Technology & Innovation
Deloitte Africa; Monitor Deloitte; healr.life
Amilah Costandius, 33, is one of the Deloitte Africa sector leaders for insurance and investment management and spearheads innovations in this industry to boost financial inclusion, education and efficacy for this sector to improve the livelihood of South Africans and Africans.
In addition to her full-time job, she also co-founded health tech business Healr, which uses AI to reduce inefficiencies in the cancer treatment cycle by augmenting oncologists and allowing more South Africans to be treated. “My role entails working with my brilliant team to design the products and run projects to improve our AI, our front end and integrations, as well as running the operations and finance of the business,” she says.
Healr aims to address the shortage of oncologists by automating contouring, a task that typically takes an oncologist three hours to do, giving them more time to treat patients. In South Africa, there are more than 1 400 cancer patients per oncologist.
Three hours saved, per patient, allows more lives to be saved. This is what motivated Costandius and her co-founders to build Healr and build it into a profitable business. Healr has been recognised as one of the leading health tech startups in South Africa and Costandius was a finalist at the 2022 Global Women in Tech Excellence Awards hosted in the UK.
- Chartered Accountant (SA), Articles at Deloitte
- BAcc, Honours, Stellenbosch University
- BAcc, Stellenbosch University
- Co-founder of Healr.life, which is recognised as one of the top machine learning startups in South Africa
- Women in Tech finalist, a global competition, in the entrepreneurship category
- Exceptional performer at Deloitte
- Publish articles, appear in media and in podcasts
At the age of four, I really wanted a knockoff version of a Barbie with long crimped hair which my parents couldn’t afford. Hustling to borrow some crayons and recycled paper from a shop down the road, I decided to write storybooks and sell it to neighbours for 50c until I made enough money (R20) to buy the doll. Being 4, the titles of the books weren’t particularly riveting and the spelling was atrocious, but I achieved my goal. I’ve applied that principle throughout my life. If I want something, I recognise I have to do the hard work.
You really don’t need to be in the “it group” or part of the “rich kids” or walk a conventional path to be in a position to make a change or to be ‘okay’ in life. Spend less time trying to fit in, and more time solving the problems that actually matter. Stop sweating the small stuff and remain focused on the things that matter.
I would love to see a South Africa where there are structures in place to make it easier for people to start new businesses — a combination of quality education with the appropriate infrastructure to make it easy, such as access to the internet and meaningful tax breaks to make us more comparable with the rest of the world when it comes to choosing to set up a business here. When I say education, I mean – not just in schools, but also through free quality courses, especially in technology and coding, alternative forms of education (not traditional school system only), and through mentorship programmes such as startup incubators – virtual or not. In my opinion, many of the structural issues (for example, unemployment) we face today can be solved by empowering people more effectively and making it easy for them to make their mark on the economy.