One-line solution summary:
AI tech that triggers and recommends actions to efficiently plan and avail supplies needed in responding to future health crises
Pitch your solution.
Problem: The World Health Organization (WHO) documents most of the Africa regions as having poorly developed health systems which affect the global state of health security. Other significant challenges include inadequate funding and the lack of a holistic framework that supports healthcare value-chains to withstand health crises. As a result, these countries have limited ability needed to maintain a strong state of healthcare security.
Solution: Being the first of its kind in the region, xetova has developed a platform that provides real-time insights, triggers and prescribes actions that can be implemented to enhance preparedness and responsiveness in the future. The platform synthesizes various data sets from across the health value chains through a robust analytics foundation and machine learning models.
Impact: Aims at supporting African countries to be adequately prepared and capable of effectively responding to present or future health threats by improving the effectiveness of their healthcare supply chains.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
Health security is defined by how well a country is prepared to deal with health-related threats. WHO describes vulnerability as lack of well-developed systems and notes that most of the African region does not have strong health systems. Governments and donors are the primary funders of healthcare systems in Africa that serve over 70% of the 1.3 billion population. With these actors barely covering crucial budgets, their ability to efficiently anticipate, adequately prepare and deploy resources to respond to health threats is a life and death act. The announcement of a single COVID-19 case meant rapidly availing more than 10 products that may take 6 to 10 weeks to ship. The pandemic has revealed the significance of supply-chains preparedness in combating pandemics. We have seen core operations such as disease surveillance and procurement of essential products being greatly disrupted during the crisis. An increasing number of healthcare facilities have already faced significant disruption limiting their propensity to provide access to other essential services e.g. HIV and malaria treatment. These trends could have been better managed with efficient supply practices.
What is your solution?
xetova is a platform that provides real-time insights, action triggers and prescriptive recommendations that can be implemented now to enhance preparedness and responsiveness in the future. Its aim is to incorporate data science attributes in the day to day planning of healthcare supply chains. By synthesizing historic data from key actors and on-going processes in the healthcare value chains, the solution provides; powerful customizable dashboards for disease and commodity trends, potential stock-out alert triggers, scientific performance measurement and capacity building tools for suppliers. The solution can run as a stand alone system or can be integrated with other systems to provide holistic insights and visualizations. The integrations are with systems that manage disease surveillance, procurement, warehouses, logistics or supplier management. This gives a unique opportunity for key actors to effectively collaborate and make decisions based on real time insights and projections made by AI and machine learning models at the core of it all.
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
The solution is developed to support the operations of actors working to ensure health security and resilience. These include government agencies, donor organizations, medical institutions and supply chain actors (manufacturers, buyers, suppliers, financiers) - critical to the availability of essential healthcare products in the country. Lack of supplies due to inefficiencies in the supply chain processes ultimately negates the health of the population that depend on government and institutional bodies to provide subsidized medicines such as ARV’s. We approximate 80% of the population in Africa to be beneficiaries of the platform. xetova is currently running a proof of concept in Kenya where we are working with the below mentioned actors to learn, collect data and test hypotheses as we deploy the solution. Kenya’s healthcare model is a good representation of other countries in the region hence providing a robust test environment for scale.
Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge.
Key actors lack a holistic view of the operation capacity and demand/usage cycles of their supply chains. This has led to inefficient planning or wastage of resources that could have been better allocated to re-stock or prepare for potential outbreaks. Through a unified platform, xetova works with governments, donors organizations, other large-scale buyers, suppliers and financiers. We incorporate data science strategies to ensure/trigger more informed decisions and strong collaborations across these value chains whilst creating steady pipelines for just-in-time sourcing. Efficient planning eventually leads to strategic use of resources resulting in less costly and consistent supplies.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Nairobi, Kenya
What is your solution’s stage of development?Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
Who is the primary delegate for your solution?
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new application of an existing technology
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
Africa’s health security planning and resilience building are some of the least digitized operations. Approximately $150 billion is investment annually in health systems by Africa government and donor agencies. In their efforts, they remain segregated leaving a huge gap in building an efficient response and containment system that works in these contexts.
xetova provides an end-to-end platform that allows the application of advanced data science tools in the day to day running of core operations in building a strong health security state. The technology provides a strong collaboration framework between the different actors. It also opens up other technology opportunities and advancements to foster more holistic data driven decisions making around preparedness, resource optimization and responsiveness.
