Zenysis raises $13.3M to scale its big data platform for emergencies in Africa, Asia and South America – Meczyki.Net

Genesis TechnologiesA big data startup headquartered in San Francisco and Cape Town today announced that it has closed $13.3 million in a Series B round. funding was led Steel Foundation for HopeA non-profit organization that it says is focused on finding and funding sustainable solutions to “some of humanity’s toughest challenges.”

Jonathan Stambolis The company was launched in 2016 to learn how developing countries respond to humanitarian emergencies and to help them improve public health.

Prior to Genisys, he worked as a diplomat with the United Nations. His roles included representing Australia in international dialogue on global health and humanitarian affairs and as an advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on global health and pandemic preparedness.

At the United Nations, Stambolis’ work has given him insight into the everyday struggles that many countries face in their efforts to achieve ambitious global health goals. In an interview with Meczyki.Net, Stambolis said the UN formula for moving the dial around the world generally boils down to more funding and political will. “What I saw after a while was there was one missing pillar, and that was technology innovation,” he said.

At the same time, Stambolis said it was very clear that more developed ecosystems like Silicon Valley did not care much about meeting local health and development goals of struggling areas. So, Stambolis hoped that by launching Genesis, he would take some of the talent and resources in Silicon Valley — and South Africa, where the company has its second headquarters — and direct them to work on problems that matter.

Stambolis’ response was triggered by the Ebola crisis in 2014. “Looking at the world struggle to respond to the crisis it became clear at first sight that neither the affected countries nor their international partners such as the US had the software to effectively respond to that outbreak,” Stambolis said. . “And I realized that if we didn’t build software to help them do it, no one else was going to do it.”

The co-founder and CEO said Genesis’ mission is to deliver the software governments need to fight disease outbreaks, respond to large-scale emergencies, and provide equitable and efficient healthcare to their citizens.

Zenysis currently offers its software to governments and partners in nine countries in Africa, South America and Asia. For Stambolis, the company’s most challenging and rewarding work has been in Africa.

Take, for example, its efforts in Mozambique in 2019, when the country was hit by two major cyclones, Kenneth and Idai. The horrific event sparked a rapidly spreading cholera outbreak that provoked 400 cholera cases daily, with the potential to infect hundreds of thousands of citizens. Zenisys got the Mozambican government involved, and they quickly decided to use its software to create a virtual control room for the emergency response effort.

The emergency control room – powered by Genesis’ open source offering, Harmony – brought in and aggregated data from fragmented sources such as multiple government agencies, United Nations agencies and NGOs and integrated them into a single decision support system, allowing decision makers to access real-time Found a picture of Outbreak and response.

“This is something that governments do not usually have in a crisis. Usually in these crises, a lot of organizations are flooded using different tools and systems to collect data, and the government gets overwhelmed with the amount of information collected in these emergencies,” the chief executive officer said. “So this virtual control room created real-time data for the government, which they used to mount a rapid, effective and coordinated response to the outbreak.”

By triangulating multiple data sources, Genesis’ platform helped the Mozambican government design and run a data-driven vaccination campaign to stop the outbreak in its tracks. Less than a month later, the campaign brought the number of cholera infections to zero in the worst-hit province.

This was no small feat. When the crisis hit Mozambique, it was grappling with infrastructure issues ranging from electricity to telecommunications and access to health centres. But despite this, Zenysis’ data platform and the government’s vaccine campaign produced positive results. The Big Data company has provided its software to partners and governments in Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia.

These countries rarely undertake intervention projects either alone or solely with Zenefits. They receive financial aid and support from external partners and organizations such as the Global Fund, USAID and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. And more often than not, these organizations are the ones that pay Genisys for their contractual work.

Stambolis says an exciting development from his company’s work with governments is how flexible it is to tackle other challenges after being invited to address one. “It is rewarding to see how more responsibility is given to us once we have the chance to demonstrate our value proposition,” he said. “Trust grows between us and the countries we work with, so we’ve become their trusted partner. I feel like a lot of Silicon Valley’s ethos for the past 15 years is “move fast and make things happen.” Break it down” is defined by the mantra; We’ve shown we’re a different type of company. We like to move fast and fix things.”

In addition to the countries and international institutions it works with, Genesis measures traction in terms of the number of health priorities supported by its software. Right now, they include programs related to HIV, tuberculosis, childhood immunization, maternal and child health, family health and COVID.

The problem of data fragmentation and slow response to crises affects other sectors outside healthcare, such as education, food security and climate change. Thus, as the new funding gives Zenysis the firepower to expand its range of health programs, it will also help the company move into adjacent verticals and help governments respond to crises in a multi-sectoral manner. .

Zenysis – which raised a $2.8 million seed in 2016 and a $5.8 million Series A in 2018 – plans to triple its geographic footprint over the next 2 years, with a significant focus on expanding its presence across Africa. Of the nine countries in which Zenysis is active, five are present in Africa – and the 6-year-old company currently has projects with another ten on the continent.

There are other plans for Series B investments. Stambolis said Genesis will invest in strategic partnerships with other innovators who contribute to its technology and talent development.

“We are also going to invest in helping countries to understand and respond to the complex relationship between climate change and human health,” he said. “This is still an area that is in its infancy. Therefore, we want to be at the forefront of helping countries rise to the top in a data-driven way.”

Joe Exner, chief executive of lead investor SFFH, said in a statement that its investment will enable Zenysis to “focus on its core mission of strengthening health systems and developing the innovative capabilities needed to prevent future pandemics.” ” The firm was launched late last year. Investors participating in this growth round include Peter Thiel and US-based VC firm 500 Startups.

Stambolis believes SFFH made its first investment in Genesis as the firm sees it as a platform for driving impact on a global scale. “In addition, I think there was a very strong spiritual alignment between the two organizations,” the CEO said, adding that SFFH did not seek a board seat and completed the investment within 21 days of signing its term sheet. “They want us to triple our core mission of improving public health in developing countries and emerging economies.”