Serial Kenyan tech entrepreneur Mike Macharia has spent the final 20 years serving to enterprises like East Africa’s greatest telco Safaricom to create infrastructure that bolsters their progress. His agency, Seven Seas Technologies, has beforehand labored with governments too — having been concerned within the preliminary implementation of the decentralized service supply hubs – Huduma Centres, which grant residents entry to just about all authorities companies by means of a single portal.
A couple of years in the past, Macharia was additionally contracted by the Kenyan authorities to construct the now abandoned nationwide hospital data system, which he says would have remodeled well being care supply within the nation. The finish of that undertaking, in 2019, nevertheless, didn’t kill his innovativeness; as a substitute it impressed him to launch Ponea Health as a market for healthcare companies.
“The end of that project offered a moment of self-reflection, and I realized that I had spent my entire life building hardware and software for enterprises. But I had never thought of building tech for us (the masses). I decided to build from the bottom up, and that’s how Ponea came into being,” Macharia, the startup’s Chief Visionary Officer (CVO), informed Thealike.
A private emergency confirmed the timeliness of the thought.
“I was driving from my house, and I had a nosebleed, and that was the second time it was happening. I got in touch with my doctor, and he recommended I take some tests. But I think he suspected I wouldn’t take them; it was a busy day anyway. So, he sent a lab technician to my office to take samples. After the results and doctor’s review, I liaised with a pharmacy that used a rider to deliver the drugs,” he stated.
“In that moment, I realized everything exists. The doctors, labs, pharmacy, payment and delivery providers exist, but why are they not interconnected? I found out that nobody had attempted to combine this whole ecosystem into one; it was something we needed to do. Why not?”
And that’s how he launched into constructing Ponea as a “genuinely patient-centric platform.”
Ponea Health is a multitiered market that aggregates sufferers, healthcare and different service suppliers together with these within the fee house.
It makes it simple for customers to determine physicians, amenities and/or healthcare packages primarily based on varied components together with want, location and costs — as value can be included throughout itemizing.
Once a person has linked with a doctor, and relying on the severity of their instances, session is completed just about or bodily. And, the place a physician recommends assessments, Ponea connects the affected person with a lab supplier for pattern assortment.
“We also have our own phlebotomists, who collect blood samples sometimes, because we have realized that we have to start controlling the last-mile experience for patients,” stated Macharia, who co-founded Ponea with Akshay Shah.
He added that the complete course of is buyer pushed and backed by a name heart (medical operation centre) that ensures a clean course of for the affected person, from the second they check-in to when treatment is delivered.
To get listed on Ponea’s platform, suppliers are first vetted and rated, utilizing its personal score system, which makes use of information from the federal government’s database and physicians’ certifications. Besides, sufferers are additionally in a position to price suppliers primarily based on set metrics, serving to rank physicians based on buyer expertise and satisfaction.
Ponea was based in June 2019, and has since January final yr signed up greater than 400 well being and wellbeing professionals, along with over 15,000 clients, at a 54% conversion as individuals more and more search telehealth, following the sector’s covid-induced progress. The uptake comes as telehealth is claimed to bridge the healthcare entry hole in Africa, the continent that suffers the best illness burden on this planet and the bottom patient-to-doctor ratio.
As the adoption of telehealth continues, Ponea targets to develop its buyer base by 500,000 within the subsequent three years, and set up a presence in 4 different markets together with South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco.
“We have built a scalable product that integrates easily with others because from the word go, we set out to build a platform that should work in any part of the world. This means we do not build what is available. We look at strategic engagement by allowing API integration at a global level,” stated Macharia.
“And, we have found great companies both globally and locally that we work with in amazing ways, and this includes a global mental health symptom checker we are currently evaluating, and will soon be integrated in our platform,” he stated, including that the platform is ready to acquire information from wearable units too.
Ponea’s providing features a persistent illness administration aspect for sufferers and their caregivers like nurses to assist synchronize data and information for higher illness supervision.
The startup additionally caters to SMEs or companies that may’t afford complete insurance coverage, or these looking for outpatient companies solely. Employees are in a position to entry companies from a listing of pre-selected suppliers, and in contrast to insurance coverage, the Ponea pockets stability doesn’t expire.
To date, Ponea has attracted $4.3 million funding from Afya Partners, Shield Capital, Seven Seas Technologies and a lot of angel traders together with Bhavesh Shah, Herman Langen, Franciscus Olsthoorn, and Kalpesh Mehta.