By Ajong Mbapndah L
The competition had so many talented entrepreneurs in it and it is a privilege to be one of the Top 3 winners, says Oluwasoga Oni, who emerged as 1st runner up. Describing the experience as both challenging and gratifying, Oluwasoga Oni says he enjoyed interacting with judges at every stage of the competition and intends to keep in touch with many of them.
The CEO & Co-Founder, MDaas Globalsays their big vision is to shift African healthcare from sick care to more personalized, continuous, and preventative healthcare for Africa’s next billion.
“Being an organization that builds tech enabled diagnostic centers, we are going to use these funds to build at least 3 or four additional diagnostic centers in tier 2 to tier 3 cities in Nigeria. More of these in additional locations will bring high quality diagnostics to the underserved communities,” says Oluwasoga Oni on plans for MDaaS Global going forward.
Oluwasoga Oni is CEO & Co-Founder, MDaaS Global could we start this interview with an introduction of MDaaS Global, and the vision that led to its creation?
MDaaS Global builds and operates diagnostic facilities in clinically underserved communities in Nigeria. Our centers provide high quality diagnostic services such as radiology (ultrasound & x ray), pathology and cardiology (ECHO, ECG) and serve as the centralized diagnostic department for many small and medium sized hospitals and clinics around the communities we operate in. Our vision is providing high quality and affordable healthcare for African’s next billion by building critical health infrastructure and services in places that need it the most. We launched our first facility in Ibadan, Nigeria in 2017 and have since expanded to 4 more locations in Lagos, Ilorin, Osogbo and Abuja.
When was it created and what impact has it had on the healthcare sector in Nigeria, any numbers or statistics that you want to share?
We launched originally in 2016 as a medical equipment provider before eventually pivoting to a diagnostic service provider in 2017. Since our pivot and launch in Ibadan, we have served over 33,000 patients across four states. About 70% of our patient population are women and about 55% of women of reproductive age.
How expensive is the technology that you use in running your operations and where has your funding come from?
A lot of technology we used in running our centers are open sourced and/or off the shelf technology platforms. We are also currently using building an internal diagnostic management platform to effectively manage our centers. We raised investment from a variety of sources. In the initial stage, it was mostly family and friends, but we have since raised venture capital for prominent African’s VCs such as Consonance Investment Managers Ventures Platform, Future Africa Fund and Flying Doctors Investment Company and as well as international organizations such as Techstars, FINCA Ventures etc.
You operate in a country where power is an issue, what impact has the power crisis had on your operations?
Getting constant power supply from the grid is almost impossible at the moment in Nigeria. As a result, we have had to supplement our grid power with power generators which of course increase our cost of operations. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many Nigerian businesses like ours.
You recently emerged as 1st Runner Up in the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Awards sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation, how was this news received by Oluwasoga Oni?
I was very excited to be one of the winners of the competition out of over 22,000 contestants who applied across the continent. It is quite exhilarating to be one of the top finalists, particularly given how competitive it was. The ABH experience was both challenging and gratifying. The competition had so many talented entrepreneurs in it and it is a privilege to be one of the Top 3 winners. I also really enjoyed interacting with the judges at every single stage of the competition and intend to keep in touch with many of them.
How did you hear about the ABH and was emerging as runner up with $250,000 cash prize an outcome you envisaged?
The winner of the competition last year (Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder & CEO of LifeBank) was Nigerian and also worked in healthcare. It was all over the news when she won. Seeing that made me aware of the competition and of course, Jack Ma is one of the best entrepreneurs in the world and I really wanted a chance to talk and learn from him and I did.
With the hefty cash prize and newfound fame, what is going to change for Oluwasoga Oni and the MDaaS Global?
The funds from the competition are being put towards furthering our mission and vision at MDaaS Global which is building more diagnostics facilities in clinically underserved areas across Nigeria. Being an organization that builds tech enabled diagnostic centers, we are going to use these funds to build at least 3 or four additional diagnostic centers in tier 2 to tier 3 cities in Nigeria. More of these in additional locations will bring high quality diagnostics to the underserved communities. We also plan to find more communities that need the kind of diagnostics that we provide. Our big vision at MDaaS is to shift African healthcare from sick care to more personalized, continuous, and preventative healthcare for Africa’s next billion. Additionally, the ABH competition came with great learning lessons as well which we will definitely draw from as we continue to reach out across Nigeria.
When you juxtapose the challenges facing Nigeria and Africa with the quality of the business initiatives that were pitched by you and others, what future do you see for the continent?
Just looking at the quantity and quality of entrepreneurs in this competition, I am very excited about the future of Africa. There are a lot of young people building businesses that are solving important challenges across the length and breadth of the continent, from healthcare to education and youth development. It is inspiring to see, and I should say the sky is the limit, given the ABH competition, which is running a 10-year commitment to inspire, train and support entrepreneurs in Africa, to build inclusive businesses models that can create jobs and economic opportunity for the continent.
Entrepreneurs at all levels should seize this amazing opportunity and consider taking part in the Africa’s Business Heroes competition this year and in the future.
Any word for the Jack Ma Foundation that created and funded this initiative and all those who worked in diverse phases of the 2020 ABH Awards?
The real MVP of the ABH competition was the Jack Ma Foundation Team who moved ahead with this competition despite the pandemic and all of the challenges that came with coordinating the competition across multiple African countries. I (and many other African’s entrepreneurs) are lucky to have such a superstar team dedicated to supporting African entrepreneurship. No proper words can express how grateful myself and my team are for the opportunity to be part of this initiative.
To many in Nigeria and Africa who now see in you a mentor and will like to emulate your success, what message for them, and any tips for future contestants of the ABH Awards?
The key advice I have for other African entrepreneurs is to learn how to own their narrative and tell their own story. I believe that this was key to our success in this competition. Every great idea needs believers and supporters and having a great story about “why it matters” is critical to getting others to believe in the vision and mission of the company. Africa is on the rise, existing and aspiring entrepreneurs across the continent must strive to gain knowledge, educate themselves and keep up with new trends to stay competitive. Research and innovation are key, and when backed up with the right knowledge, skills, and resources it is possible for any entrepreneur to thrive and bring real change to the continent, while inspiring the next generation.