If you went back to East Africa today with a $100K check in hand, what would you look for?
Innovative global health models…
… Often combine healthcare delivery and technology. Healthcare delivery is complex, and our trip attendees found that technology-based business models can be effective tools for simplifying systems, streamlining delivery, and scaling health interventions. Michelle Schwartz was impressed by TotoHealth, which uses text messages to deliver critical healthcare information to new and soon-to-be parents across Kenya.
“They’re using SMS technology to maximize the reach and effect of community health work, which better promotes prenatal care, safe birthing, and well-child care even in the most rural areas,”
… Might not look like health at first glance. Jim Davidson, IC Board chair, reminds us to look beyond the health sector to find industries and companies that have a significant impact on the health of global communities.
“For example, water equals health in so many ways. If we could make clean, safe drinking water accessible to all, we’d eliminate many of the problems that require medical attention today,”
… Innovate on investment models as well. Healthcare delivery via health clinics was a core focus for Investor Days: Nairobi, and we found many exciting examples of clinics that bring quality healthcare to Kenyan communities. However, concerns emerged about the exit potential for clinic models: What is scale? How big do clinic networks need to grow? Are there prospective acquirers? A visit with Jacaranda Health, a network of maternal and child hospitals in peri-urban areas, inspired Stephanie Wilson to bring her US medical real estate background into her global health impact investing strategy. “Good investments are not all about equity. Jacaranda has a strong model, superior care, and the potential to grow. Obtaining and outfitting their facilities is a huge challenge, so structuring this investment around real estate could help them where they need it most and create an interesting risk/return profile for an investor as well,” says Wilson. Look beyond traditional notions of equity and debt to real estate and revenue-based financing as appropriate capital solutions for compelling global health enterprises.
Compelling global health entrepreneurs…
… Are internationally savvy. Global health entrepreneurship is a tall order: companies need to understand healthcare delivery, how to grow a sustainable business, and the emerging markets in which they operate. Our trip attendees discovered that Kenya has a growing population that has developed medical and business skills around the world and returned home to build global healthcare companies in the communities they know best. Stephanie Wilson was impressed by Jacaranda Health as a business and by its Chief Medical Officer Faith Muigai, highlighting that “she’s a Kenyan-born, US-trained doctor and business woman who is bringing 20+ years working in the US health system back to Kenya and building a management team that balances the business side of Jacaranda’s hospital system.” Look for entrepreneurs and management teams that understand both their models and their markets.
… Have relationship potential.
“Fundamentally, investing is all about trust, and trust is built from relationships,”
IC members have found and invested in global health companies in East Africa and are calling for more impact investors to get involved. Bill Harrington shares,
“I don’t want this to be merely hypothetical. I’m doing it, I have plans to go back, and I’d love for you to join me.”