Black-led health startup co-founded by Sudanese woman reaches unicorn status of $1 billion

Abu Mubarik October 20, 2022
Iman Abuzeid is the co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health. Photo: Twitter/Iman Abuzeid

A Black-led health startup has reportedly reached unicorn status, five years after it was launched. Incredible Health, co-founded by Sudanese entrepreneur Iman Abuzeid, is currently valued at $1.6 billion after its latest round of funding, according to Finurah.

Per Face2Face Africa’s tabulation, Abuzeid is the only seventh Black-led company to be valued at $1 billion. The rest are:

Esusu: Esusu is a fintech company that uses data to bridge the racial wealth gap by reporting rent payments to credit bureaus. The company achieved a unicorn status of $1 billion after raising $130 million in a Series B fundraising round.

Calendly: Calendly is a cloud scheduling app founded by Tope Awotona. Calendly is designed to make the process of finding meeting times easy. Currently, about 10 million people use the platform monthly since it was created in 2013, making it very popular.

Zepz: Zepz, formerly WorldRemit, is a digital cross-border payments platform operating two market-leading brands (WorldRemit and Sendwave, acquired in 2021), with over 11 million users across 150 countries.

Marshmallow: Marshmallow was founded in 2017 by identical twins Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham, and David Goate. The firm is an ‘insurtech’ startup in the U.K. building a product for immigrants/ex-pats who are poorly served by the car insurance market, according to TechCrunch.

Flutterwave: Flutterwave was not the first of its kind in Africa when it was started in 2016 by Nigerian technologists and former bankers. But perhaps, the point of its success can be attributed to the fact it was a financial tech platform that had a lot of input from those in finance.

Chipper Cash: Chipper Cash offers a cross-border, peer-to-peer payments service in African countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya.

Incredible Health is a job-search platform for healthcare workers that is flipping traditional hiring on its head with hospital customers essentially paying to pitch themselves to nurses who join for free. In other words, the platform lets employers apply to nurses, rather than the other way around.

The company was launched in 2017 and has since made remarkable strides. The company recently secured $15 million in a Series A round and also has more than 500 hospitals signed up, including HCA Healthcare and Stanford Health Care, in addition to Kaiser, which encompasses 39 hospitals and it is now one of Abuzeid’s biggest customers.

Incredible Health focuses on filing permanent jobs in the nursing field instead of contract gigs or short-term travel nursing. Hospital customers pay for an annual subscription based on the number of nurses they want to hire.

Unlike many Black-led startups, Incredible Health has been profitable. The company’s revenue is expected to hit $16 million this year, triple last year’s $5 million, according to Forbes.

Also, despite expansion into other states being a challenge because of different rules on healthcare licensing, the firm has moved into 21 states and is making a profit. Abuzeid hopes to expand to every state by 2022.

While most nurses in the U.S. take home around $90,000, nurses who join Incredible Health get a 17% salary raise, Abuzeid told Forbes.

“It enables us to not just be the place where a nurse—and eventually every healthcare worker—finds his or her job,” she said, “but it’s also the place where they manage their career.”

Abuzeid was born to Sudanese parents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where her father was working as an ear, nose and throat surgeon. Abuzeid’s grandfather is an entrepreneur but her two older brothers are also doctors, just like their dad.

Abuzeid also trained as a medical doctor at University College London but her grandfather influenced her to create her own path by leaving the daily practice of medicine.

She skipped her medical residency program in the UK to pick up a job in medical consulting in the U.S. That single move started her journey to becoming her own boss.

When she moved to the U.S., she first worked at Booz & Co. in New York City, consulting on hospital operations and strategy before getting her M.B.A. at Wharton, Forbes said. She then worked as a product manager at a digital healthcare startup based in San Francisco. There, she met an MIT graduate Rome Portlock and together, they started Incredible Health. There are currently more than 150,000 nurses on the platform, a number that is growing by 15 percent each month, according to Inc.

“I wanted to build and create things that would have an impact on a large scale,” she said. “Not just one-on-one with patients.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 20, 2022


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