‘Sell the problem, not the solution’ – Dr Hakeem Onasanya, 2023 Nigeria Healthcare Investment Forum (NHIF) 2.0.
Healthcare is a basic need of every human. With a teeming population of over 200 million people who require this basic need and the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa, many expect that Nigerian healthcare industry would boast of better investment rates than non-essential sectors. This however is not the case. In fact, private equity companies seem to favour other sectors such as fintech and logistics over healthcare investments. While this is a symptom of the low investment funds coming to Africa as a whole – 1% of the global venture capital funds -, it is also a function of high poverty rates evidenced by Nigeria’s low Per Capita Income, poor scalability of healthcare businesses and insufficient penetration volumes.
The 2023 Nigeria Healthcare Investment Forum 2.0 hosted by HCA Consults, was created to address these issues by engaging and equipping start-up companies to identify qualities that investors want and circumvent the challenges that can impede scalability. During his welcome address, Dr Moshood Habeeb, the CEO of HCA consults highlighted the forum’s commitment to connecting businesses to investors, improving the standard of care and widening the investment pool in healthcare in Nigeria. This was followed by the keynote speaker, Dr Pamela Ajayi, the President of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN).
Staying true to the event’s objectives, the first session focused on ‘Navigating Funding Challenges and Opportunities in the HealthTech space’. The speakers generally discussed about the reasons why healthtech startups achieve less success than desired. One of the panellists, Segun Cole, managing partner at Maasai VC, advised founders to prioritize pitching to the investors in their industries and proper signalling through indicators such as sale cycles and judicious capital management. Dr Hakeem Onasanya, the Head of startups at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), also emphasized the need for startups to identify the aims of their venture into entrepreneurship, engage the market, maintain flexibility and be open to learning while building. Prof Onyemelukwe of HELC extoled the importance of legal advisory and tax compliance for organizations.
The next part of the event which focused on ‘who needs investments’ had 3 startups pitch their decks to investors. MyItura, a healthtech company represented by Shina Arogundade, intimated the audience on their mission to use artificial intelligence to solve patients’ data storage problems by linking patients to healthcare providers and saving medical records, thereby providing easy access during further consultations. CookedIndoors, founded by Dr Debo Odulana, is a startup company which uniquely solves a multifaceted problem that cuts across the healthcare, food and logistics industries in Nigeria. CookedIndoors provides catering, kitchen operational and food delivery services to hospitals and healthcare patients, with a wide range of meals – regular, traditional, deli, gourmet and others. The company also offers dietician services to ensure that patients dietary needs are properly catered for in line with their health status and needs. The third startup in search of investors was Healthillion, a healthtech company that onboards hospitals and connects patients to specialist care seamlessly.
The second session and final part of the event was themed ‘Innovative Financial Modeling for Building Resilient Healthcare Infrastructure’. Moderated by Ganiu Oloruntade of TechCabal, the panellists, Kola Oni and Dr Charles Sokei largely discussed what healthcare companies need to scale. Buoyed by years of experience in healthcare operations at companies that have scaled successfully, Kola Oni identified massive infrastructural gaps and great challenges that healthcare companies face. To navigate this, he advised founders to seek knowledge, identify the gaps that they need to fill and pay attention to learning and results. Dr Sokei regaled the importance of diagnosis in healthcare and gave tips on lowering costs for healthcare companies.
Overall, the summit fulfilled its mission in all areas, leaving participants eager for the next edition.
Dr Opeyemi Oladunjoye is a healthcare manager and currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Finnih Medical Centre, a customer-centric and quality–focused multi-specialist hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. She has an MBCHB degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University and is a master’s in public health degree candidate at the University of Suffolk, United Kingdom. She has years of clinical, operations management and leadership experience in public and private healthcare organizations including Flying Doctors Nigeria and LifeCentre Medical Services. She is a member of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and the General Medical Council (GMC), UK. She is an associate of the Women in Business, Management and Public Service (WIMBIZ) association, a fellow of the Women in Boards mentorship program and a Mckinsey Forward Alumnus. Dr Opeyemi is passionate about and focused on building sustainable organizations and improving the accessibility, availability and quality of healthcare for Nigerians and Africans.