merck make-it Africa program startups 2019

Meet the 4 Healthcare Startups Selected for the Merck–Make-IT Africa Startup Program

The highly anticipated Africa joint startup program of the Merck Accelerator, in partnership with Make-IT in Africa and Hybr, recently held its bootcamp in Nairobi from 5 to 9 August.

The program has successfully closed with the selection of four unique growth-stage healthcare ventures that will now move onto the next phase of the programme with the support of the Merck Accelerator, Make-IT and the Hybr Group.

The week-long programme attracted 19 innovative healthcare founders from Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda.

For these participants, the bootcamp was a great opportunity to design their businesses for scale with impact scale-up partner Hybr and to connect with Merck Accelerator and GIZ Make-IT in Africa’s powerful network of experts and alumni.

The bootcamp involved an exciting mix of interactive classroom training, work-out sessions, scale-up diagnostics and design-for-scale training. It also included a visit to Merck’s primary healthcare facility, Curafa, as well as pitch preparations.

On the final day of the bootcamp the startups pitched their solutions to six seasoned judges representing Merck Innovation Center, GIZ Make-IT in Africa, HYBR Group and investors from Viktoria Ventures and Asia Africa Investment & Consulting.

The four remarkable startups selected for scale are: Akili Labs, Chekkit Technologies, Bluewave Insurance and Epilert.

Their selection is an opportunity for these founders to explore and validate the potential for collaboration in the health sector in partnership with Merck.

With the support of the partners, these teams will continue their journey to scale their businesses with world-class training, corporate partner experience and showcasing their solutions at a Demo Presentation at Merck in South Africa and exhibitions at the South African Innovation Summit and Medica Trade Fair.

Moreover, these teams will also have the opportunity to join the Merck Accelerator’s Selection Days at the company’s Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Germany in November, giving them the chance among other international startups to qualify and finally be selected for the next Merck Accelerator programme to be held next year.

More about the four selected startups:


    • Akili Labs – Akili Labs is a startup with modular, connected smart point of care molecular diagnostics systems for field medical practitioners and in research laboratories.
      South Africa

    • Bluewave Insurance – Bluewave Insurance is a micro-insurance startup that’s increasing the accessibility to health products and services, making insurance more accessible and available for low-income earners.
      Kenya

    • Chekkit Technologies – Chekkit Technologies is a startup with anti-counterfeit solutions for the food and drug supply-chain by tracking and authenticating every product from producer to consumer.
      Nigeria

    • Epilert – Epilert is a startup with a wearable bracelet with integrated biosensors for Epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
      Tunisia