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US Firm Invests N90m in Nigerian Health Tech Startup SonoCare

By Dipo Olowookere

Nigerian on-demand mobile diagnostic imaging startup, SonoCare, has received a financial boost aims to save more lives in rural communities in the country.

Business Post gathered that GMC coLABS, the gender lens investment portfolio of US-based impact investor, Gray Matters Capital (GMC), has agreed to pump about $250,000 (about N90 million) into SonoCare to enable the local health tech firm to continue to provide services spanning the spectrum of women’s health such as on-demand mobile 3D/4D diagnostic imaging and cardiac monitoring among others.

Founded in 2015, SonoCare has been a pioneer in mobile diagnostic imaging in Nigeria and the first to deploy a web/mobile resource for patient information transmission and inter-disciplinary collaboration.

It currently operates its services in Port Harcourt (River State), Lafia (Nasarawa State) and Sagbama (Bayelsa State) and Otukpo (Benue State) in Nigeria.

Offering both fixed site and mobile solutions, SonoCare provides cost efficient programs scaled to the needs of hospitals, satellite clinics, health care providers like physicians and midwives, birthing centres, assisted living facilities as well as corporate offices using a combination of the most advanced imaging systems and highly trained, registered technologists as sonographers.

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Commenting on the new investment, Managing Director of SonoCare, Dr Moses Owoicho Enokela, said, “We are excited to partner with GMC coLABS as our first institutional investor, as we both share the vision and passion to positively impact the lives of women.

“With this investment, we will be able to scale our operations through our mobile app in addition to deploying more mobile units. This will push us to reach our first 200,000 pregnancies by 2020 and to profitability.”

Also commenting, the Portfolio Manager of coLABS, Gray Matters Capital, Jennifer Soltis, noted that, “With its mobile diagnostic services, SonoCare detects pregnancy complications before they become threats to the lives of women, giving those in low resource areas a better chance for safer pregnancies and deliveries.”

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She added that, “We are proud to support the work of Dr. Moses, a determined and resilient entrepreneur who has brought to market a solution to a problem that most lack the grit to attempt to solve at scale. We’ve been very impressed with what he’s accomplished with modest resources and can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.”

SonoCare, recognized by Microsoft’s Winsiders4Good program, the Obama Foundation (Africa Leaders), the Tony Elumelu Foundation and a host of others, becomes the third GMC coLABS portfolio company in Africa for Gray Matters Capital after A.R.E.D in Rwanda (2017) and Ghana’s Redbird Health Tech (2018).

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GMC coLABS continues to accept applications from innovative and scalable for-profit, early-stage companies that improve the lives of women and girls with their products and services.

Business Post gathered that the American company decided to invest in the Nigerian firm because it was interested in reducing the incidence of pregnancy related deaths in rural Nigeria.

According to reports, about one in 13 women in Nigeria die during pregnancy and childbirth due their inability to access affordable diagnostic care services.

Already, SonoCare has screened over 26,000 women from 17 rural communities and has detected over 15,000 high-risk pregnancies.

The company has helped low-income, rural women save $626,568 in costs that could have prevented them from seeking medical help.

NOTE: The exchange rate used in this story was N360/$ at the parallel market in Nigeria.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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