[Ghana] Healthtech startup Berry Health raises $1.6m to combat health stigmas in Africa
Ghanaian health tech startup Berry Health has raised $1.6 million in a pre-seed funding round. The funding round saw participation from large-scale U.S. fund Lightspeed Ventures and General Catalyst, with the former marking its debut investment in Africa, thereby indicating the rising potential of this market.
Other significant contributors include Jen Wong, COO of Reddit; Demetri Karagas and Steven Gutentag, co-founders of Thirty Madison; Ed and Betsy Zimmerman, a New York tech attorney and V.C.; and Regina Benjamin, former U.S. Surgeon General.
The $1.6 million funding is a substantial financial infusion that will enable Berry Health to enhance further and broaden its health tech platform. This investment primarily aims to confront the widespread stigma associated with mental and sexual health in Africa. Berry Health is on a mission to transform the region’s healthcare landscape by providing non-judgmental services that employ technology to overcome stigma-based barriers.
Several compelling factors led investors to back Berry Health. The continent’s alarming STI and mental health statistics are one of the main concerns. Currently just behind Southeast Asia in STI prevalence, Africa witnesses over 80 million reported cases yearly. Alongside this, Africa’s suicide rate, which is around 11 per 100,000 people annually, is higher than the global average, per the World Health Organization. These distressing figures underscore the pressing need for addressing mental and sexual health matters in the region.
A Look at Berry Health
Incepted merely a few months ago, Berry Health aims to disrupt the healthcare sector by tackling the prevalent stigma surrounding sexual and mental health in Africa. Fredua Akosa, a British-Ghanaian medical doctor and the founder and CEO, was moved to establish Berry Health in the wake of a marked rise in mental health conditions and stigmatized healthcare during the pandemic.
Berry Health’s platform facilitates remote diagnosis and treatment of conditions like anxiety, depression, sexual health matters, dermatology, and hair loss. Users can engage in online consultations with certified medical doctors or clinical psychologists, receive personalized treatment regimens, and conveniently get medications delivered to their doorstep, thereby preventing the need for physical appointments and the associated stigma.
Berry Health operates on a subscription model, with an annual fee of 299GH ($26) for unlimited access to its services, a cost-effective alternative to conventional healthcare charges in Ghana. Consultations will cost $5 per session, making healthcare more accessible and affordable. Berry Health’s executive team comprises professionals from diverse backgrounds, including stints at notable companies like WPP, Instacart, and Babylon Health. The startup has instituted a medical advisory board featuring gynecologists, dermatologists, and various specialists to ensure medical expertise.
When it comes out of stealth mode, which will likely happen at the end of the next month, Berry Health plans to first serve customers in Ghana. But its goals go beyond borders; the company wants to make a big difference in healthcare across Africa.