Pitching for a start-up can be nerve-wracking for the founder because the possibilities are immense. Getting funding can breathe life into a business. Not only does it require great preparation, but it also showcases the hardiness of one’s business plan. The founder needs to understand their market and its needs, have a growth strategy and have clarity on their start-up’s value proposition. If you have been itching to invest in smart health, here is a guide to navigating the South African scene.
Below are five start-up founders making a pitch at the Smart Health Summit 2023.
The Pocket Couch is a young tech start-up with a vision to revolutionise mental healthcare access across the African continent. By leveraging technology, they are providing equitable access to mental healthcare experts and related resources. After navigating the mental healthcare landscape herself and recognising the extent of the problem, Onkgopotse sought to help more people from a diverse set of socio-economic backgrounds better manage their mental health. To date, they’ve provided access to over 40 000 minutes of online therapy in over 6 South African languages. The business model is predominantly B2B focused. They leverage these partnerships to deliver affordable, convenient and culturally competent mental well-being resources to employees, university and high school students and other members of organisations of all sizes.
How they make money: Subscription fees + commission
Funding purpose: Software development enhancements, team expansion and executing on their GTM strategy
Mongadi is the founder of Ukuhamba and an experienced product designer. The start-up leverages innovative 3D printing technology to design lightweight prosthetics and assistive devices. Their vision is to empower lives by making mobility accessible to all. In so doing they are also restoring the dignity of amputees as well as those living with physical limitations. “We know we are not the only ones trying to solve these problems. What sets us apart is that ours is actually lightweight. The ones in the market that can be accessed from the private sector are very heavy to carry.”
How they make money: Bespoke 3D prosthetics.
Funding purpose: Expansion.
This start-up provides medical content in small, digestible chunks and would like to incorporate a B2B subscription model. “Africa has 24 per cent of the world’s burden of disease but the lowest doctor per 1000 people ratio in the world. Proportionally we also have more general practitioners when compared to the rest of the world. Effectively, African doctors are expected to know ‘a little about a lot’ and see high patient loads in various clinical contexts. Additionally, when they encounter students they are also expected to teach. Our theory of change is, if we improve the quantity of doctors trained whilst improving the quality of doctor training we can improve patient outcomes. Four Minute Medicine helps medical trainees get further faster with their learning by providing high-yield clinical content in small digestible chunks.”
Funding purpose: Content production.
How do you connect freelance medical professionals to well, everyone, in real-time? “People want to be in control of their time. That is why we have created our platform. It’s hard to find available practitioners because the old-school method is phoning an agency or a broker and emails fly back and forth, but we don’t have time. We have numerous agencies and brokers but they don’t talk to each other. There is no feedback loop. … We have to distribute health care because there isn’t enough.”
How they make money: Facilitation fee, subscriptions and custom license and fees.
Funding purpose: Partnerships to help ship their funding round in six months.
What is the one thing afflicting the current generation? “We have been overlooking the crisis that has been brewing within ourselves which is mental health… A large part of what we are doing is rebranding mental health.”
How they make money: Creating internet currency through purchasing Ollie credits (two credits = 30-minute session), and B2B subscription packages.
Funding purpose: To support existing and future partnerships.
And there is your opportunity to invest in real-world solutions for real-world issues.