Villgro Kenya incubator and impact investor has rebranded as Villgro Africa to help expand across the continent as it bids to support more e-health startups.
The India-based Villgro Innovations Foundation expanded to Africa in 2017 with the launch of Villgro Kenya, an early-stage business incubator and impact investor that offers mentoring, funding and access to networks to startups in the healthcare and life sciences sector in East Africa.
Since getting into the Kenyan Market, Villgro Kenya has been a member of Nairobi Garage. To date, Villgro Kenya has enabled access to healthcare to those at the bottom of the pyramid and has deployed close to USD 1 million dollars in SEED capital to over 20 enterprises. The companies have gone on to unlock over USD 10.4 million cumulatively in follow on funding, with total revenues of over USD 2.4 million, and touching about 2 million lives in East Africa.
As part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Villgro also funded 11 innovative startups that have made significant contributions to the resilience of Kenya’s health system.
Villgro is now scaling to the rest of Africa, and has rebranded for that purpose. Chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder Wilfred Njagi said the goal was to impact health ventures across the African continent.
“In the next five years, we will be scaling deep, scaling wide and scaling equitably. Part of scaling broad will be taking on a bold initiative to collaborate with local and regional hubs in joint incubation initiatives, while scaling wide will be deepening the level of support offered to enterprises,” he said.
The new Villgro Africa will work with African founders to better package their stories in order to attract investor interest, and will also assist them in addressing the social-cultural barriers that hinder them from raising capital as well as legal due diligence risks. Part of
this will include helping them address the social-cultural barriers that hinder them from raising capital, as well as legal due diligence risks that make it harder for investors to put money in local founders.
To that effect, Villgro has started a podcast series that seeks to unearth some of the underlying issues.
Another goal is to address the gender gap, while it will also help in building bridges to help startups, funders, and investors to scale their reach and impact more cost-effectively.
“As we scale wide, we will also be deepening the level of support offered to enterprises using an evidence-based approach to see which interventions are helping startups win,” said Njagi.
In September, Dr Robert Karanja handed over CEO ‘baton’ to Mr. Wilfred Njagi. In his maiden speech as the CEO, Mr Njagi stated his four action points which included; Collaboration, Capital Efficiency and maximum social returns, Expansion and Gender Lens Investing
Big for him being collaboration, Njagi stated that moving forward they were reaching out to other donors, actors, incubators, and investors across Africa to increase Villgro’s reach to 100 million lives by 2025.
From us at Nairobi Garage, it is a big congratulations to the Villgro Kenya team as they mark this huge milestone and wishing Mr. Wilfred all the best as he takes up the new role as the CEO.