We aim to create real change in the world and believe partnering with high potential international startups will help us to achieve this. The Africa Satellite program was designed to identify innovative and collaboration-ready startups across Africa working on relevant topics within Healthcare, Life Sciences, Performance Materials were of particular interest, but with a strong focus on Bio-Sensing & Interfaces, Liquid biopsy Technologies and Digital solutions in the Healthcare sector.
About the program
This joint Startup Program, run as a partnership between our Accelerator and Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative “Make-IT in Africa”, was designed to provide a gateway for quickly exploring and validating the potential for co-creating in the health sector in partnership with our company. Implementation partner HYBR provided excellent support in startup scouting and facilitation of the process of scouting and bootcamp with the startups.
Over 200 applications received
In all, 237 applications were received from startups working within the focus topic areas of Digital Solutions in the Healthcare Sector, Bio-Sensing and Interfaces and Liquid Biopsy Technologies. These were reduced to a longlist of 40, and then a shortlist of 20 that were invited to a special bootcamp event in Nairobi. From these 20, 4 finalists would be selected. The benefits and activities offered for participants were as follows:
- Community connection and ecosystem Learning Journey: Three meetups in each region to connect with a community of founders and exhibition in different events for the 4 finalists.
- Business Case development: Including a bootcamp in Nairobi for top 20 startups to ideate and develop business cases for collaboration with our company, business and technical support, online mentoring and coaching as well as training.
- Access to Make-IT Fellowship: Investor meetups, business opportunities, additional exposure.
One bootcamp, four winners
As it turned out, 19 startups from 10 countries across the continent participated in the bootcamp in Nairobi from the 5th to the 10th of August. And at the end of the proceedings, four finalists emerged ahead of the pack:
- Bluewave Insurance: A microinsurance startup making insurance more accessible and available for low income earners.
- Akili Labs: Modular, connected smart Point of Care molecular diagnostics systems for field medical practitioners & in research laboratories.
- Chekkit Technologies: Anti-counterfeit solutions for food and drug supply chains via the tracking and authentication of every product from producer to consumer.
- Epilert: A wearable device with integrated biosensors for managing epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
Speaking about the success of the bootcamp Herve Kubwimana, Accelerator Manager of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany for Africa said: “We are excited to be working with these growing startups on our journey to invent, innovate and develop beyond our current scope. The joint effort between Make-IT in Africa and our Accelerator is an opportunity for startups across Africa to benefit from the expertise we have developed over generations while bringing their own pioneering ideas to fruition. We are looking forward to potential collaboration projects in the future.”
The four selected startups will be invited to a Demo Presentation at our company´s offices in South Africa (Johannesburg) on September 10th and exhibit their innovations at the South African Innovation Summit in Cape Town from the 9th-13th of September.
The same teams will also join the MEDICA healthcare industry conference in Dusseldorf as well as join our Accelerator final Selection Days in Darmstadt in November to pitch for a collaboration project with our company. The aim is to eventually get selected to participate in the Accelerator intake at our Innovation Center in our company´s headquarters starting in January 2020.
We´d like to congratulate these four impressive startups and wish them all the best.