LifeBank, a startup described as Nigeria’s digital blood bank, says it has attracted new funds totaling $200,000 that would empower it to expand its services across the country.
The funds are planned for it to roll out its services in the next 18 months, it said. It comes only two years after the start-up was established and funds have come from investors such as Echo VC, a Lagos-based venture capital firm and Fola Laoye, an angel investor with over 20 years of experience in Nigeria’s healthcare industry.
The fund round also saw participation from Co-Creation Hub, Nigeria’s leading tech hub where LifeBank has been incubated since launch, through its Growth Capital fund, which targets social innovation startups.
Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder of LifeBank, said since its establishment, the company has transported over $360,000 worth of products and has earned revenues of nearly $100,000 from charging a fee for delivery. Using WHO-approved equipment, 9,000 pints of blood has been transported. The company has plans to expand and start off operations in Abuja and Kaduna, Nigeria.
While LifeBank has mostly served the private sector partners in Lagos, Temie says launching in northern states in Nigeria, with private health services not being as ample as it is in the country’s major southern cities, will give the business crucial experience in working in a public-sector led market.
She said Kaduna is being used as a model of what they can achieve in the market, as a significant part of the market will be covered by working with the government.
While the health sector is filled with many stories, the country’s tech-based startup scene has been boosted in the last two years with a large share of funding going to fintech and e-commerce companies. The health sector has received little attention where technology or new business models can be used to improve the acknowledged broken system.
While private hospitals gets improvements, government-owned clinics are held down by lack of funding leading to frequent doctor strikes. In the midst of this, LifeBank says it sees an important opportunity in making sure patients who need blood can get it as and when due.
Temie said LifeBank will also begin moving other health products that are often in shortage in local hospitals. With the aid of its existing model it has used for delivering blood, the firm plans to start delivering medical oxygen, vaccines and antivenom.
By Abdulrafiu Edidi
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