s partners, Umoja Three Clinic, “We had a huge problem with patient care and diagnostics. We’d send patients away from our facility to get their tests, then [make them] come back to our facility for treatment.”

Instead of selling medical devices to local clinics, which can be quite expensive, Ilara Health leases these essential devices to clinics such as Umoja Three and other PHCs through a PAYGO model, which lowers the overall cost of diagnostics, while giving clinics access to these revenue-generating assets. This empowers doctors to make medical decisions based on reliable data, leading to better, more accessible healthcare services for the communities they serve.

Photo c/o Ilara Health

Ilara Health’s financing model has helped them build sustainable relationships with hundreds of clinics across Kenya. As a result, they are now addressing broader pain points within the healthcare ecosystem — including access and digitization.

Using their innovative financing model to greatly improve existing care infrastructure and increase access to digital health tools, Ilara is helping to build Africa’s ideal outpatient clinic model from the ground up.

Smart Asset Financing with Ilara Health

Ilara Health is addressing a key problem in the African healthcare industry — access to quality healthcare equipment and services. With medical equipment dumping being at an all-time high on the continent and the price to purchase necessary devices being mainly accessible to healthcare providers in high-income areas, Ilara Health is reducing the access barrier for healthcare centers in low and middle-income areas by providing these devices and lab services on a revenue-share basis. Untapped finances Ilara Health’s medical devices up front, allowing them to lease hundreds of them to clinics like Umoja Three across Kenya. As clinics like Umoja Three generate revenue with these assets, so do Ilara Health and Untapped.

Photo c/o Ilara Health

“When we were introduced to Ilara’s leasing model, there were two main things that we found interesting,” say’s Untapped’s Investment Officer, Yvonne Okafor.

  • “The model’s adaptability to different equipment and health centers making it a large market opportunity.”
  • “The increasing demand from health centers (customers) due to the access it provided them, therefore increasing their customer base and revenue.”

With Smart Asset Financing, Ilara Health is breaking barriers by upgrading and consolidating the fragmented primary care space across Africa. “There are over 200,000 primary care centers (PHCs) across the continent providing care to 100M+ patients each month, generating over $10bn in yearly revenues and positioned to grow exponentially over the next decade. Smart Asset Financing will help us reach our goal of 1,200 active clients / PHCs by the end of 2022,” says Emilian Popa, CEO at Ilara Health.

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