Difference between revisions of "Vula Mobile"

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{{Infobox company
| name = Vula Mobile
| logo = [[File: Vula_Mobile_Logo.png | thumb | centre | 250px | link=http://www.vulamobile.com/ | VulaMobile logo. Retrieved from Website, October 19, 2019]]
| type =
| founder = [[Dr. William Mapham]]
| area_served =
| key_people =
| industry = [[Health]]
| services =
| aum =
| num_employees =
| divisions =
| homepage = {{URL|http://www.vulamobile.com/}}
| foundation = {{start date and age|2013}}
| location_city = Cape Town
| location_country = South Africa
| locations =
<span style="font-size:88%">''Editor: [https://za.linkedin.com/in/marthia-keorapetse-47075010b?trk=people-guest_profile-result-card_result-card_full-click Marthia Keorapetse]''</span>
<span style="font-size:88%">''Editor: [https://za.linkedin.com/in/marthia-keorapetse-47075010b?trk=people-guest_profile-result-card_result-card_full-click Marthia Keorapetse]''</span>

Latest revision as of 12:06, 30 November 2019

Vula Mobile
Founded2013; 7 years ago (2013)
FounderDr. William Mapham
Cape Town
South Africa

Editor: Marthia Keorapetse

Vula Mobile is a mobile healthcare application that connects primary healthcare workers directly in touch with on-call specialists.


Vula, which means “open” in IsiZulu, was founded in 2013 by Dr. William Mapham. The aim of the application is to give health workers, particularly those in remote rural areas, a tool that helps to get patients quick and efficient specialist care.[1] The application connects doctors to the most appropriate specialists. It allows them to capture patient information (including photographs) and chat to that particular specialist in order to help them make the right decision for their patient. The application also contains more health information to help doctors recognise common complaints.[2]

While Vula Mobile was only initially for ophthalmology referrals. In 2016, cardiology, orthopaedics and burns were added to the specialties provided by the application. This redesign enabled Vula to scale to include referral forms for any number of specialities.[3] In January 2017, Vula Mobile featured nine specialities, including general surgery, internal medicine, oncology emergencies, paediatrics and obstetric/gynaecology. There are currently a total of 17 specialities offered on the application.[4] Vula Mobile is also used for orthopaedic referrals at hospitals in the South African cities of Kimberley, Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg, East London, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.[5]

Growth in patients using the application shows that 2,397 patients were helped in the fourth quarter of 2016, to 5,888 patients helped in the same quarter of 2017.[6] While users are healthcare professionals, they use the application for free. The customer paying for the license would normally be the public sector (local, provincial and national departments of health) but could also include large NGOs, and private sector companies.

In 2018, 5000 healthcare professionals were on the Vula Mobile system, 1000 of whom were giving specialist advice. Usage statistics show that the app is used every five to six minutes and that 57,525 patients have benefited from it.[7]


Initial funding came via a flash grant of R50,000 from the Shuttleworth Foundation in 2013. Dr Mapham used a system called Productivity on Paper, which has since been bought by a company called Marvel, that allowed him to create a non-functioning application which he sent to developers to ask them for quotes.[8] In 2013, Debré Barrett and her team at Flow Interactive, now part of Deloitte Digital, donated around R200,000 worth of design time which produced a real Android demo which went on to win the South African Breweries (SAB) Innovation Award in 2013, which was worth R1 million. Using the prize money, Dr Mapham launched an Android and iOS App in 2014.[9]

In 2018, Vula and HAVAÍC ran an innovative seed round. The opportunity was made available to existing Vula Mobile partners, stakeholders and HAVAÍC partners for a minimum of R5000 each. The funds from the capital raised enabled the Vula team to work full time.[10] A total of R1 million was made in funding from HAVAÍC.[11]

Awards and recognitions

In 2013 Vula Mobile received the Impumelelo Social Innovation Gold Award. In 2014, it received a DG Murray Trust Research Grant. It also received a fund for innovation in Rural Research Grant as well as the Innovation Hub GAP ICT competition where it was second in ICT.[12]

In 2015 Vula won a total of six awards. It firstly won the MTN App of The Year Award, nrecognised as the “Most Innovative App”. It also won Western Cape Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards, second place for “Best Social Enterprise”. It won the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Awards in Vienna, Austria. It also won First place in “Development and Service”. It won second place in Innovative Use of ICT for Effective Service Delivery at Public Service Innovation Awards. Vula was one of six prize winners at the African Entrepreneurship Awards in Morocco. Finally, it won an award for Exceptional Social Start-up Enterprise at the Seed Award in Kenya[13].

In 2016 Vula won $100,000 in funding from Clearly Vision.[14] It was recognised as a Top 20 finalist in Amazon’s City on a Cloud[15]

In 2017, Vula received a platinum award from Impumelelo Social Innovations Awards[16] In 2018, it was named first prize winner of Sanofi and received access to resources and mentoring from Sanofi while working together on further innovations.[17]