The UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 of “ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages” is a particularly ambitious one: according to WHO estimates, achieving health targets in low- and middle-income countries would require new investments of $371 billion annually by 2030. While health entrepreneurs with transformative and scalable innovations are plentiful, they often lack proper access to networks, expertise, and capital.
Enter Baraka Impact Finance. The company has developed solutions for private equity investors and entrepreneurs, designed to catalyze capital investments and mobilize private wealth in solutions to some of the world’s most pressing health challenges. It has a network of over 400 impact-driven investors, and a vetted pipeline of hundreds of health sector enterprises.
Baraka Impact Finance provides advisory services and an online marketplace to help investors select the best innovations addressing SDG3 in emerging markets in South Asia, Sub Saharan Africa, and Latin America. The fintech platform – a SaaS tool developed by Artha Networks, a spin-off from the impact investing work of Artha Impact (Rianta Capital AG) – is enhanced by health and economic data analytics for market context, due diligence, and technology assessment. The company also relies on a global network of experts in health systems, data science (in partnership with Swiss firm Arcanite), business finance, and local market dynamics. Its advisory work is therefore both recommendation-based and evidence-informed.
Geneva as a center for global public health development
Initially launched in the United States, Baraka relocated to Geneva earlier this year, with the support of GGBa and the Geneva investment promotion team (DG DERI). “Switzerland is an incredible hub for the development of impact-minded initiatives, thanks to its unique mix of nonprofits, international organizations, and stakeholders such as funds and private investors,” explains Talal Al-Duaij, one of the co-founders. “Geneva in particular is ideally situated, both geographically and from a global public health perspective, with the presence of WHO and other key institutions.”
Baraka Impact Finance is led by James W. Bair, who is also a Senior Health Advisor for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He is flanked by Carolina Batista, an infectious diseases physician who has held leadership positions at MSF, DNDi, and other major international agencies; Dr. Batista is also a member of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission and the Lancet Migration Board. The company is currently seeking $2 million in seed funding to get its technology off the ground and for new hires. The goal is to reach a 10-strong team in the next few years, starting with investment analyst resources.
"The crisis we are just crossing reveals the sense of urgency to fill financing gaps and for a strong orchestrated coordination between those who fund and drive global health solutions,” emphasizes Dr. Batista.