Healthtracka, a Nigerian startup that offers convenient at-home lab tests, has raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding, according to a statement shared with TechCabal today. This round is led by venture capital investors Ingressive Capital and Hustle Fund, with participation from angel investors: Alunmi Angels Alliance and Flying Doctors.
This round of funding is coming after Healthtracka participated in the Techstars Toronto accelerator programme between October 2021 and January 2022.
Founded in May 2021 by Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson and Victor Amusan in Lagos, Healthtracka allows users to book tests on its website, have their samples collected at their homes and access their results on their email addresses. Healthtracka partners with medical laboratories—3 at the moment: vCare Diagnostics, Lancet Laboratories, and Afriglobal Medicare—who provide them with phlebotomists who go down to patients’ houses to collect samples, analyse the samples and return results in 2 days.
While Dare-Johnson’s background in biochemistry and working at a lab before meant she knew the importance of regular medical diagnostics, she didn’t think of creating a diagnostic solution until her fit and healthy-looking father suddenly slumped and was fighting for his life. This prompted her to delve deeper into Africa’s healthcare system, and she discovered that there are a lot of undiagnosed Africans living with unknown pre-existing conditions. This is exacerbated by a weak healthcare system battling an infrastructure deficit and shortage of medical workers, all of which make accessing healthcare a hassle on the continent.
Another inspiration for Healthtracka was Dare-Johnson’s role as a marketing lead at SynLab, a multinational medical diagnostic, which made her realise that providing medical tests in a seamless and accessible manner is important for better healthcare outcomes. This is because doctor consultations, even virtual ones, end with patients being required to take a lab test at a hospital. These tests are important because they make up 70% of the clinical decision making process. But this diagnostics requirement turns out to be a problem. Upon consultation, because of inconvenience, many patients are reluctant to leave their homes and make a trip to the hospital to take these important tests.
Dare-Johnson’s co-founder, Amusan, comes from a family of medical doctors who have firsthand experience of the negative effects of late diagnoses, and that has shaped how Healthtracka approach this late diagnoses problem.
Dare-Johnson said that telemedicine platforms would previously offer only consultation services while referring patients to the hospital for diagnostics. Now they can now order lab tests for the patient using Healthtracka’s API.
Users can go on Healthtracka’s website and book lab tests ranging from fertility and STD tests to full blood count and COVID tests. Healthtracka also offers specialist consultation after patients have received their results.
Dare-Johnson explained that the pandemic was crucial to Healthtracka’s growth, during the pandemic, Healthtracka started offering COVID-19 tests. “It was a trying time where people needed the comfort and the assurance that they could access healthcare remotely and safely,” she told TechCabal.
Dare-Johnson also said that privacy is one of the reasons its users patronise them as they shield clients from the societal stigma that comes with going to the hospital for tests such as the ones for sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
Healthtracka currently has 50 different medical tests, which it has offered 7,000 times to 5,000 users at home, using a network of 700 phlebotomists, across 7 Nigerian cities—Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin, Kaduna, Ilorin, and Ibadan.
“Ifeoluwa is hungry and very bright. Not only did we anonymously use Healthtracka’s services in diligence and had a 10/10 experience, we recognised truly what this could become across the continent, even from just interacting with her team for tests,” Ingressive Capital’s founder, Maya Horgan Famodu, said in a statement. “The product is high-quality, on time, affordable, and unlocking the door for a healthier Africa.”
Healthtracka’s funding will also power its growth plans, which include introducing new product features and expanding its at-home lab testing services into Kenya and Ghana in the coming months. It also wants to expand its offering by launching an API that will allow both telemedicine services and traditional healthcare providers to offer at-home lab testing.
“We have realised, especially in the countries we are expanding to, that the infrastructure deficit problem is the same. Our experience in offering diagnostics in Nigeria gives us confidence that we can tackle this problem in other markets as well,” she told TechCabal. “We are reshaping culture to make lab testing as seamless as ordering a dress online. I think that we are able to scale this across Africa, especially in the places that need it the most.”