Zenysis Technologies, an enormous information startup headquartered in San Francisco and Cape City, introduced as we speak that it has closed $13.3 million in a Sequence B spherical. The financing was led by the Steele Foundation for Hope, a nonprofit group that claims it’s targeted on discovering and funding lasting options for a few of “humanity’s hardest challenges.”
Jonathan Stambolis launched the corporate in 2016 to enhance how growing international locations reply to humanitarian emergencies and assist them enhance public well being.
Previous to Zenysis, he labored as a diplomat with the United Nations. His roles concerned representing Australia in worldwide negotiations on international well being and humanitarian affairs and as an advisor to the UN secretary common on international well being and pandemic preparedness.
On the UN, Stambolis’s work gave him insights into the on a regular basis struggles that a number of international locations face of their efforts to attain formidable international well being targets. In an interview with Nob6, Stambolis stated the UN’s components for shifting the dial worldwide typically boils right down to more cash and political will. “What I noticed after some time was a lacking pillar there, and that was know-how innovation,” he stated.
On the identical time, Stambolis stated it was fairly clear that extra developed ecosystems equivalent to Silicon Valley didn’t care a lot about assembly struggling areas’ native well being and improvement targets. Subsequently, Stambolis hoped that by launching Zenysis, he’d take a number of the expertise and assets in Silicon Valley — and South Africa, the place the corporate has its second headquarters — and direct them to work on issues that matter.
Stambolis’s response was triggered by the Ebola disaster in 2014. “Watching the world battle to answer the disaster at first made it clear that neither affected international locations nor their worldwide companions just like the U.S. had the software program to answer that outbreak successfully,” stated Stambolis. “And I noticed that if we didn’t construct the software program, to assist them do this, no one else was going to do it.”
The co-founder and CEO stated Zenysis’s mission is to ship software program that governments must struggle illness outbreaks, reply to large-scale emergencies and supply healthcare to their residents equitably and effectively.
Zenysis at present offers its software program to governments and companions in 9 international locations throughout Africa, South America and Asia. For Stambolis, the corporate’s most difficult and rewarding work has been in Africa.
Take, as an illustration, its efforts in Mozambique in 2019 when the nation was hit by two large cyclones, Kenneth and Idai. The catastrophic occasion triggered a fast-spreading cholera outbreak that provoked 400 cholera instances each day, with the potential of infecting residents by a whole bunch of hundreds. Zenysis engaged the Mozambique authorities, they usually rapidly determined to make use of its software program to create a digital management room for the emergency response effort.
The emergency management room — powered by Zenysis’s open supply providing, Concord — introduced and collated information from fragmented sources equivalent to a number of authorities businesses, UN businesses and NGOs and built-in them right into a single resolution assist system, giving resolution makers a real-time image of the outbreak and response.
“That is one thing that governments typically don’t have in a disaster. Usually in these crises, numerous organizations flood in all utilizing totally different instruments and programs to gather information, and authorities turn into overwhelmed by the quantity of knowledge collated in these emergencies,” stated the chief government. “So this digital management room created real-time information for the federal government which they used to mount a quick, efficient and coordinated response to the outbreak.”
By triangulating a number of information sources, Zenysis’s platform assisted the Mozambique authorities in designing and rolling out a data-driven vaccination marketing campaign to cease the outbreak in its tracks. Lower than 1 month later, this marketing campaign decreased the variety of cholera infections in probably the most affected province to zero.
This was no imply feat. When this disaster hit Mozambique, it was battling infrastructural points from electrical energy to accessing telecommunications and well being facilities. However regardless of that, Zenysis’s information platform and the federal government’s vaccine marketing campaign offered a constructive final result. The large information firm has offered its software program to companions and governments in Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia.
These international locations seldom embark on intervention tasks alone or solely with Zenefits. They obtain monetary assist and assist from exterior companions and organizations just like the International Fund, USAID and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. And as a rule, these organizations are those who pay Zenysis for his or her contractual work.
Stambolis says one thrilling improvement from his firm’s work with governments is how versatile it’s to sort out different challenges after being invited to handle one. “It’s rewarding to see how we’re given extra accountability as soon as we now have an opportunity to display our worth proposition,” he stated. “Belief grows between us and the international locations we work with, so we’ve turn into their trusted accomplice. I really feel like quite a lot of Silicon Valley’s ethos for the final 15 years has been outlined by the mantra “transfer quick and break issues”; we’ve proven that we’re a distinct sort of firm. We like to maneuver quick and sort things.”
Except for the international locations and worldwide establishments it really works with, Zenysis measures traction by way of the variety of well being priorities its software program helps. Proper now, they embrace packages round HIV, tuberculosis, childhood vaccination, maternal and little one well being, household well being and COVID.
The issue of knowledge fragmentation and sluggish response to crises impacts different sectors outdoors healthcare, equivalent to schooling, meals safety and local weather change. Thus, as the brand new financing offers Zenysis firepower to increase its vary of well being packages, it’s going to additionally help the corporate’s transfer into adjoining verticals and assist governments reply to crises in a multisectoral method.
Zenysis — which raised a $2.8 million seed in 2016 and a $5.8 million Sequence A in 2018 — additionally plans to triple its geographical footprint over the following 2 years with a big concentrate on increasing its presence throughout Africa. 5 of the 9 international locations during which Zenysis is lively exist in Africa — and the 6-year-old firm at present has tasks with an additional ten on the continent.
There are different plans for the Sequence B funding. Stambolis stated Zenysis will spend money on strategic partnerships with different innovators in ways in which contribute to its know-how and expertise improvement.
“We’re additionally going to be making investments to assist the international locations perceive and reply to the complicated relationship between local weather change and human well being,” he stated. “That is nonetheless an space that may be very a lot in its infancy. So, we wish to be on the forefront of serving to international locations get on high of that in a data-driven means.”
Joe Exner, the chief government on the lead investor SFFH, stated in a press release that its funding will allow Zenysis to “concentrate on its core mission of growing the modern capabilities wanted to strengthen well being programs and forestall future pandemics.” The agency was launched late final 12 months. Taking part buyers on this progress spherical embrace Peter Thiel and U.S.-based VC agency 500 Startups.
Stambolis believes SFFH made its first funding in Zenysis as a result of the agency sees it as a platform for driving impression on a world scale. “Along with that, I believe there was very robust religious alignment between the 2 organizations,” the CEO stated, including that SFFH didn’t demand a board seat and accomplished the funding inside 21 days of signing its time period sheet. “They need us to triple down on our core mission of enhancing public well being in growing international locations and rising economies.”