About us

A partner of Villgro Innovations Foundation in India, Villgro Kenya is an early-stage social enterprise incubator that supports innovative businesses in the healthcare and life sciences sector.

Supporting business.

Villgro Kenya supports early-stage, innovation-based, for-profit social enterprises in the healthcare and life sciences sector by providing incubation services.

Sustainable solutions.

Villgro Kenya helps bring global health innovations to market through social entrepreneurship to promote sustainable health impact in Kenya and the East African Community bloc.

Bringing experience.

Working at the interface of science and industry, Villgro Kenya brings years of experience in R&D/academia and entrepreneurship in the region that is relevant to global health technology development and go-to market strategies.

Incubation Services

Mentoring

High-touch mentorship to entrepreneurs through a structured, market focused incubation plan. Take your business to the next level with professional advice from experts.

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Funding

Support to enterprises focused on health issues to address the most significant needs of the business. Get the capital injection you need to grow your business.

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Networks

Access to networks of healthcare and product development experts, downstream investors, and strategic partners who will help you in your entrepreneurial journey.

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News

ASME ISHOW 2018 Names Kenyan Winners
ConnectMed offering FREE Screening for Diabetes & Hypertension
Flare Seals Emergency Response Deal with Uber
Pregmum to provide solution to fetal and maternal mortality

The Team

  • Rob Beyer

    Executive Chairman

    robert

    Rob brings a unique combination of seasoned experience in business and social entrepreneurship, education and technology. Rob is a visionary leader who has lived in Kenya for the past 11 years and is fully aware of the unique challenges that Kenyans face seeking sustainable livelihoods within the East African context.

  • Dr. Robert Karanja

    Co-founder and CEO

    robert

    Robert serves as the CEO, Villgro Kenya where he is spearheading the replication of the Villgro incubation model of social entrepreneurship and impact investment in the healthcare and life sciences industry. He has over 10 years of experience in global health R&D as a biomedical scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) where he discovered his passion for impacting peoples’ lives through science and innovation.

  • Wilfred Njeru

    Co-founder and CIO

    robert

    Wilfred brings in diverse experience having lived and worked in Middle East, Asia and Africa and travelled to 8 countries. His first immersion into startup and incubation world came while pitching his idea to a Jordanian based incubator, OASIS500. He went on to do a one year Villgro fellowship in India after which he took up the challenge of scaling Villgro to Africa.

  • Paul Belknap

    Chief Operating Officer

    robert

    Paul Belknap is COO, Villgro Kenya. Paul has diverse experience in both product development and social business incubation. Most recently, he spent three and a half years building the Villgro India health portfolio by sourcing pipeline, leading diligence and portfolio management for multiple companies.

  • GIbson Muriuki

    Incubation Program Manager

    robert

    Gibson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Arts (Economics) from the University of Nairobi. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA K) . He previously worked as a freelancing Accounts and Tax Consultant for SMEs and a junior financial analyst at Fledge-Africa, a financial consulting company providing investment readiness and fund raising support for Villgro Kenya’s portfolio,where he discovered his passion for due diligence and financial modelling

  • Ordia Akelo

    Communications Assistant

    robert

    Ordia Akelo is an ardent digital communicator with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics Media and Communication from Moi University. She was awarded a Climate Tracker Fellowship as a Climate journalist in 2016 & 2017. She has a knack for building brands through simplicity; has worked as a writer, editor and managed websites & social media sites for Standard Media Group and the African Network for Internationalisation of Education. 

  • Kevin Muite

    Investment Manager

    robert

    Dr. Kevin Muite is an Investment Manager with Villgro Kenya. Kevin holds a PhD in Immunology from the University of Chicago and a former consultant for large pharmaceutical clients. He began his scientific career in Durban South Africa researching HIV at the Doris Duke Medical Center at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal during his undergraduate years. He spent a year conducting research at Virginia Tech as an NIH postbaccalaureate fellow researching mucosal immunology. ​

  • Rob Beyer
  • Dr. Robert Karanja
  • Wilfred Njeru
  • Paul Belknap
  • GIbson Muriuki
  • Ordia Akelo
  • Kevin Muite

Our Facts

Our process is our product.

Our Portfolio

  • Afya Poa

    Pre-scale Stage

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    Afya Poa



    • Category: Insurance
    • Stage: Pre-scale

    About the company

    PAIN: Only 10% of Kenya’s population enjoys the benefits of health insurance. The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) coverage makes up 70% of the market share and patronage is mostly limited to those in formal employment. Whereas public health facilities are affordable, they are beset by frequent stock outs, understaffing and negative perception of quality of healthcare due to chronic underfunding. This perception presents a significant barrier to access of healthcare, with 44% of Kenyans who are ill but do not choose to seek care, citing costs as a barrier for accessing desirable (private sector) healthcare. 