This pioneering innovation and further advancements after its deployment, will significantly affect healthcare work serving the 5.8 billion people living in under-developed and developing regions globally that face similar health security challenges as Africa.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
Our platform provides a robust analytics foundation in which we are able to collect, store, clean and structure data from various APIs, after which the data is fed into machine learning models that come up with prescriptive and predictive insights, reports and decision triggers. Using APIs to integrate different databases, we collect different data sets from actors and processes across health security value chains. The data sets include real time data from procurement activities, product demand data and disease surveillance. This is then cached on a central secure cloud Postgres database. Machine learning models developed in python are then used to process the data in line with the actors strategies and contexts. Users have an option to access the platform through a web application or an integration into their existing systems to consume their desired output.
Provide evidence that this technology works.
Artificial intelligence has been at the forefront of technological advancement over the last decade. Artificially-intelligent system is one that can learn on its own, make connections and reach meanings without relying on pre-defined behavioral algorithms. True A.I. can improve on past iterations, getting smarter and more aware, allowing it to enhance its capabilities and its knowledge. Use of machine learning is prominent in the field of health informatics (Holzinger, 2014; Inan et al., 2018) and predicting the possibility of various diseases (Agarwal et al., 2018; Omar et al., 2019).
There are several healthcare AI applications in health informatics systems, click here for details. In the established technology scene, It powers the recommendation engines behind Netflix, Amazon; used by Google and other search engines to help users get exactly what they are searching for, used to predict demands and forecast sales, and so much more! We believe that leveraging the power of machine learning in the healthcare spectrum will drastically streamline and optimize processes to.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
What is your theory of change?
xetova aims to digitize and improve the procurement process of essential products across key stakeholders. This will be achieved through the platform’s ability to provide short and long-term needs of the industry as illustrated below.
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
Currently xetova serves a big part of Kenya’s healthcare supply chain and value chain, which directly affect healthcare services provided to more than 70% of the country’s population of 44 million people. xetova’s platform users include public health management entities such as the ministry of health, state and non-government procurement agencies, multilateral and donor agencies that are funding part of the procurement, health facilities placing orders with procurement agencies, suppliers of essential products working with these procurement agencies and banks using the platform to finance well-performing suppliers.
We anticipate to fully deploy in all of East Africa and select countries in Central and West Africa in the next year and a half, aiming to directly improve the health security status of about 450 million people living in our target market.
In five years, our goal is to have a presence in most of African countries as well as other developing economies in the world that face the same problem, where more than 70% of its population relies on government and donor-funded healthcare products and services.
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
1 year goal: Scale the business and expand into Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania & Uganda
5 year goal: Transform our platform to a sector agnostic platform that will greatly and efficiently improve procurement in at least 25 other countries in Africa
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
As we work to resolve a health security problem, we are cognizant of a few key cultural perceptions, technical and resource barriers we need to address. Our solution collects data and learns from it to automate operations and enable resource optimization in a process that has traditionally been manual. In doing so, there is a perception that our digitization of these operations will render certain job functions obsolete.
For our solution to provide process visibility and intelligence on product and disease surveillance, our system needs constant real time data. And due to the nature of data we process, we also need to be mindful of data security management concerns, particularly where and how the data is housed.
In order to meet market demands and evolve the product to scale the business, we need additional resources, including capital, human and networks.
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
We have put in a number of measures in place to address cultural perceptions, technical and resource barriers.
We plan on providing continuous support to our key actors to ease concerns of job security as a result of digitization and process automation. We designed the solution to provide a 360 view of most value-chain related activities which enhances visibility and collaboration amongst actors.
To ensure the constant flow of real time data, we have provisioned for API integration with our partners. All data collected from our partners is used and stored in line with strict data governance laws and regulations set out locally and internationally.
We are actively engaging with suitable potential investors to be able to meet our capital requirements. For the human resources required, we are constantly on the lookout for talent that fits within our product evolution requirements.
To evaluate the effectiveness of control and preventative health measures across Africa, we need to grow our network; as such, we have partnered with different local and international institutions.
What type of organization is your solution team?For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
How many people work on your solution team?
How many years have you worked on your solution?
1.5 years in research and development and 9 months since POC deployment
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
xetova’s team is made up of great individuals, and experts in their respective fields, from supply chain management to data science, product development, communications, and business development. Our highly networked and proficient team collectively has over 40 years of experience from various industries. xetova has 15 team members currently with skills ranging from senior technology product managers, software developers, data scientists and engineers, and specialists in supply chain, community development and business development.
xetova’s leadership team includes Bramuel Mwalo, team leader, whose vast experience working across the continent with various supply chain actors over the years, has been instrumental in designing the product. His vision in founding xetova is to build a robust information infrastructure with reliable and consistent data sources, that in turn would provide alternative decision data to boost efficiency, partnerships and access to procurement opportunities.
