A Nigeria-based company has just secured one of the largest funding rounds for an African healthtech venture to date.
Reliance Health, a digital health insurance provider that uses technology and data science to transform all aspects of the health insurance experience – from purchasing premiums to accessing care, for example – has closed a total of $40 million (€35 million) in Series B funding.
The round was led by the New York-headquartered global growth equity investor, General Atlantic – marking its first technology investment in the African continent – alongside Partech, Picus Capital, Tencent Exploration, Asia Africa Investment and Consulting (AAIC), P1 Ventures, Laerdal Million Lives Fund, Arvantis Social Foundation Impact Investment, and M3, Inc.
This brings Reliance Health’s total funding to $48 million (€42 million) to date, the company confirmed.
“Healthcare in emerging markets is often overlooked by private initiatives because it’s an extremely complex challenge to solve,” explained CEO and co-founder, Femi Kuti. “At Reliance Health, by leveraging new innovations to break the constraints of legacy solutions, we believe there is an opportunity to solve some of these tough problems and even for aspects of healthcare in emerging markets to leapfrog to other parts of the world.
“We are excited to work with our investors towards bringing affordability and accessibility in healthcare to underserved markets, ultimately saving lives around the world.”
THE LARGER CONTEXT
First launched as a telemedicine-focused startup in 2015, Reliance Health has evolved into what the company describes as a “single-free healthcare provider to better address the complex, evolving needs of patients.”
Founded by Kuti, Opeyemi Olumekun, and Matthew Mayaki, the company operates both out of Lagos and Austin, Texas in the United States.
This latest investment round will be used to hire additional talent, expand Reliance Health’s platform to “emerging markets around the world,” as well as add new products to complement the brand’s existing proprietary technology, facilities, and partnerships.
WHY IT MATTERS
The African healthtech market is predicted to reach a revenue growth of 23.08% and a market value of over $11 billion by 2025 – serving an estimated 1.4 billion people.
However, current solutions are said to only serve a “small percentage” of the population, and therefore expansion is necessary in order to reach and help more users.
“There’s still a lot of room for growth as a lot of the current solutions are only targeting a very small percentage of the population,” Justin Lorenzon, CTO and co-founder of Field Intelligence told Nigeria’s Nairametrics. “So, there is a lot of room to grow into and a lot of people to serve. The next couple of years will be super interesting for the space.”
In terms of overall funding, Africa currently receives more investment from abroad, with seven of the 10 most active investors backing African startups in 2021 based outside of the continent.
ON THE RECORD
“General Atlantic is thrilled to announce our first technology investment in Africa in Reliance Health, backing a team focused on improving healthcare quality for millions of patients in Nigeria and abroad,” said Chris Caulkin, Head of EMEA Technology and Managing Director at General Atlantic. “We have been consistently impressed by Femi and Ope, who exemplify the entrepreneurialism and innovation we see across the African continent. We look forward to sharing our experience as a leading global growth equity investor in support of Reliance Health’s exciting and important mission.”
Jeff Trost, Managing Partner at Laerdal Million Lives Fund, added: “Financial barriers prevent millions of people from receiving the life-saving and life-improving care that they need in low- and middle-income countries.
“Ensuring equitable access to healthcare coverage is something we care deeply about as mission-driven healthcare investors, and we’re honoured to partner with the entire Reliance Health team to help scale their offering to achieve the largest potential impact.”