The funding round was led by “AXA Investment Managers Alts” with participation from Capria Ventures, Angaza Capital, Anne Wojcicki (Founder of 23&Me) and Flatworld Partners. Existing investors Global Ventures, Tencent, Ohara Pharmaceuticals, LCY Group, WTI and AAIC also participated in the round.
Helium Health provides Software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools, financing, and insights to healthcare providers and public health. The startup plans to use the new capital injection to to expand the reach of its fintech product, HeliumCredit, the leading digital finance product for Africa’s healthcare sector.
Launched in 2020, HeliumCredit has extended more than $3.5M in credit to over 200 healthcare facilities in Nigeria, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and diagnostics centers, which have used the loans to purchase medical equipment, medications in bulk, and expand their locations. With easier access to credit, healthcare providers are able to increase patient retention, increase revenues, and improve the quality of care.
Helium Health will launch HeliumCredit in Kenya this year. The Company will increase its lending portfolio to 1,000 healthcare facilities by 2024 in partnership with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
In this growth phase, Helium Health also looks to deepen its collaborations within the public health and global health communities, another core focus of its work. Global health funders contribute about 15% of total health expenditure in sub-Saharan Africa and play a critical role in tackling the continent’s leading causes of death, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal and child mortality.
Helium Health aims to be the leading technology partner for public health entities by supporting the implementation of their programs and strategies in Africa. In the past year, Helium Health has received funding from organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MSD for Mothers to execute projects under their maternal health program strategies.
The Company will also continue to scale its SaaS suite for healthcare providers, through HeliumOS, its Electronic Medical Records and Hospital Management Information System (EMR/HMIS) solution. HeliumOS helps health facilities of any size or specialty run their operations more efficiently, increase revenues, and improve healthcare delivery.
Used by more than 10,000 health workers to care for over 1 million patients, it is the widest-reaching EMR platform in West Africa. Helium Health is able to evaluate the creditworthiness of loan applicants and disburse loans as fast as 48 hours by leveraging its insights into the finances and operations of healthcare providers obtained from HeliumOS. The Company continues to record high loan repayment rates.
Africa’s healthcare sector is heavily undercapitalized, with a financing deficit of $66BN per year. This lack of capital results in poorly developed infrastructure and a scarcity of health workers. Africa has one of the lowest health worker-to-patient ratios in the world, with 1.55 health workers per 1000 people. A poor-resourced environment, coupled with the lack of digitization and automation, negatively impacts healthcare delivery, leading to medical errors and long patient wait times. Less than 10% of healthcare facilities in Africa are digitized. Helium Health seeks to tackle this challenge by expanding the reach of its digital solutions to more healthcare facilities across Africa and helping under-resourced facilities deliver high-quality care.
“We believe in a future where good healthcare is a reality for all Africans, not just the few. We are deeply committed to supporting both private healthcare providers and public health stakeholders with finance, technology, and data to achieve that vision. We are delighted to have such seasoned healthcare investors accompany us on our journey,” said Adegoke Olubusi, Helium Health CEO/co-founder.