When Ugandan startup Rocket Health joined Next Health Accelerator (NHA) in March 2021, it was looking to increase its sexual and reproductive health service offering, expand geographically, continually enhance provider quality, become investor ready, and identify investment partners. Rocket Health was an ambitious and focused startup striving to increase its health and wellness impact, which is what attracted Next Health Accelerator to the company.
Launched in 2012, Rocket Health operates a 24/7 telehealth consultation, sample collection, and medicine delivery service that began in Uganda but is now poised to expand across East Africa. Of particular importance is its ability to offer convenient access to quality and reliable sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, tests, and medicines in a discreet manner aligned with patient preferences. Co-founder and Director of Pharmacy Services at Rocket Health, Hope Achiro explained, “We applied for the NHA program because we wanted to see growth, especially in our sexual and reproductive health service offering, which is what NHA specifically focuses on and (so far) it’s really been exciting. We’ve learned a lot.”
Rocket Health’s STI/UTI screenings are the most ordered laboratory services, and family planning items (specifically emergency contraception and condoms) are the most ordered pharmacy items. In its first four months in NHA, Rocket Health conducted over 1,100 SRH teleconsultations, completed over 2,100 SRH laboratory services, and provided over 350 SRH pharmacy products, demonstrating the demand for such services and the potential impact of Rocket Health on sexual and reproductive health across the continent.
Upon selecting Rocket Health to participate in the Next Health Accelerator, co-founders Senam Beheton and Lindsey Simmonds saw early potential. Senam said, “I was particularly impressed by their focus and clear understanding of what they wanted to accomplish in terms of growth for Rocket Health. They equally knew what they wanted from NHA and that was very helpful.” Lindsey continued, “In terms of Sexual and Reproductive Health, we particularly wanted to support the atypical way in which Rocket Health increased access, giving their clients more agency and more confidentiality through telemedicine.”
The bilingual (English and French) Next Health Accelerator recruits female/co-led African startups innovating in the health tech space with a focus on sexual and reproductive health. NHA provides business fundamentals, bespoke support, international mentorship, seed funding and value chain access.
Having started their fundraising campaign while participating in the NHA program, Rocket Health requested introductions to investors as well assistance with investment readiness aspects. The NHA team was able to develop an extensive investors’ mapping, a few soft introductions, and work with the Rocket Health team to improve its deck and fund parts of its ambitious expansion and growth 樂威壯 plan.
“We are so proud of the Rocket Health team for pulling off this fundraising with investors such as Creadev, Grenfell Holdings and LoftyInc Capital Management, and closing the round with $5 million in such a short time” said Awa Sarr, NHA Manager.
Reflecting on his experience at NHA, Dr. Davis Musinguzi, co-founder, and CEO of Rocket Health, says that he received “great constructive feedback on gaps and opportunities to scale the business and deep engagement to get to the next level.” Dr. Musinguzi and team plan to spend the next two years scaling across East Africa and pursuing growth opportunities in West Africa in the long term. As it does for all its alumni, NHA will be there to provide support along the journey.