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FuturizeU Launched to Nurture Early-stage Health Startups in Africa

FuturizeU aims to help early-stage startups with healthcare-focused innovations go from prototype to market launch. PHOTO: FuturizeU

FuturizeU aims to help early-stage startups with healthcare-focused innovations go from prototype to market launch. PHOTO: FuturizeU

Futurize has announced a new pioneering HealthTech incubator program, FuturizeU — and in collaboration with AstraZeneca, through the A.Catalyst Network (Innovation by AstraZeneca), and co-funded by Bristol Myers Squibb, the program will run from September 12 to November 17, 2023.

FuturizeU is dedicated to nurturing early-stage startups in Africa’s healthcare sector. Its core mission is to equip the upcoming generation of healthcare entrepreneurs with the essential tools to navigate startup complexities. The program aims to cultivate groundbreaking solutions that address critical healthcare equity and early non-communicable disease (NCD) diagnosis challenges across the African continent, harnessing the region’s abundant untapped potential.

Leveraging cutting-edge technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), FuturizeU accelerates meaningful healthcare advancements while nurturing a fertile ground for innovation. The program welcomes teams from partner universities across Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on university students, alumni, and groups from the previous two Fuel Africa cohorts, all with transformative healthcare startup concepts.

Moritz Gripp, COO at Futurize in a press statement said, “By investing in young entrepreneurs through programs like FuturizeU, we are not only fostering innovation but also nurturing a generation of capable leaders who will drive positive change and contribute to the growth of Africa’s healthcare sector and beyond.”

The Head of Digital and IT for African Cluster at AstraZeneca, Mr. Jonathan Calder said their partnership with Futurize is integral to their unwavering commitment to improve health equity and create sustainable impact in Africa.

“Each day at AstraZeneca, we work hand in hand with diverse stakeholders across Africa to address some of the most pressing healthcare issues our communities face,” said Calder. “I am thrilled that through the FuturizeU HealthTech Incubator program, we will now provide young innovators in Africa an excellent launchpad opportunity to join us in our ambition to deliver pioneering solutions to improve patient outcomes.”

At its core, FuturizeU is a nexus of knowledge sharing, mentorship, and collaboration. Over eight weeks, the program’s curriculum delves into critical startup principles, covering product-market fit, financial strategies, and practical go-to-market approaches. Seasoned advisors and industry experts will guide aspiring entrepreneurs and provide them with networking opportunities, ensuring their ideas flourish.

Rhea Singhla, CEO at Futurize, said undoubtedly, incubator programs hold paramount importance for African youth as they are not as readily accessible. “These initiatives act as dynamic launchpads, igniting the latent potential of our young entrepreneurs and providing them with the essential tools, mentorship, and resources required to translate their innovative ideas into impactful solutions,” remarked Singhla.

A standout feature is the opportunity for participants to showcase their startups to a diverse network of industry partners, investors, and stakeholders at the FuturizeU Demo Day that will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 17, 2023. The platform bridges funding and collaboration, fuelling growth and sustainable development while fostering the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The program garnered an overwhelming response, attracting applications from aspiring healthcare entrepreneurs across Africa. Among the pool of applications, ten startups with exceptional concepts have been selected — these include Vectorgram (Kenya), Pulsesetters (Kenya), Tawi (Kenya), Trakafya (Kenya), MariTest (Uganda), CanisaHealth (Ghana), TensorScan (Nigeria), SuperOriginals (Nigeria), Health4Moni (Nigeria), and PharmaGoods (Tanzania). They will begin the training from September 12 to November 17, 2023. Each week of FuturizeU aims to provide world-class workshops and mentoring on the most crucial aspects of the early development of a healthcare startup

MariTest is among the 10 startups selected for FuturizeU. ARTWORK / Futurize

MariTest is a Ugandan health tech startup — is a bloodless diagnostic device that offers a non-invasive, automated method for malaria detection using artificial intelligence and advanced sensor technology. This ensures high accuracy and addresses the deficit of medical practitioners in remote communities.

Going forward, AstraZeneca A.Catalyst and Futurize will continue to jointly explore further partnership opportunities to support healthcare entrepreneurs in Africa and strengthen healthcare systems in the region and beyond.


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