Rural health care is a big problem in India. Most often, the 600 million people living in rural areas can’t access it and the government spending just 4% of their expenditure on it is not helping improve the situation either. We reported last September how Sujay Satra, an ex-employee of Oracle, is working to solve this problem with iKure. They connect doctors with rural areas through health workers and they are able to give a first level of diagnosis and good advice for other doctors in hospitals; all this through a regular broadband and data card lines.His idea has expanded and become bigger in the last four years. iKure has just raised a bridge round of INR 70 lakhs from its existing angels of the Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I3N), Japanese fund ARUN LLC and Mumbai Angels.
When I3N first invested in iKure in January 2013, iKure had just launched its first RHC. Since then, they have treated over 8000 patients through 12 new RHCs in rural West Bengal catering to a population of over 800,000. They have also developed a cluster model to lower costs and added former Indian Air Force medical practitioner Dr. Arnab Ganguly as Medical Director on the team. The fresh capital raised will be used to scale up to over 25 centers and expand operations to Orissa over the next seven to eight months.
Satoko Kono, President of ARUN LLC, will be joining iKure’s board with this investment. Kono said, “ARUN is the first Japanese company to make an impact investment in India. This is timed well with the larger India-Japan camaraderie that has recently gained renewed fervour. We are working closely with Intellecap to scout more attractive social enterprises across sectors to further expand our outreach and impact in India.
While I3N has been working to increase angel activity in impact investing over the past 2 years, mainstream networks such as Mumbai Angels are also starting to wet their feet in the space. Ashpi Gupta, AVP at Mumbai Angels said, ”Mumbai Angels have been supporting social businesses for a while now. We recently had a showcase dedicated to social impact – iKure appealed to the investors due to the impact created by providing access to healthcare at the grassroots level.”
I3N Head Aditi Shrivastava says, “In addition to facilitating funding from a variety of investors, we have leveraged Intellecap’s vantage point in the impact space to build connections across the value chain for iKure. We have recently recommended iKure’s service to a large corporate that is setting up mobile health clinics, and we are also helping the company explore African markets.” Sujay Santra, founder and CEO of iKure, says, “We are very happy to have the support and mentorship of these distinguished investors. We have evolved our model quite a bit in this past year, and are focused on speedy break even of the RHCs while making no compromises in the affordability and quality of care. ARUN has helped us put in place impact measurement metrics that will help us further quantify our effectiveness on the ground. We plan to go to the market again in 12 months for our Series A raise.”