ImpactAlpha, December 17 – Global Ventures hit the market two years ago with an investment thesis focused on leveraging technology to address basic needs in emerging markets: jobs, access to finance and health, and gender equity. The Dubai-based venture capital firm’s latest investment in Nairobi-based Ilara Health, a diagnostics provider for underserved primary care facilities, signals a doubling-down on healthcare access in particular.
Global Ventures participated in Ilara’s $3.8 million Series A round, which was led by TLcom Capital and backed by DOB Equity and Chandaria Capital.
Roughly 400 million people completely lack access to essential health services, while many millions struggle to reach or pay for quality health services providers.
“We approach health access very much like financial inclusion 10 years ago, when you went from cash to mobile money,” Global Ventures’ Noor Sweid told ImpactAlpha. “Healthcare inclusion is not yet about optimizing care. It’s about how do you go from no doctor to tele-doctor, from no diagnostics to remote diagnostics.”
Global Ventures targets startups in Africa and the Middle East for which more growth equals more impact—an approach embraced by emerging markets-focused predecessors LeapFrog Investments, Elevar Equity and Lok Capital. Ilara, for example, launched last year and has expanded its services from 15 Kenyan clinics to 200 in 2020.
Global Ventures has invested in more than 20 companies from its $50 million first fund. Its healthcare portfolio includes Lagos-based electronic records company Helium Health; Dubai-based Altibbi, which offers Arabic-language health information; and London-based Proximie, a software company enabling surgeons to collaborate virtually.
The firm is now raising its second fund, 50% of which will focus on health tech companies. Capria Ventures backed Global Ventures this week.