    OPPORTUNITY: The Kenya Welfare Association, the umbrella organization for all informal workers’ welfare associations boasting over 9 mn member, has partnered with Insurance For All (IFA) to deliver a microinsurance product targeting their membership. IFA’s product, Afya Poa, offers inpatient, outpatient and maternity health covers in collaboration with Tier 2 and Tier 3 private clinics and hospitals that provide quality care that is appropriately priced for mass market. Faith based and social enterprise focused healthcare providers have expressed strong interest in Afya Poa as a strategic partner for increased patronage.

    BUSINESS STRATEGY: Afya Poa leverages mobile technology platforms for real time claims management on the supply side and works closely with the Jua Kali Federation by using its members as insurance agents to gain market share.

    GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACT:  To provide an affordable and accessible insurance solution that can meet the needs of the poor and underinsured.

     

  • ENZI HEALTHCARE

    Pre-scale stage

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    ENZI HEALTHCARE



    • Category: Healthcare Financing
    • Stage: Pre-scale

    About the company

    PAIN: Only 10% of Kenyans are covered by contributory schemes and as such affordable healthcare poses a significant challenge for majority of Kenyans as they rely on donations from family and friends during medical emergencies. Further, quality healthcare remains a reserve of the rich as the working poor mostly frequent public health facilities that are often understaffed, under equipped or simply too far, out of reach.

    OPPORTUNITY: Providing quality and affordable primary healthcare is increasingly being taken up by the private sector and social enterprises as the demand continues to outstrip the public sector development.

    BUSINESS STRATEGY: Tiba Healthcare is providing quality affordable healthcare with a difference – you can prepay to patronize their services! This health maintenance organization (HMO) based approach allows for risk pooling at the community level, making health services affordable to low income earners.

    GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACT: Quality, affordable primary healthcare that effectively addresses health conditions at the onset and prevents morbidity and death arising from delayed health seeking behavior.

  • MamaOpe

    Pre-Product

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    MamaOpe



    • Category: Pneumonia Screening Device
    • Stage: Pre-Product

    About the company

    PAIN: According to Unicef, pneumonia accounts for almost one million child deaths worldwide every year; 922,000 in 2015 which is 16% of total deaths among children under five years of age. In Uganda, Unicef estimates that the disease kills up to 24,000 children under-five every year, many of whom were misdiagnosed with malaria

    OPPORTUNITY: “Mama-Ope” (Mother’s Hope): a biomedical smart jacket detects and analyses pneumonia symptoms among children, with the aim of providing more accurate diagnosis. The jacket diagnoses, measures the extent to which the disease has affected the lungs and also tracks the progress of the disease. The jacket, can diagnose pneumonia up to three times faster than a doctor and reduces human error

    BUSINESS STRATEGY: Once certification is secured, the team intends to do mass production and supply the jacket to countries in East Africa

    GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACT: Saving the lives of children under the age of 5 who are at risk of losing their lives to pneumonia.

  • Matibabu | Medical Device | Pre-Product Stage Uganda

    Pre-Product Stage

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    Matibabu | Medical Device | Pre-Product Stage Uganda



    • Category: Healthcare Financing
    • Stage: Pre-Product

    About the company

    PAIN: Last year, Malaria killed 20, 691 persons in Kenya alone. Because malaria's symptoms often mimic other diseases, it is often under-diagnosed in areas where incidence is rare. Conversely, in endemic areas many people diagnosed with malaria may have the indicative parasite loads, but are in fact suffering from a different disease or condition. The presence of parasites doesn't necessarily indicate disease and many people in high-transmission areas learn to tolerate parasitemia.

     

    Current Gold standards have their own limitation. Microscopy is labor intensive and the detection threshold is limited to good quality blood films, highly trained microscopists & high powered m’scopes. On the other hand, RDTs cannot provide a quantitative measure of parasitemia

     

    OPPORTUNITY:  Matibabu is a pocket-sized hardware device that uses combination of a beam of red-light and magnetism to detect malaria parasites in tissues. The technology has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis of malaria because it is simple to use, non-invasive, low cost and highly sensitive way for rapidly screening hundreds of people per day. There is an opportunity to bring more partners on board who can help to further refine the product to a “market ready” state.

     

    BUSINESS STRATEGY: Matibabu will target government as the main anchor customer segment. Based out of Makerere University, they have access to malaria geared donor community like Global Fund, USAID, Gates Foundation and PMI (President Malaria Initiative). Since 2008, PMI has procured and distributed over 300 microscopes, almost 12.6 million RDTs, and supported strengthening of diagnostics by training over 4,700 healthcare workers.

