March 8, 2024

The Rise of Women-led Startups in African Healthtech

By Maisha Meds

Women-led startups drove a major surge in funding in the African healthtech space — from $2 million in 2022 to $52 million in 2023, according to a report by consulting firm Salient Advisory.

“The increase in funding for women-led healthtech in Africa in 2023 marks the beginning of a success story — the likes of which are very rare globally,” the report said. 

This jump of over 2,000% was driven by Maisha Meds, Kasha, Dawi Clinics, and Chefaa. Maisha Meds’ 2023 funding was driven by a $5.25-million Stage 3 award from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), which was announced in October.

“The increased funding for women founders is a high point and, in coming years, investors must prioritize sustaining strategies that ensure equitable funding across founders,” Yomi Kazeem, engagement manager at Salient Advisory, told Bloomberg.

When it comes to Maisha Meds, founder and CEO Dr. Jessica Vernon credits this success to a number of factors including strong partnerships, dedicated advisors and teammates, and an innovative, differentiated business focused on the last mile, she told TechCabal.

“We’re solving real problems with a business model that’s different from a lot of others out there,” Vernon said.

“We’ve developed long-lasting relationships with global health funders, governments, and researchers to ensure we’re making the right impact with the right investments,” she said. “We’re bringing collaborators together, not going at it alone.”