Helium Health, the African healthtech startup, raised $30 million in Series B funding. The company offers software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools, financing, and insights for healthcare providers and public health organizations. The investment round was led by AXA IM Alts, with participation from 23andMe co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki, and other new and existing investors. This article delves into the details of the funding round and Helium Health’s plans for the future.
Overview of Helium Health
Founded by Adegoke Olubusi, Dimeji Sofowora, and Tito Ovia, Helium Health is a Lagos-based healthtech startup that aims to digitize healthcare operations and electronic medical records (EMR) for healthcare providers across Africa.
The company offers SaaS tools, financing, and insights to help healthcare facilities improve their services and overcome the financing deficits they face. With a mission to bridge the healthcare financing gap in Africa, Helium Health has been making significant progress since its inception.
Previous Funding Rounds and Acquisitions
The recent Series B funding comes three years after Helium Health secured a $10 million Series A investment. Additionally, 18 months ago, the company made headlines with a rare Africa-GCC deal involving UAE-based healthcare provider-patient interaction platform Meddy. This acquisition enabled Helium Health to expand its offerings and reach, further solidifying its presence in the African healthcare sector.
Helium Health’s Key Products
Helium Health offers a suite of products aimed at addressing various healthcare challenges in Africa. These include:
HeliumDoc is the result of the merger between Meddy’s telemedicine capabilities and Helium Health’s revenue cycle management service. The product is currently in use in Nigeria, with plans for East African expansion in the pipeline.
HeliumOS is Helium Health’s core product, which digitizes EMR and hospital management solutions across Africa. The company plans to roll out HeliumOS in the GCC region soon.
HeliumCredit is the company’s fintech offering that focuses on providing financing solutions to healthcare facilities. The recent Series B funding will be directed primarily towards expanding HeliumCredit’s reach and increasing its lending portfolio.
Addressing the Healthcare Financing Deficit in Africa
One of the most significant challenges facing the African healthcare sector is the financing deficit, estimated at $66 billion per year. Healthcare funding from African governments has declined by 8% over the last 15 years, and 57% of private health facilities in Nigeria have never had access to external funding sources. This lack of capital has led to an inadequate health worker-to-patient ratio, resulting in long wait times for patients.
Through its HeliumCredit product, Helium Health aims to address this financing deficit by providing healthcare facilities with access to much-needed capital. The company uses insights from its HeliumOS software to assess the creditworthiness of its customers and lends on behalf of financing partners, primarily banks.
Impact of HeliumCredit on Healthcare Facilities
Since the Series A investment, Helium Health has grown its credit from $250,000 to more than $3.5 million across 200+ healthcare facilities in Nigeria. These facilities have utilized the loans to acquire medical equipment and medications in bulk. They have also used the funding to expand their locations. This has led to an increase in their top line and ultimately improving patient care.
Helium Health CEO Adegoke Olubusi believes that embedded credit enables SaaS businesses like Helium Health to scale faster in emerging markets. He also noted that HeliumCredit, despite being launched later than HeliumOS, could generate more revenue for the company due to its high demand and strong loan repayment rates.
Collaborations with Public Health and Global Health Communities
Helium Health aims to strengthen its partnerships within the public health and global health communities. These collaborations are of great significance as these entities contribute approximately 15% of total health expenditure in sub-Saharan Africa. The company aims to lead technology efforts for these health organizations and help integrate previously siloed public health program efforts to create interconnected health information systems.
In the past year, Helium Health has received grant funding from organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MSD for Mothers to execute projects under their maternal health program strategies.
Details of the Series B Funding Round
The Series B funding round, led by AXA IM Alts, is the second-largest at this stage for any African healthtech startup. AXA IM Alts is a multi-asset investor and subsidiary of AXA Group, one of the world’s most prominent insurance groups. The investment aligns with AXA IM Alts’ impact strategies, which include improving global financial inclusion and connectivity.
New investors in the Series B round include Anne Wojcicki, Capria Ventures, Angaza Capital, and Flatworld Partners. Existing investors such as Global Ventures, Tencent, Ohara Pharmaceuticals, LCY Group, WTI, and AAIC also participated in the growth round.
Future Plans for Helium Health
With the fresh capital infusion, Helium Health plans to drive growth in its key verticals – HeliumDoc, HeliumOS, and HeliumCredit. The company aims to expand its reach and increase its lending portfolio to 1,000 healthcare facilities by 2024, in partnership with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
Helium Health also seeks to deepen its collaborations within the public health and global health communities. This strategic effort will enable the company to expand its impact on healthcare in Africa even further.