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  • Rob Heath

Trends in southern African healthcare

​A lot of attention has been given to Fintech – and with due cause. With the rise of blockchain technologies, widespread adoption of the cheap smartphone and stronger encryption methods, the financial sector is open for innovation (or disruption).

In South Africa, we have a world class financial services sector with globally recognized expertise, and our local Fintech innovators look to leverage off this. This is also a claim that we can make about our internationally acknowledged expertise and competitive advantages in other sectors, including the Healthcare space.

So why doesn’t Healthtech create the same buzz? Not sexy enough? Not according to the French. In 2016, France, a country with a socialized healthcare system, invested 100m euros into over 130 Healthtech startups and innovators.

Looking at South Africa’s healthcare environment, we have world class doctors, surgeons, researchers and medical institutions, and the technologies of blockchain, encryption and widespread smartphone adoption could be utilized in the healthcare environment to the same leveraging effect as in the financial sector.

HAVAIC identified healthtech as a strategic sector to invest in earlier this year, and we have been pursuing this as a strategy for some time. Last month Bowmans Law and HAVAIC hosted a seminar on the impact of start-ups and technology on the Southern African Healthcare environment. We hosted entrepreneurs, legal experts, investors, health sector experts and consultants, all of whom participate in the healthcare space.

The four main themes arising from discussions around niche problem areas, spaces ripe for innovation and/or the challenges in implementation were:

  1. Communication, particularly via mobile: patient to doctor, doctor to doctor, patient to doctor’s office, rural doctor to specialist and more.

  2. Diagnostic support: utilization of technologies (mobile, encryption, big data, AI, blockchain) to assist in diagnosis.

  3. Consumerization: informed patients, increasing transparency and choice, ability to individually monitor patients and personalized accessible health records

  4. Regulatory environment: POPI, compliance, potential liabilities of new technologies, use of data and underwriting implications

The level of discussion, the quality of entrepreneur present and the interest from the investors present, validated our position on the South African healthtech environment. In line with HAVAIC's strategy to invest in early stage high growth business's we are in the process of investing in 3 exciting early stage South African Healthtech businesses with global potential.

As a reminder HAVAIC is a professional investment and advisory firm that affords access to our investments to sophisticated investors. Our investment structure allows for new investors to come on board on a deal by deal basis so please do feel to reach out to us if interested in investing in local innovation and being a part of the journey in achieving global elevation with these amazing start-ups.

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