Cameroonian healthtech Waspito secures $2.5M seed extension to scale, tap offline patients

Start Cameroonian health Waspito secured a $2.5 million seed extension from DP World through Newtown Partners, Saviu Ventures, AAIC Investment, Axian ventures and CFAO’s Health54 to fuel its growth in the Francophone region.

Waspito is a health-focused social network that allows users (patients) to access and consult verified doctors through video calls. In addition, it facilitates the collection of samples from homes, and also the delivery of medicine.

The startup started in Ivory Coast at the beginning of the year, where it also piloted a hybrid model, and is looking at Senegal and Gabon, supported by a new round after last year’s $2.7 million seed .

Jean Lobe Lobe Waspito was founded at the beginning of 2020, before the Covid pandemic became a global health emergency, a timely period for the health startup to begin its mission to make healthcare accessible. -access to all.

However, Waspito intends to approach telemedicine in a different way. Instead of building a platform that involves pre-registration and booking consultation meetings, Lobe opted for one where users can connect with doctors instantly.

“Going online to book an appointment later doesn’t sound right when there’s a serious illness or someone who needs a doctor right away. This is why we’re doing instant video consultations,” Lobe told TechCrunch .

When a user logs into the site, which Lobe calls the Facebook for health care, they are allowed to choose a doctor from a list of those currently online. And, where a doctor recommends medical tests, a technician from one of its affiliated laboratories is sent for sample collection. Waspito has partnered with several local hospitals to support patients who need more in-depth evaluation and/or admission.

“We have partnered with hospitals in such a way that after the Waspito consultation, care will continue at the nearest hospital without the need for additional consultation fees or registration. We have connected with all these stakeholders because, as a whole, we want to connect the healthcare ecosystem online and become a one-stop shop for all healthcare services,” said Lobe.

Patients pay through a variety of options, including insurance, before consultations, which Lobe says encourages doctors to stay online for more revenue. Users can also anonymously join various pain support groups for tailored advice.

Lobe is convinced that always having doctors online is one of the ways to make them accessible to patients living in target countries, where the latest data shows that there less than 2 doctors for every 10,000 people.

The startup, which was declared the best health startup in Africa at this year’s VivaTech awards, claims to have so far reached 650,000 users in Cameroon and Ivory Coast, onboarded 950 doctors and facilitated 60,000 consultations.

Waspito expects the number of consultations made through its platform to grow as it launches a hybrid model it is piloting in the Ivory Coast – where it is setting up mini-clinics to reach patients offline. The startup has established these clinics within the branch network of La Poste Corporation, the national postal service of the Ivory Coast, with wide coverage throughout the country. With the help of nurses who manage these sites, patients can connect with doctors virtually and access other health care services with its partners.

This is a necessary strategy for Waspito as the majority of African users remain offline, due to the cost of internet and smartphones, even as Africa’s digital economy continues to expand. It is set to introduce the hybrid method in Cameroon and Senegal at the end of the first quarter of next year. The fundraising advisory firm Raisers was Waspito’s adviser during the round.

“Health care is really for everyone and that means we need to reach everyone. These mini-clinics, we think, are the best way to connect with the underserved population,” said said Lobe.

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