Medical Devices as a Service (MDaaS), a Nigerian healthcare startup, has been accepted into the Techstars 2018 Impact program–a huge boost for the startup.
Techstars Impact is an American tech accelerator program with a focus on startups solving social and environmental problems.
Super excited to share that @mdaasglobal was accepted into the inaugural @techstars Impact accelerator in Austin, TX! Looking forward to an action-packed 3 months! https://t.co/YV2VhU7hPG @mdaasnigeria #TSImpact @mitlegatum pic.twitter.com/5HyCYpsMpA
— Genevieve Barnard Oni (@genevieveoni) June 9, 2018
Techstars Impact helps “world-class, mission-driven entrepreneurs who believe that solving some of our most pressing social and environmental problems can sit hand-in-hand with building a successful company.”
The program is backed by some top US donors. Some of which include Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s AIP Private Markets Team, Impact America Fund and Cotter Cunningham, CEO of RetailMeNot, Inc.
Companies participating in the program will focus on developing transformative technologies and innovative business models to solve our most pressing challenges across financial services, education, agriculture, energy and more.
As a selected startup, MDaaS gets a slew of support including financial, human and intellectual support to help grow their businesses. MDaaS also gets lifetime access to Techstars’ resources, entrepreneur network, and most importantly, access to $120,000 in funding.
The accelerator program holds in Austin, Texas from June till August. On August 23, the accelerator program ends with a Demo Day, where MDaaS, alongside 9 others, will pitch to Techstars network of entrepreneurs and investors.
A Healthcare Industry in Need of Disruption
MDaaS is taking on the very huge dearth in the Nigerian healthcare sector. It was founded by Oluwasoga Oni, Genevieve Barnard, Joe McCord, and Opeyemi Ologun in 2015. The startup specializes in providing affordable medical devices to Nigerian healthcare customers. Also, the startup provides maintenance services for medical devices.
40% of medical systems across the African continent is out of service. @mdaas providing cost effective equipment and now opening up diagnostic centers in #nigeria @MillerSocent @GE_Ventures #GEHealthyMagination #SankalpAfrica18 pic.twitter.com/1wybeEuw8L
— PamelaRoussos (@PamelaRoussos) March 1, 2018
For a local startup, this is a truly innovative company. Nigeria’s healthcare sector is extremely underequipped to handle the challenges that Nigerian state faces. Worse still, most medical devices come from abroad, making them quite expensive. Most medical practitioners struggle to afford such high-quality types of equipment. They purchase low-cost, substandard devices instead.
Yet, thanks to the scarcity of trained biomedical technicians in Nigeria, medical devices don’t get fixed when they break down.
“I know a doctor who bought a new US$50,000 machine that broke down in six months and they had to fly in someone from Korea to fix it. That shouldn’t happen. So that’s the problem we’re trying to solve,” said Oluwasoga Oni, Co-founder of MDaaS.
>>Bringing healthcare to the next billion #Africans<< Yes, that is what @sogatemi, a Legatum Fellow & @MIT Alum, is doing with @mdaasnigeria! In this video he gives advice to #entrepreneurs interested in starting businesses in emerging countries: https://t.co/b9zqVvKIxd #Legatum pic.twitter.com/I5arNHXyur
— Legatum (@Legatum) April 26, 2018
MDaaS and the Task of Making Medical Devices Cheaper for Hosiptals
To tackle these issues, MDaaS developed a model that fits the economic and social conditions of Africa.
One way it does this is to import refurbished models of medical devices into the country. They are well-maintained and refurbished. They cost about a tenth of what the new ones would cost. This helps to reduce the cost greatly and makes it extremely affordable to Nigerian hospitals.
There’s been this approach to strip down devices and reposition them for Africa. That works in some cases, but a lot of hospitals, especially in growing cities like Lagos, want the good stuff. They don’t want the stripped-down version; they want all the features.
Another method it uses is to lease medical devices to hospitals. However, this method doesn’t seem ripe for the Nigerian environment; the big banks have a problem financing equipment and financing doctors.
The company also provides maintenance services for medical devices making them reusable. This helps to reduce medical spending.
Since Nigeria’s healthcare sector is a very low-quality one with mediocre government support, MDaaS could play a key role in improving the sector for the benefit of the Nigerian society.
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