Founders Factory and Netcare to invest in 35 African health-tech start-ups

28 Jun 2019

Image: © Witthaya/

Founders Factory Africa’s mission is to grow businesses across the sectors of health, energy, fintech and education.

Netcare, South Africa’s largest private hospital network with 11,000 beds across 54 hospitals and 18 primary care centres, announced yesterday (27 June) that it would be investing in Founders Factory Africa (FFA) to offer 35 African health-tech start-ups acceleration and incubation programmes.

Founded in Johannesburg last year, FFA is an organisation related to the Founders Factory in London, an accelerator that has graduated 122 start-ups.

CEO of Netcare, Dr Richard Friedland, said the move was made to tackle the crisis of affordability and access to healthcare in Africa and many parts of the wider world. Friedland told TechCrunch: “The way we deliver healthcare in South Africa, Africa and perhaps internationally is, in many cases, broken.”

Friedland’s company will provide the start-ups selected by FFA with access to hospitals, primary healthcare clinics, healthcare value chains, deep health technical expertise, data and IP. These resources will give all of the businesses involved a significant advantage in improving their products and services.

FFA’s mission, as set out on its website, is “creating and growing businesses in Africa across four sectors: health, energy, fintech and education”. It continues: “With a focus on scale, technology and impact, our businesses will serve the needs of economies that are facing unprecedented growth and demand for utility-based products and services.”

In October of last year, the company announced that its main aim was to build 100 tech start-ups across Africa within five years. In April 2019, it funded five African fintech start-ups, providing each with investments of up to $40,000. Each of the start-ups – Ugandan media and research firm Digest Africa, Nigerian school financing solution Schoolable, Kenyan lending marketplace Lipa Later, Nigerian peer-to-peer leasing platform Eazyhire, and Ghanaian retail solutions provider Kudigo – participated in a six-month acceleration programme.

With Netcare’s investment, FFA’s pool of talent will assist the chosen start-ups in this upcoming project with product development, UX/UI, engineering, investment, business development and growth marketing. Standard Bank, the first company to invest in FFA, will also be involved in the project, working to cross-collaborate fintech and health tech.

While the figure that Netcare has invested in FFA is undisclosed, start-ups accelerated by FFA in this programme will receive a £30,000 cash investment and £220,000 in support services from FFA. According to TechCrunch, incubator health-tech ventures will receive £60,000 cash and £100,000 towards support. FFA and Netcare will share a 5pc to 10pc equity stake in each start-up accepted into the programme.

Roo Rogers, co-founder and CEO of FFA, expressed his pride in working with Netcare. “Together we will unlock groundbreaking opportunities in accessing affordable healthcare. We will deliver digitised healthcare solutions and contribute to spearheading Africa’s innovation in healthcare. The time, the opportunity and the need is now, for driving Africa’s health tech to improve the lives of millions of people.”

Applications are now open.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic