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FuturizeU chose 10 startups looking to cure non-communicable diseases or to spread healthcare access
No place around the world is immune to issues with their healthcare system. We all know the problems in the US with access and cost, for example, and Africa seems to have many of the same problems: only around half of the continent's population have access to the healthcare they need. On top of that, approximately 97 million Africans, or 8.2% of the population, incur what are called “catastrophic healthcare costs.”
In order to help solve some of these issues venture studio Futurize and AstraZeneca, through the A.Catalyst Network, announced the launch of FuturizeU, Futurize’s new HealthTech incubator program, on Monday.
Co-funded by Bristol Myers Squibb, FuturizeU "aims to help early-stage startups with healthcare-focused innovations go from prototype to market launch," it says on the website. "We help you refine the business model, build your products to find product-market fit, and connect to the funding ecoystem across Africa."
The eight-week program, which will run from September 12 to November 17, 2023, opened applications in May, seeking pre-seed startups with a focus on a country or region in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Application requirements including that the company must be tackling early-detection of a type of cancer, or early-detection of other non-communicable diseases such as Malaria, through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Otherwise, they should be looking to improve access to healthcare using technology.
Students who applied must be current student or alumni of Futurize partner universities across Sub-Saharan Africa, and they need to have at least one technical founder on the team, as well as at least one person per team who must attend every session and mentoring session.
In addition, applicants were required have conducted 10 interviews for potential clients, consumers, further iteration of the problem, and all founders must hold citizenship of an African country.
In all, 10 companies were selected, including four from Kenya, Vectorgram; Pulsesetters, Tawi, and TrakAfya; as well as three from Nigeria: TensorScan, SuperOriginals, and Health4Moni. Also selected were MariTest from Uganda; CanisaHealth from Ghana; and PharmaGoods from Tanzania.
The program will culminate in a demo day for investors and potential partners on November 17, 2023.
Going forward, AstraZeneca A.Catalyst and Futurize say they will continue to work together, exploring "further partnership opportunities to support healthcare entrepreneurs in Africa and strengthen healthcare systems in the region and beyond."
“Undoubtedly, incubator programs hold paramount importance for African youth as they are not as readily accessible. These initiatives act as dynamic launchpads, igniting the latent potential of our young entrepreneurs and providing them with the essential tools, mentorship, and resources required to translate their innovative ideas into impactful solutions," Rhea Singhla, CEO at Futurize, said in a statement.
(Image source: futurize.studio)
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