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10 Firms investing in India's healthcare sector

Marianne Heinisch
13th Sep 2013
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In India, some of the best health care in the world is provided by the private sector. Nearly 600 million poor in rural and urban areas do not have access to quality health care that is affordable. World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show that per capita healthcare expenditure in India is $54, a fraction of the expenditure in developing economies such as China and Brazil. Overall healthcare expenditure in India is amongst the lowest globally at 4%, less than half of the global average of 9.7%. Furthermore, less than 10% of India’s population has any form of health insurance cover.

Picture credit: www.therichest.com
Picture credit: www.therichest.com

A recent study by the Institute of Health Informatics (IMS) has revealed that 72% of the rural Indian population has access to just one-third of the country’s available hospital beds while 28% of urban Indians have access to 66% of the total beds. The study also notes that those living in remote areas have to travel more than five kilometers to access a medical facility.

This low penetration of healthcare in India signifies that there is a huge need for public and private investment. According to this study, health is the leading focus for impact investors in India and more than 70% of social enterprises are concentrated in the healthcare delivery sector. Catering the under-served, these enterprises have collaborated with village health workers, NGOs and medical institutions present on the ground to improve awareness and accessibility in rural areas. To reach an economically feasible model, they are adapting to reduce capital costs, provide low-cost solutions and changing prevalent models of healthcare delivery such as hospitals and clinics to become asset-light and scalable. For example, Vaatsalya, LifeSpring and Glocal Healthcare are chains of branded hospitals that provide secondary care by focusing on no-frills and low-cost service, and high volumes of operations.

We give you 9 funds, accelerators and incubators investing in the healthcare sector that helps to indirectly impact the lives of millions in India:

1. Aavishkaar

Based in Mumbai, this investment fund makes equity investments in early stage social enterprises that focus on the base of the pyramid population from a variety of sectors including agriculture, healthcare, water and sanitation, Education and energy among others. It was the founding investor in Vaatsalya, a healthcare service provider which offers quality affordable healthcare to the semi-urban and rural population, as well as GV Meditech, Swas Healthcare and Mera Doctor.

2. Acumen

Acumen is a non-profit venue that raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas to serve low-income population. Health was Acumen’s first portfolio, launched in 2001; since then, their investments have been impacting the lives of millions, including affordable ambulance services, healthcare education, affordable eye care and health insurance and many other services. The Indian ventures they have made an investment in are Drishtee, LifeSpring, Visionspring and Ziqitza Healthcare.

3. Bamboo Fincance

This commercial investment firm is dedicated to empowering low-income communities with access to essential services, products and opportunities that improve their quality of life. Along with Oasis Fund since 2007, they invest in commercially viable companies which provide access to affordable housing, healthcare, education, energy, livelihood opportunities, water, and sanitation. In India, they have made an investment in Vaatsalya Healthcare.

4. CIIE

The Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has taken up several initiatives to strengthen India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Within the healthcare sector, CIIE runs the Piramal Prize, a partnership with Piramal Foundation that seeks to recognize high-impact models proposing innovative solutions which directly or indirectly address India’s healthcare crisis. Out of more than 50 Indian ventures investments made by CIIE, two have been made in the healthcare sector: Biosense and Forus Health.

5. Elevar Equity

Elevar capitalizes entrepreneurs who create global systems access for low-income communities. Their portfolio companies have served close to 11 million households and have mobilized over USD$ 4 billion in capital for targeted communities. Across six countries, they have invested in 16 companies which introduced plus than a dozen essential services. In India’s health sector, they have made an investment in Glocal Healthcare, which provides integrated primary and secondary healthcare services.

6. Ennovent: it provides services to accelerate innovations for sustainability in low-income markets in developing countries. Ennovent specializes in helping clients discover enterprises with novel solutions, develop business models to start-up enterprises, provide finance by facilitating early-stage investments and grow operations to scale profit and impact. Since 2008, they have worked with over 4,800 Network members, 15 Circle members and 10 Solution clients to accelerate over 80 innovations in 10 countries. The Ennovent Circle facilitated an investment of Lok Capital in Drishti Eye Care in early 2012.

7. RTBI – Rural Technology and Business Incubator

Supports entrepreneurs in building ventures to promote livelihoods, education, healthcare, agriculture, connectivity and financial inclusion in India’s rural areas. Conceived by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M), they have made an investment in Ayzh and New Digm.

8. Unitus

Unitus Group has positively impacted more than 20 million families living at the base of the economic pyramid. Out of 53 investments made by Unitus around the world – 39 are made in India – two has been made at the health sector: Samhita Development Network and Forus Health.

9. Ventureast

Ventureast is a pioneering indian VC fund manager. They invest in innovative businesses across multiple sectors, and have enabled over 60 businesses in Technology, Life Sciences and emerging sectors to become leaders in their individual spaces. Two healthcare-focused which they have invested are Elbit and NeuroSynaptics.

10. Villgro

Villgro provides mentoring, networking, marketing, office space, funding and facilities for prototyping and market research and a 12-month in-residence program for very early-stage entrepreneurs. Within the healthcare sector, they invest in Windmill Health, a startup which developed an integrated resuscitation device for newborns, and Biosense.

 

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