After West Africa, heading for the Middle East. Created in Nigeria in 2016 and present in particular in Senegal, Ghana and Liberia, the start-up specialist in e-health Helium Health wants to establish itself in Saudi Arabia. It has launched the procedures in order to be able to establish itself in this country by the end of the year 2022, declared its director general, Adegoke Olubusi, to The Africa Report/Young Africa.
In Saudi Arabia, many health facilities are not computerized. They still use paper in their daily management, which increases research time and reduces care time of the patients, says Adegoke Olubusi, whose company offers medical records and hospital management solutions using the cloud.
At the same time, the authorities are emphasizing the digitization of the economy, in particular in the insurance sector, an environment that plays in favor of the establishment of Helium, underlines the boss of the start-up. up, co-founded with Tito Ovia and Dimeji Sofowora.
The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted healthtech investments: these financial flows reached $103 million in 2020, almost four times the level of 2019, according to Control Risks and Oxford Economics Africa.
Already in May 2020, the start-up, present in West Africa but also in Kenya and Uganda, had raised $10 million in series A funding co-managed by Global Ventures and Africa Healthcare Masterfund.
In this context and with a view to its arrival in Saudi Arabia, Helium has just acquired Meddy, a medical appointment booking platform operating in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the first expansion of an African healthtech in the area, according to several experts of the sector.
Meddy works with around 150 private healthcare providers in Qatar and the UAE. Many of them also operate in Saudi Arabia, “which will make it easier for Helium to enter the market”, says Haris Aghadi, Meddy’s boss. The purchase of Meddy by Helium will allow the two companies to increase the value of their customer bases, he continues, believing that there is “a very strong synergy between the offers of the two companies”.
Meddy’s offer, now renamed HeliumDoc, is focused on the interaction between the healthcare provider and the patient, while Helium’s solutions focus on the management system of the provider, hospital or care center. Health care providers in the Gulf region previously had to juggle between “five and ten different tools”. “Now they will only have one,” summarizes the boss of Helium.
Startup predicts digital infrastructure will drive 30% of healthcare investment in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region – consisting of United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain – between 2023 et 2030.