Nigeria’s Helpmum, chosen for the Africa Visionary Fund’s fourth batch, receives a $225,000 prize.

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A Nigerian health technology startup, Helpmum, has been awarded a $225,000 grant by the Africa Visionary Fund. This was revealed in a statement sent to Technext by the startup’s founder and CEO, Dr. Abiodun Adereni.

The startup also announced that it is one of 12 visionary partners selected to join the Africa Visionary Fund’s fourth cohort.

“HelpMum has been awarded a $225,000 grant from the Africa Visionary Fund and selected as one of 12 Africa Visionary Partners for Africa Visionary Fund Cohort 4. The Africa Visionary Fund supports high-impact African social entrepreneurs by providing unrestricted grant funding to scale their impact. HelpMum is genuinely honoured to be selected for this impressive cohort of unique organisations,” the CEO said.

He also restated the startup’s commitment to profound innovation, leveraging cutting-edge technology, particularly artificial intelligence, to shape the future of healthcare for pregnant women and nursing mothers on the African continent.

A long list of grants for Helpmum

Founded in 2017 by the Tony Elumelu Foundation alumnus, Abiodun Adereni, HelpMum, an Ibadan-based health technology startup, leverages mobile technology to reduce the mortality rate among pregnant women and infants before, during, and after delivery. It also provides an e-learning platform to train community birth attendants in their indigenous languages.

It also provides a vaccination tracking system where expectant mothers in targeted remote areas are registered to encourage immunisation for their babies.

This grant from the Africa Visionary Fund is the latest in a long lineup of grants dating back to 2017 that Helpmum has received despite never raising VC funds. Its first known grant of $5000 was awarded after emerging as the Top 3 at a Nairobi Health Innovation Challenge. Not long afterwards, it was awarded another $5000 grant by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, signalling the start of a long history of attracting grants.

In 2018, Helpmum won its first significant sum of $250,000 in grants from the Google Impact Challenge.

In 2019, the health technology startup was awarded $250,000 after winning the Facebook Community Accelerator. It was one of 24 winners selected in all, with four (4) startups chosen from each of the six regions represented: Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, North America, and Asia Pacific.

Following the pandemic of 2020, the startup was the only African startup selected as part of only four global winners for the 2021 Waislitz Global Citizen Award. Awarded in August 2021, the prize was targeted at companies with some of the best COVID-19 responses and HelpMum would receive $50,000 as part of winning the award.

Earlier in June, the startup made the news as the only Nigerian startup selected among 30 others around the world for Google Social Impact Funding. Selected into the public health category, it remained unclear how much it was eventually awarded. However, startups have been known to attract more than $500,000 from the fund.

In September 2022, the maternal health startup was awarded a $250,000 grant by the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation to support its deployment of an AI-Driven Vaccine Intervention Optimiser (ADVISER) in Nigeria. The startup became the first Nigerian company to receive that grant.

All in all, the startup, which has never raised VC funding, may have received more than a million dollars in grants. And speaking on what makes the company attractive to these donors, CEO Adereni told Nairametrics that it all boils down to the “great work and evident impact of our work at Helpmum.”

“Upon receiving any grant, we take full responsibility to ensure that we share a regular update with our donors and funders. A YouTube channel was also put in place to showcase the impact of our work, which also helps funders find us. We are also very innovative in the approach we are using to solve the problem of maternal and infant mortality, which gets donors excited to support our work,” he said.