How to Build Healthcare Unicorns in Africa

In April 2022, we launched the first Healthcare Unicorns Report. The report focuses on some of the most valuable healthtech companies in the world valued at US$1B+. We also looked at the trends, statistics, and data available on healthcare start-ups, our portfolio companies, and the start-ups that have become unicorns globally. 

“We need to make sure that African healthtech companies are implementing the right business model to sustain growth and the bottom line,” said HealthCap Founder Dr. Ola Brown. “HealthCap through our venture capital investments focuses on two sectors; healthcare and fintech. We expect this report to shape the African healthcare agendas for years to come.”

“An excellent report that really sets out the antecedents of global healthtech unicorns; what could be achieved with the emergence of African healthtech unicorns; and the nexus between fintech and healthtech,” said His Excellency, Mohammad Alblooshi, Sector Head Fintech, and Innovation, DIFC. 

The report was launched in a virtual event featuring experts from across Africa. His Excellency, Mohammad Alblooshi delivered a keynote address on the topic: “Building Global Unicorns Through Global Collaborations”.

Key numbers/insights were instructive as we moved through the body of the report. 

  1. According to CB Insights, fintech leads the herd: nearly 1 in 5 of the world’s 800+ unicorns (private companies valued at $1B+) are fintech startups. 
  2. Healthtech has 70 unicorns, making it the third-largest ‘unicorn-producing’ sector. 
  3. Within healthtech, healthcare IT/software emerges as the top business model with 33 unicorns. San Francisco has seen the most unicorn activity in healthtech and is home to 14 healthtech unicorns.
  4. Healthtech has the potential to top the unicorn category in Q4 of 2022. 
  5. There are three times as many fintech unicorns as there are healthtech unicorns.
  6. As of 2019, healthtech represented a global market of approximately $350B, with many opportunities to compete across multiple subcategories.
  7. Many healthtech companies pivot to the enterprise model to sustain growth and the bottom line.
  8. It is difficult to get patients as individual consumers, to pay for health-related tech.
  9. There are a number of global unicorns developing new approaches to pharmaceuticals and therapeutics. This report will examine the likelihood of African healthtech companies following this trend in the sections that follow. 

Sources: WHO, CB Insights, Tracxn

This is HealthCap’s 2022 Healthtech Unicorns Insight Paper and was produced to show where global healthtech unicorns are in relation to where African healthtech companies should place emphasis and resources to drive progress towards building African healthtech unicorns. 

Read and download our report here

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