The highly anticipated Merck-Make IT “Joint Africa Startup Program”, which recently held its bootcamp in Nairobi from August 5th-9th, 2019, has successfully closed with the selection of four unique growth-stage healthcare ventures. They will be moving now on to the next phase of the programme with the support of the Merck Accelerator, Make-IT in Africa, and HYBR Group.

The week-long programme organized by Merck Accelerator, Make-IT in Africa, and HYBR Group attracted 19 innovative healthcare founders from nine different countries (Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda). For these participants, the bootcamp was an opportunity to design their businesses for scale with impact scale-up partner HYBR  and to connect with Merck and Make-IT in Africa’s powerful network of experts and alumni.

The bootcamp was an exciting mix of interactive class-room trainings, work-out sessions, a visit to Merck’s primary healthcare center, CURAFA™, and pitch preparations. On the final day of the bootcamp 19 ventures pitched their solutions to six seasoned judges representing Merck, Make-IT in Africa, HYBR Group, and investors from Viktoria Ventures and Asia Africa Consulting & Investment.

The four remarkable ventures selected for scale are Akili Labs, Chekkit Technologies, Bluewave Insurance, and Epilert. This 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 Merck Accelerator, Make-IT in Africa, and HYBR, 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, exhibitions at the South African Innovation Summit and Medica Trade Fair, as well as joining the Accelerator’s Selection Days at the Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Germany.

More About the Ventures

AKILI LABS (South Africa) – Akili Labs is a start-up with modular, connected smart point of care molecular diagnostics systems for field medical practitioners & in research laboratories.

BLUEWAVE INSURANCE (Kenya) – Bluewave Insurance is a microinsurance startup that’s increasing the accessibility to health products and services, making insurance more accessible and available for low income earners.

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

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

About Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 52,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene- editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – Merck is everywhere.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the “Merck” name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials.

The Merck Accelerator

The Merck Accelerator program supports startups with the final objective of partnering up with them. Merck is looking for real partners so that we can work together in shaping the future. Selected companies receive mentoring and in-depth coaching from a network comprised of experts from 66 countries opening up opportunities for start-ups’ future collaboration with Merck and helping to introduce startups to the contacts they need to close their first deals.

Additionally, the startup teams benefit from financial support as well as from work space at the Merck Innovation Centre in Darmstadt, where they can develop product prototypes and exchange ideas with other startup teams and Merck experts. More info here (

About HYBR Group

HYBR is a Pan African growth platform for African impact scale-ups. We work with a wide range of stakeholders (corporations, governments, nonprofits and investors) to discover, design and deploy solutions to solve challenges in diverse sectors such as Agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Financial Inclusion and Energy.


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