The health sector in Africa is still in a state of flux. Access to healthcare is often seen as a privilege. And the quality of care and medical skills are often lacking on the continent. This situation has a real impact on the quality of life of many people. Fortunately, a number of innovative initiatives and projects are emerging, with the aim of supporting the development of startups promising. Susu is one of a number of dynamic young companies that, armed with advanced technologies, aim to make it easier for people to access health care for African residents. In this Fanaka Story, we invite you to discover this start-up and learn more about its vision and impact.
Creating an innovative solution from a personal tragedy
Generally speaking, a need is often at the origin of the most impactful companies. Susu is no exception to this rule, as it was founded in response to a specific need, motivated primarily by a painful event. And indeed, Bola BardetThe company's founder, who was a student in France at the time, learned of the death of her father in circumstances that she felt could have been avoided. This happened in 2017, when her father, who was still in Benin and suffering from a heart condition, succumbed to his illness for lack of a heart surgeon on the spot, even though a medical evacuation to France had been recommended. It was during this period of grief that Bola realised that her story was probably not unique. Armed with her MBA in entrepreneurship and her master's degree in management, she finally decided to enter the insurtech and healthtech.
That's how Susu came into being. This young innovative company, present in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon and Francehas developed a unique digital platform for the African diaspora. Susu offers health cover solutions for the relatives of members of this diaspora living in Africa. It is important to note that health insurance penetration rate on the continent is very low, at just 3%. What's more, less than half the population has access to adequate healthcare. It is in this context that Susu's proposal proves to be both comprehensive and useful, filling a real gap. The start-up offers personalised health packages as well as local or international insurancewhich can cover up to 90% of medical expenses. In this way, Susu actively contributes to Sustainable Development Goals, in particular to Objective 3, which aims to ensure good health and promote well-being for all, at all ages.
How does Susu work?
Susu, the start-up founded and run by the Franco-Beninese entrepreneur, offers a wide range of healthcare services and also operates as a broker. Thanks to its innovative digital platform, this young company offers medical service packages designed to meet the needs of everyone, but particularly of people with disabilities diabetes, hypertension and pregnant women. In Africa, this target population often encounters difficulties in accessing appropriate healthcare, which would enable them to benefit from rigorous monitoring of their state of health.
As mentioned above, Susu is mainly used by members of the diaspora to finance or co-finance these offers for their relatives in their country of origin. In reality, these services are not always available in Africa. For example, through Susu, a pregnant woman can benefit from antenatal or postnatal consultations, home visits by a midwife and regular check-ups. They also have access to exclusive resources, such as articles and preventive content on pregnancy, as well as a chat service to ask questions and express concerns.
The financing of this system also stands out for its innovative nature. Only a tiny fraction of the money sent each year by the diaspora to the continent actually finds its way into quality healthcare for the beneficiaries. With this in mind, Susu has set itself the task of remedying this problem by simplifying access to quality healthcare for the entire population. Health insurance is available from as little as 30 euros a month, and health packages from as little as 45 euros a month. If you are a member of the diaspora, you can pass on the benefits to your family and friends by subscribing to the service via the SUSU platform and choosing the insurance or package you need. On the other hand, when the beneficiary is in Africa, the start-up's team on the ground meets the patient for a medical check-up. If the resulting quote is accepted by the person living abroad, the treatment can begin.
Early growth guaranteed by significant fund-raising
Fundraising is often a salutary experience for young start-ups. They enable them to enter new phases of growth. Susu, too, has been through a number of these, enabling the innovative young company to diversify its offerings and expand its activities. In October 2022, three years after winning the Sanofi Challenge at the Vivatech forum, the insurtech announced that it had raised 1 million $ to finance the start of its growth. The funds were raised from venture capitalists, and enabled the company to step up its expansion in countries such as Senegal and Cameroon.
Before that, 1.2 million $ was obtained via a loan and grant mechanism coordinated by Bpifrance, the French public bank focused on private sector financing and development. This was in March 2022. Thanks to these various financial resources, Susu has been able to increase its credibility, which was sometimes called into question by the targets of its service. Today, the start-up is a benchmark and a pioneer in the sector.
Susu is a revolutionary start-up that enables members of the diaspora to finance healthcare services for their loved ones back in Africa. Its work is pioneering and so useful that we at Fanaka&Co wish the start-up even more opportunities for growth.