     

    GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACT: In addition the fact that it does not require blood drawing devices means it can be used in primary care settings in very hard to reach and understaffed areas.

  • HEALTH E-NET | Health Care Access

    Pre-Revenue Stage

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    HEALTH E-NET | Health Care Access



    • Category: Healthcare Financing
    • Stage: Pre-Revenue

    About the company

    PAIN: There are over 9,000 healthcare facilities in Kenya serving a population of over 45 million citizens. Most of the care is delivered by Non-Physician Clinicians (nurses and clinical officers). The clinicians lack the necessary support required to deliver the best care possible as a result of routine care not being guideline based because of poor support and inadequate documentation, and lack of readily available physicians for complicated cases.   

    OPPORTUNITY: Through the Paper EMR, which is a unique paper based interface for generating electronic medical records, clinicians are able to document case management while interacting with patients, data entered can be extracted in a digital form, the data can be analyzed forming the basis of improved quality health care.

     

    The Gabriel is an innovative, low-cost tele-consultations platform which allows local providers to easily create and share digital medical information with a global network of highly skilled professionals in addressing complicated cases.

    GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACT: With Paper EMR and the Gabriel, patients who would ordinarily not access quality healthcare would get a chance to do so at an affordable rate.

  • Rescue by Flare

    Emergency Response

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    Rescue by Flare



    About the company

    PAIN: Nairobi has 20 emergency rooms and clinics, as well as at least 100 ambulances in operation in the city of about 3 million—well above the rate the World Health Organization recommends of 1 ambulance per 50,000 people. Flare Emergency Response Services, an emergency response technology company works with different providers in Nairobi to put the best emergency responders onto the same map.

    OPPORTUNITY: Through its innovative tracking and dispatching systems, Flare is able to see real-time, and with real-time traffic estimates, the closest ambulances to you and your fastest route to care. Subscribers call one hotline during a medical emergency, from which they are instantly connected to a large network of quality providers. The medical team is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and ensures help within 15 minutes

    BUSINESS STRATEGY: Flare is already expanding to the areas surrounding Nairobi, and is looking to expand to Mombasa and Kisumu as well as a number of Kenyan counties during the year. They have partnered with Uber and Taxify to offer Emergency Response service to their clients.

    GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACT:  Saving lives through swift response in the event of an emergency thus reducing the number of lives lost to medical emergencies annually.

  • Clinic Pesa

    Pre-Revenue Stage

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    Clinic Pesa



    About the company

    PAIN: Community bias towards Health insurance as locals do not re-subscribe to insurance plans after loss of their annual unused insurance premium. ClinicPesa provides access to healthcare financing that is more affordable and convenient than traditional health insurance, through a digital mobile micro loans and savings platform dedicated to offset medical bills and purchase drugs in time of need.

    OPPORTUNITY: More than 80 million people in East Africa are without affordable health insurance and therefore without healthcare. ClinicPesa tries to fill the gap between healthcare and uninsured with an affordable and accessible mobile healthcare platform. The product provides a savings platform with access to health credit..

    BUSINESS STRATEGY: ClinicPesa plans to run the model in Uganda and Kenya while learning about user uptake with a focus on integration and cross border health protection before replicating the same model in the other East African Community partner states.

    GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACT:  Making healthcare affordable and accessible, by promoting preparedness for sickness and changing perspectives on health insurance.

  • ConnectMed

    Tele-Consultation

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    ConnectMed



    About the company

    Pre-revenue Stage

    PAIN: Healthcare in Kenya is both scarce given too few doctors, as well as inaccessible due to cost, location, and limited available hours. Patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension & diabetes are unable to manage their condition effectively due to the high cost and logistics.

    OPPORTUNITY: ConnectMed allows patients to access consultations with medical professionals via video link. Licenced practitioners are available for same-day consultations, and can provide prescriptions, sick-notes, and referrals. For doctors, the service allows them more flexibility and control over their work hours. ConnectMed provides lightweight, affordable and effective chronic disease management using a combination of intelligent, virtual interventions and monitoring, plus physical testing and medication.

    BUSINESS STRATEGY: Partnering with Kenya’s largest pharmacy chain, Kenya’s largest private health insurer, and some of Kenya’s largest clinics to provide consultation services and health monitoring to clients.

    GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACT:  To provide an affordable and accessible health consultations to clients and help improve lives of patients living with hypertension and diabetes.

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*Normal price: $1.99 per plugin per month.

The magic plan

Unlimited apps
Unlimited traffic
Statistics
Premium plugins included
48h email support

$35/month

$50, if paid annually

*Normal price: $1.99 per plugin per month.

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