Cameroonian health startup Waspito has secured a $2.5 million seed extension from investors, including DP World, Newtown Partners, Saviu Ventures, AAIC Investment, Axian Ventures, and CFAO’s Health54.
The funds are earmarked to support the expansion efforts of Waspito, particularly in the Francophone region.
Waspito, often described as the ‘Facebook for healthcare,’ is a health-focused social network that empowers users across Africa to connect with verified doctors instantly through video calls, breaking away from traditional telemedicine models involving pre-registration and appointment booking.
The startup, founded by Jean Lobe Lobe in early 2020, strategically positioned itself at the intersection of technology and healthcare just before the global health emergency caused by the Covid pandemic. Waspito’s mission is fixed on making quality healthcare accessible to all Africans, especially in regions where the doctor-to-patient ratio is strikingly low.
Waspito’s unique approach allows users to choose from a list of online doctors for immediate video consultations. For medical tests, the platform collaborates with partner laboratories, offering home sample collection services. Waspito has also forged partnerships with local hospitals to ensure seamless transitions for patients requiring further attention or admission.
Jean Lobe Lobe emphasizes the importance of keeping doctors constantly available online. With less than 2 doctors for every 10,000 people in target countries, Waspito aims to bridge the gap by providing a one-stop-shop for all healthcare services. Patients can make payments through various options, including insurance, incentivizing doctors to stay online for extended periods.
The startup, recently honored as the best health startup in Africa at the VivaTech awards has reached 650,000 users in Cameroon and Ivory Coast, onboarded 950 doctors, and facilitated 60,000 consultations. Waspito anticipates further growth with its hybrid model, currently being piloted in Ivory Coast.
The hybrid model involves the establishment of mini-clinics within the branch network of La Poste Corporation, Ivory Coast’s national postal service, providing offline patients with virtual access to doctors and other healthcare services. This innovative approach addresses the challenges of internet and smartphone accessibility in Africa, particularly among underserved populations.
Waspito plans to roll out the hybrid model in Cameroon and Senegal by the end of the first quarter next year. With the support of funds from DP World and other investors, Waspito is focused on making quality medical services readily available to all.