Rocket Health, Ugandan Health Start-up, raises $5M Series A Round to Scale across Africa

Rocket Health, Ugandan Health Start-up, raises $5M Series A Round to Scale across Africa

Rocket Health, a Ugandan health start-up that specializes in online medical consultation, collection of samples, and the delivery of medicines to Ugandans has today raised $5 million in Series A round.

The round was led by Creadev; an evergreen investment firm backed by the Mulliez family, with participation from Grenfell Holdings and LoftyInc Capital Management. This brings the total funding raised by Rocket Health to $6.2 million since its launch in 2012.

Having narrowed its operation to Uganda for about a decade, the startup is now set to scale its integrated digital health solution to more regions across the country and within East Africa over the next two years. In the long-term, it plans to pursue growth opportunities in the West African countries.

Davis Musinguzi, CEO at Rocket Health said, the greater plan remains to make healthcare easily accessible across Africa, a region with the highest disease burden in the world and the lowest patient-to-doctor ratio. According to the World Health Organization, countries across sub-Saharan Africa have 0.23 doctors for every 10,000 people, against the best ratio of 84.2 doctors in the most developed countries.

“I think tech is what helps us cover that gap, create more efficiency, and broaden our reach beyond. There’s no way we’re going to build enough hospitals to be able to reach everybody with the health care that they need. I think telemedicine helps breach the gap of availability.” Musinguzi said.

“A lot of healthcare facilities and professionals are still centralized within the urban areas or the capital cities. So very many people across the country don’t get the benefits of these highly skilled individuals. And I think technology complemented with existing infrastructure is how we can bridge that gap.” He added.

Reacting to the round, Creadev Africa in a statement said, “We are delighted to partner with Rocket Health on its mission to make Healthcare accessible to many people in Sub-Saharan Africa. We have been highly impressed by the creativity, tenacity, and vibrant culture of the Rocket Health team, which holds an ambitious vision for the future of African primary care. The opportunities are countless, from data analytics to innovative distribution channels.”

Rocket Health manages its lab and pharmacy delivery services, according to Musinguzi, which allows them to maintain control over product and service delivery. They charge $3 for the consultation and $1.5 for the delivery of the drugs.

The need for remote treatment during the Covid-19 outbreak accelerated the company’s growth from a few thousand virtual consultations per year to almost 400,000.

“Covid-19 has been a great boost to introducing people to telemedicine. Once somebody has had that magical experience with last-mile telemedicine, they seldom go back to queuing up in hospitals waiting to see the doctor. We now do tests like PCR testing in addition to home-based care,” said Musinguzi.

Musinguzi co-founded Rocket Health with John Mark Bwanika, Fiona Nuwamanya, Hope Achiro, and William Lubega. Its clients range from parents who want their children immunized to patients who are dealing with chronic ailments. In addition, 12 insurance firms have signed up, providing it access to a pool of clients throughout Uganda and East Africa, as most of them have a regional presence.

“We have different categories of clients; a lot of our clients are in urban areas, and they love the convenience of our services. We have also seen companies start buying subscriptions for casual workers, who don’t qualify for corporate medical covers,” said Musinguzi.

Rocket Health has teamed with Ada, a Berlin-based end-user self-assessment platform, to integrate artificial intelligence into its teleconsultations as it develops and enters its next phase of growth.