Kenyan startup Ponea gaining momentum in driving entry to medical companies • TechCrunch


Serial Kenyan tech entrepreneur Mike Macharia has spent the final 20 years serving to enterprises like East Africa’s greatest telco Safaricom to create infrastructure that bolsters their development. His agency, Seven Seas Applied sciences, has beforehand labored with governments too — having been concerned within the preliminary implementation of the decentralized service supply hubs – Huduma Centres, which grant residents entry to almost all authorities companies by way of a single portal.

Just a few years in the past, Macharia was additionally contracted by the Kenyan authorities to construct the now deserted nationwide hospital info system, which he says would have reworked well being care supply within the nation. The top of that undertaking, in 2019, nonetheless, didn’t kill his innovativeness; as a substitute it impressed him to launch Ponea Well being as a market for healthcare companies.

“The top of that undertaking supplied a second of self-reflection, and I noticed that I had spent my complete life constructing {hardware} and software program for enterprises. However I had by no means considered constructing tech for us (the lots). I made a decision to construct from the underside up, and that’s how Ponea got here into being,” Macharia, the startup’s Chief Visionary Officer (CVO), informed TechCrunch.

A private emergency confirmed the timeliness of the concept.

“I used to be driving from my home, and I had a nosebleed, and that was the second time it was taking place. I bought in contact with my physician, and he really helpful I take some assessments. However I believe he suspected I wouldn’t take them; it was a busy day anyway. So, he despatched a lab technician to my workplace to take samples. After the outcomes and physician’s assessment, I liaised with a pharmacy that used a rider to ship the medication,” he stated.

“In that second, I noticed every thing exists. The medical doctors, labs, pharmacy, fee and supply suppliers exist, however why are they not interconnected? I came upon that no one had tried to mix this entire ecosystem into one; it was one thing we would have liked to do. Why not?”

And that’s how he launched into constructing Ponea as a “genuinely patient-centric platform.”

Ponea Well being is a multitiered market that aggregates sufferers, healthcare and different service suppliers together with these within the fee house.

It makes it simple for customers to determine physicians, amenities and/or healthcare packages based mostly on numerous elements together with want, location and charges — as price can be included throughout itemizing.

As soon as a person has related with a doctor, and relying on the severity of their circumstances, session is completed nearly or bodily. And, the place a physician recommends assessments, Ponea connects the affected person with a lab supplier for pattern assortment.

“We even have our personal phlebotomists, who gather blood samples typically, as a result of we have now realized that we have now to start out controlling the last-mile expertise for sufferers,” stated Macharia, who co-founded Ponea with Akshay Shah.

He added that the whole course of is buyer pushed and backed by a name middle (medical operation centre) that ensures a clean course of for the affected person, from the second they check-in to when medicine is delivered.

To get listed on Ponea’s platform, suppliers are first vetted and rated, utilizing its personal score system, which makes use of knowledge from the federal government’s database and physicians’ certifications. Moreover, sufferers are additionally capable of price suppliers based mostly on set metrics, serving to rank physicians in line with buyer expertise and satisfaction.

Ponea was based in June 2019, and has since January final yr signed up greater than 400 well being and wellbeing professionals, along with over 15,000 prospects, at a 54% conversion as folks more and more search telehealth, following the sector’s covid-induced development. The uptake comes as telehealth is claimed to bridge the healthcare entry hole in Africa, the continent that suffers the best illness burden on the earth and the bottom patient-to-doctor ratio.

Because the adoption of telehealth continues, Ponea targets to develop its buyer base by 500,000 within the subsequent three years, and set up a presence in 4 different markets together with South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco.

“We’ve constructed a scalable product that integrates simply with others as a result of from the phrase go, we got down to construct a platform that ought to work in any a part of the world. This implies we don’t construct what is out there. We have a look at strategic engagement by permitting API integration at a world stage,” stated Macharia.

“And, we have now discovered nice corporations each globally and regionally that we work with in superb methods, and this features a world psychological well being symptom checker we’re presently evaluating, and can quickly be built-in in our platform,” he stated, including that the platform is ready to gather knowledge from wearable units too.

Ponea’s providing features a power illness administration ingredient for sufferers and their caregivers like nurses to assist synchronize info and knowledge for higher illness supervision.

The startup additionally caters to SMEs or companies that may’t afford complete insurance coverage, or these searching for outpatient companies solely. Staff are capable of entry companies from a listing of pre-selected suppliers, and in contrast to insurance coverage, the Ponea pockets steadiness doesn’t expire.

Thus far, Ponea has attracted $4.3 million funding from Afya Companions, Protect Capital, Seven Seas Applied sciences and numerous angel traders together with Bhavesh Shah, Herman Langen, Franciscus Olsthoorn, and Kalpesh Mehta.

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