Diagnostic healthtech startup, MDaaS, secured a $2.3 million seed extension funding and added a new product feature to its array called SentinelX.
Early-stage VC firm, Newton Partners, led the round, with participation from CRI Foundation, FINCA Ventures, Techstars and Future Africa
Founded in 2016 by Co-founder and CEO, Oluwasoga Oni, MDaaS is on a mission to create easy access to diagnostic and preventive care for Nigerians.
Per TechCrunch, Oni revealed that the idea for MDaaS came when, as an MIT student, he and some classmates were asked to develop something that could impact a billion lives.
Born to a doctor father who ran a 30-patient hospital and seeing firsthand the problem of finding good and affordable medical equipment, he knew just the right idea to run with.
Alongside Opeyemi Ologun and Genevieve Oni, MDaaS Global was born. They began by bringing secondary medical equipment into Nigeria from the US, offering service support, and then distributing it to hospitals via outright sale, rent, or lease.
The founders ran with this business model for a while, until it occurred to them what the actual problem was.
They realised that purchasing medical equipment was a waste of money because, more often than not, patients couldn’t afford to pay for services rendered.
Deciding to change their model, they switched to building diagnostic centres in communities with inadequate clinical services and finding out the equipment needed by small and medium-sized hospitals in that area.
Their first diagnostic centre was launched in Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria. And since then, they’ve built six other centres located in different Nigerian cities.
They have a wide range of medical offerings, from digital X-ray and ultrasound to electrocardiogram (ECG) and other laboratory services.
The idea for SentinelX came when the company was screening COVID-19 patients. They found out that although some patients didn’t have the disease, they had underlying health conditions like high blood pressure that they weren’t aware of.
Realising the need for a customer-focused product, they built SentinelX, enabling users to run through a series of tests with 60 or 70 biomarkers to check for individual susceptibility to a wide range of diseases.
For a one-off payment of ₦35,000 ($85.05), users can access a doctor for a year. Post-screening, MDaaS has a unique care plan to address customers’ health concerns.
Currently, SentinelX is running in private beta, with plans for the product to go live in September 2021.
This funding will be channelled toward building more diagnostic centres in Nigeria.
For the big picture, the startup is looking to be one of Nigeria’s three largest diagnostic centres.
Although a timeline wasn’t disclosed, MDaaS is considering a pan-African expansion, serving a million patients per year, and operating 100 centres across the continent by 2025.
Though proper diagnosis plays a crucial role in preventing and curing diseases, the equipment necessary to carry it out is usually unaffordable for small and medium-sized hospitals in most African communities.
With more technological startups branching out to create a sustainable medium for diagnostics and healthcare, more people might have easy access in Africa.