Kevin Waki and Neelofer Sharif lead xetova’s product design, development and deployment. They both bring over 10 years of experience each in managing technology product production processes. Kevin has deployed market intelligence software and several leading intelligent integrated systems in the region. Neelofer has led product teams with leading companies such as Safaricom and comes with extensive experience in product design. They both manage a team of data scientists and software engineers who develop the product.
Wambui Karobia and Sonia Mfasoni lead our ecosystem engagements. They both bring over 15 years of experience in building relationships, robust customer experience, brand and communication strategies.
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
xetova currently has different users and partners for the POC.
Linda Afya Project - Partnership with key actors in Kenya’s health value chains centered around Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) and Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS)- Combined both organizations procure over $700 million worth of essential supplies annually which are distributed to over 10,000 health facilities and 7,000 test centers which ultimately provide healthcare services to over 32 million people across Kenya. This project serves a number of actors:
Planning and procurement: KEMSA (Kenya’s sole government procurement agency for healthcare products) and MEDS (Main distributor to over 2,000 mission hospitals and health care centers)
Donor reporting; KEMSA and MEDS work with and report to multiple donors such as Global Fund, USAID, AMREF, etc
Supplier Financing: National Bank of Kenya, KCB Bank, etc
Disease Surveillance and Reporting: District Health Information System (DHIS); Ministry of Health
US-Africa initiative on Health Security and resilience - Partnership with Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is aimed at supporting US companies and other partners seeking to participate in strengthening Africa's health security and resilience. Some of the founding participants in the initiative will include Africa CDC, Afrexim, Pfizer Foundation and others US/Africa donor groups, government agencies and corporations. xetova will provide access to its platform for CCA members and partners who are running various health-related programs, investments and trade on the continent to enhance their efforts.
What is your business model?
Software as a Service (SaaS) and Data Science as a Service (DSaaS) business model: The first contract agreement is to provide a platform that analyses supplier performance to facilitate access to flexible finance for their orders by partner banks backed-up by the procurement agencies. Current PoC revenue projection from signed contracts is $ 1,500,000 in the next 9 months.
Other planned DSaaS opportunities are (1) providing procurement management software for state, corporate and large NGO entities- a market with more than $ 500 billion worth of procurement transactions annually (2) providing major donors with planning, reference, monitoring and reporting automation - Africa receives over $ 50 billion of development assistance funds annually. These DSaaS opportunities naturally lead to SaaS revenues from membership based subscriptions to the platform in other sectors.
From a successful PoC of our business model in the health sector, our mission is to invest in and transform our platform to a sector agnostic platform that will improve efficiency in other large-scale supply chains, advance digitization of procurement management in Africa to further support more local businesses to competitively access flexible financing that will accelerate their growth. Our revenue model will be SaaS and transaction commission driven paying for B2B and B2G services.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?Organizations (B2B)
What is your path to financial sustainability?
We are currently looking for grants and raising working capital through investors to accelerate our product growth, compliment our ecosystem development and go-to-market strategy. These funds will be used to support our entire operations as we make and grow our ecosystem and sign up new users and customers that will sustain our business comfortably. We are immediately seeking to raise $500,000.00 to provide a capital base to finance further product development and upgrade our platform infrastructure, community and business development operations. Revenue streams on trade finance facilities attract a discounted 1.5% platform commission on each facility issued through our platform. From our current user base, demand for purchase order financing and transactions per month, we project profitability in the next 9 months and with our current on-boarding pipeline plan to sustain profitability as we scale operations. Projected $2,250,000.00 annual revenue run from our second year which will include projected membership subscription fees.
Why are you applying to Solve?
We want to join a supportive community of like-minded entrepreneurs and solvers whom we can learn from, grow together and refine our approach to enhance health security planning and building resilience across Africa. We believe this extended network of peers and potential partners will allow us to create a catalytic effect that will accelerate our growth and network which in effect accelerates development efforts in enhancing Africa’s state of health security.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
xetova seeks partners to enhance our:
Connections to the capital and grants
Connections to potential users of the platform
Expansion into new markets
Connections to mentors and influencers with extensive networks across Africa and in other developing economies
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
We are looking for partners who can enhance our effort to reach our fundraising goals for the next one year, expand our network more so with government agencies, donor and development organizations , enhance our market access and brand visibility or sign up as knowledge partners to help us grow our industry experience