There is no doubt that Africa’s healthcare system faces numerous challenges. These range from a lack of modern and well-equipped medical facilities to shortages of medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, along with insufficient funding for healthcare services. Despite these obstacles, the healthcare sector in Africa presents various investment opportunities. Private healthcare spending per year has surged from $20 billion in 2016 to $45 billion in 2023, combining figures from Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. This represents a remarkable 125% growth over seven years. The average spend per user is $400, with approximately 113 million people annually paying for private healthcare across the three countries.
In response to this landscape, Rivia, a startup that collaborates with clinics to enhance service quality in the healthcare sector, has launched. Rivia’s proposition is straightforward: it aims to provide patients with a “modern experience” by offering loans to partner clinics for upgrading their physical infrastructure and augmenting their inventory. Additionally, Rivia provides partner clinics with a hospital management system to handle patient appointments and bookings, records, payment collection, lab, pharmacy, and related administrative tasks. Crucially, all Rivia partner clinics must adhere to the “Rivia Standards,” a 10-point patient-centric quality guideline. In exchange for its services, Rivia collects a commission from the monthly revenue of the partner clinic. Every clinic in the Rivia network must display its affiliation by allowing co-branding from Rivia.
Rivia is founded by two-time entrepreneur, Isidore Kpotufe, who sold his startup, Stabus, to the Nigeria-born and Canada-based mobility startup Treepz after raising $1.2 million. Isidore states, “Patients have lost trust in Africa’s healthcare system. And technology alone won’t fix that. We need to put the patient first. What is the expectation of the patient? How do we address it? That’s the way to fix it. And I believe with Rivia’s solutions, we are on the right track.”
Eric Osiakwan, Managing Partner of Chanzo Capital, has joined Rivia’s board of directors to provide the right corporate governance as the startup deems it crucial on its journey of sustainable growth. Chanzo Capital is also leading a syndicate to raise $200,000 in pre-seed funding for Rivia. The funds will be used to onboard 10 clinics and provide them with the needed support to scale their business. The investment firm plans to close the round by the end of February. Eric comments, “the healthcare need in Africa is huge and a different model needs to be explored to address the failure of existing healthcare providers and we are confident that the Rivia model is the way to go”.
Onyeka Akumah, Treepz co-founder, and CEO has expressed great excitement about Rivia’s launch by Isidore and says “Isidore was a key team member at Treepz leading our marketing team before he left and established our brand across Africa. Today, he has decided to leave us to build Rivia and I have no doubt that he will succeed in his vision with the team he has assembled. From all of us at Treepz, we wish Isidore success in his new venture and thank him for everything he did with us. In addition, I am happy to accept his invitation to join his advisory board to support the Rivia team with my experience and network as they look to build the largest chain of modern-day healthcare services.”
Rivia currently operates in Ghana with plans to expand to West and East Africa.