Matibabu, a Ugandan based hardware device company will be graduating from the Villgro Kenya incubation program. Matibabu partnered with Villgro Kenya in 2016 at a time when Villgro Kenya was looking to take a more structured and hands-on approach of engaging with startups in the health domain in East Africa.
With the objective to tap into Villgro Kenya’s global startup ecosystem, Matibabu was able to have direct access to high-potential partnerships that fit their key focus area: closing the gap between communities and access to basic healthcare.
Since the incubation started, Matibabu has received hands-on mentorship and access to large platform pitches, including the Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges. They also worked with Makerere University, under Villgro Kenya’s guidance, to conduct a pre-clinical study support and protocol design, and then to conduct the study itself. The pre-clinical trial was carried out at the molecular lab in Mulago on the selected sample size and compared with the existing malaria screening techniques such as PCR, Microscopy, and rapid diagnostic testing (RDT), resulting in conclusive results.
The partnership featured frequent capacity-building support, one-on-one sessions, monthly diagnostic panels, a scientific review committee, and educational degrees to enhance Matibabu’s business approach.
Additionally, Matibabu managed to collaborate with a list of foundations and organizations during Villgro Kenya’s incubation period. These include Lemelson Foundation, ASME’s iSHOW, Gates Foundation, mHealth Kenya, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN), and Makerere University. The collaboration also gave Matibabu the opportunity to leverage on several networks, both at the local and international levels.
Their next steps include getting through large-scale trials and scaling the malaria digital platform that is currently in 50 hospitals and reaching the next milestone of over 200 hospitals.
It has been a learning experience for the Matibabu team, which has had insights into innovation and collaboration with both the public and private sectors for early-stage medical device development.