Mumbai-based VCats and UK's Well Tech have come together to help startups build new tech-led business models in healthcare. Here's what the partnership entails.Sohini Mitter
Venture Catalysts (VCats), one of India's top integrated incubators, has teamed up with London-based Well Tech (a health-focused innovation platform) to launch a health tech accelerator - HealthCare Catalysts - which will foster technological innovation in the field of healthcare. The new accelerator will have offices in India, Sri Lanka, and the UK.
Mumbai-based VCats told YourStory that it plans to invest $15 million to $20 million in 20-25 early-stage health tech startups. These investments would be made over a period of three years, and each startup will receive between $500,000 and $1.5 million. The accelerator would also assist in conducting Seed and Series A funding rounds for the selected startups, but did not reveal any names.
Additionally, the chosen startups would gain product and technological support, "strategic delivery guidance", opportunities for concept-testing, and international market access in the UK, South Africa, and the Middle East. "That, in my opinion, is more important than the money," VCats Co-founder & President, Dr Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, told YourStory.
These startups will be spread across domains, including a) chronic disease management, b) mental health and wellness, c) child and maternal care, d) precision therapeutics, including genomics therapy, e) AI and machine learning-led health care, f) wearables and smart devices, and g) medical workforce training and back office management.
Dr Sharma added,
"There is a huge opportunity for startups in the supply chain side of healthcare. Given India's huge population and the nearly 20 million additional people who will have access to fundamental healthcare as part of the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, startups have to leverage the power of technology to scale up."
The Ayushman Bharat Yojana was announced in the Union Budget 2018-19. It aims to offer an annual cover of Rs 5 lakh per family to nearly 10.7 crore poor and vulnerable families in the country.
"Our programme aims to cater to the best startups in the domain, giving them an access to not only the massive national market, but also allowing them to develop, redesign, and alter their product or business model to best fit international demands," Dr Sharma added.
VCats has actively invested (close to $5 million) in the healthcare space in the last one year with notable associations with ImpactGuru and Hospals. It is trying to build "new models of healthcare" to cater to India's emerging demographic.
Speaking of the association, Well Tech's Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Niti Pall, said,
“Digital technology is transforming healthcare and our accelerator programme intends to work with the most impactful companies that are making things happen. The program is differentiated by deep clinical expertise powered by serious technical capabilities and commercial expertise across international markets, which will benefit the selected startups immensely.”
Dr Pall is said to be playing a critical role in the final selection of startups.