Imperial Innovation Fund Participates in Closing $1.5M Seed Round for Health-tech Startup Redbird

The Imperial Innovation Venture Fund, a partnership with Newtown Partners, together with Johnson & Johnson Foundation, participated in a USD1.5M seed round for Ghana-based health tech startup, Redbird, bringing total funding raised to date to USD2M.

Redbird enables patients in Ghana to easily manage their health through 5-minute medical tests offered through community pharmacies. Patients can also access their digital health records from anywhere via Redbird’s app.

According to Redbird Co-Founder and CEO, Patrick Beattie, the future of disease burden in Africa will be chronic disease, with diseases such as diabetes projected to grow by 156% over the next 25 years. For patients and healthcare professionals to properly track and manage chronic illnesses, healthcare needs to be decentralized and much more convenient, with the ability for a patient’s health information to follow them wherever they go. Redbird aims to facilitate the growth of such a system by enabling easy access to convenient testing and ensuring doctors and patients can view the details of those test results at any time.

“We’re thrilled to work with Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures and Newtown Partners. Newtown and Imperial’s expertise in African supply chains, coupled with Johnson & Johnson’s long-standing commitment to improve care for the most vulnerable populations through technology, create a strong support for our vision of revolutionizing health monitoring,” Beattie said.

Today, patients can go to any Redbird partner pharmacy – currently over 350 in Ghana – and register for the platform. They can then access any of ten available rapid tests, which are performed instantly at that pharmacy, and receive results within minutes. These results are saved to their personal Redbird health record, which can be accessed by the patients via their app or at any partner pharmacy. The team also aims to provide doctors with access to these health records under patients’ consent, providing a more complete picture of a patient’s history.

Llew Claasen, Managing Partner of Newtown Partners noted, “We’re excited about Redbird’s decentralised business model that enables rapid diagnostic testing at the point of primary care in local community pharmacies. Redbird’s digital health record platform has the potential to drive significant value to the broader healthcare value chain and is a vital step toward improving healthcare outcomes in Africa. We look forward to supporting the team as they prove out their business model and scale across the African continent.”

The funding will be used to grow Redbird’s operations within Ghana and to expand to new markets.

Redbird officially launched in Ghana in August 2018 and was accepted to the Alchemist Accelerator in Silicon Valley – as part of the April 2018 cohort – as well as to Founders Factory Africa in April 2020.