Kenyan incubator and impact investor Villgro Africa plans to launch a Biotech Innovation as part of its regional expansion plans.
Villgro Africa, a Kenya-based incubator and impact investor, plans to launch a Biotech Innovation Hub as it expands regionally. To date, Villgro has invested over USD 1.36 million in 36 Kenyan healthcare startups. According to the company, the startups have generated revenues of over USD 5.2 million, created 540 jobs and impacted over than 2 million lives.
Villgro Africa: Enabling access to healthcare
Wilfred Njagi, CEO and Co-Founder, Villgro Africa said, “Since inception, Villgro Africa has enabled access to healthcare to those at the bottom of the pyramid. In the past seven years, Villgro has steadily invested seed funding in social enterprises with homegrown solutions that are solving Africa’s healthcare and lifestyle dilemmas.”
The Biotech Innovation Hub
“As we continue to scale, we are excited about the launch of a Biotech Innovation Hub that will create shared value by leveraging East Africa’s genetic diversity to accelerate the development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for the control and elimination of poverty-related diseases, rare diseases, neglected tropical diseases and NCDs,” said Njagi.
Dr. Robert Karanja, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Villgro Africa claimed that local manufacturing in the healthcare sector presents an opportunity for startups and investors, “Going forward, local sources of funding will be needed. Reduced international funding would be an opportunity for African governments, corporates, and others to invest in the start-up ecosystem,” he said.
In order to support startups, Villgro Africa plans to launch an Incubator-Fund Platform in partnership with Jaza Rfit Ventures, with a target fund size of USD 30 million, aimed at supporting startups graduating from the incubator.
Villgro Africa’s investments to date include, Drop Access, a Kenyan company producing portable solar powered, smart fridges that can be mounted on a motorbike, bicycle, or boat, to transport vaccines, and other medical items to rural, off-grid and hard-to-reach communities. Bena Care, a Kenyan company providing home-based care to seeks to reduce the cost and increase the quality of healthcare, especially for the elderly and those with life-limiting illnesses. Negus Med, an advanced wound care and theatre textiles distribution and manufacturing company that increases access to innovative medical equipment and consumables with an aim to be the premier advanced wound care and theatre textiles suppliers in the region.
Rob Beyer, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Villgro, said, “As we celebrate seven years of growth and impact, we are incredibly grateful for a pipeline of quality companies, for funders who believe in the vision, our board members and mentors who freely give of their time and expertise and our clients who entrust their plans to our team.
GrowthAfrica, a Kenya-based accelerator platform, recently opened applications for startups across a range of sectors.