Why Anthill Ventures and HCG partnered up to start an India-Singapore focused healthcare accelerator

In a conversation with YourStory, Devang Mehta, Partner, Anthill Ventures; and Anjali Ajaikumar, VP Strategy and Quality, HCG; spoke about healthcare accelerator Lumos.
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The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we view healthcare. Telemedicine, where doctors consult patients remotely by means of telecommunications technology, has seen unprecedented growth during the pandemic.

According to media reports, the doctor-patient ratio in India is one per 1,457 Indian citizens; while in rural areas alone, the ratio is as low as one doctor per 25,000 citizens. But telemedicine has brought in the much-needed access. According to IBEF, the demand for online healthcare market is expected to be around $372 billion by 2022. The market size was around $160 billion last year. 

To help startups with technical and business advisory in the healthcare segment, VC firm Anthill Ventures joined hands with Healthcare Global Enterprises (HCG), one of the largest oncology chains in India, to start Lumos Health in November 2020. Lumos is a India/Singapore-based healthcare accelerator providing advisory to early-stage companies in the healthcare industry and propel them to newer growth trajectories. Its main focus is on oncology and adjacencies. 

In a conversation with YourStory, Devang Mehta, Partner at Anthill Ventures, and Anjali Ajaikumar, VP Strategy and Quality, HCG, spoke about the core vision and the plans of the accelerator.

As the founding member, Devang is involved in all key strategic and operational aspects of Lumos Health. He comes with over 20 years of operational experience in early- and mid-stage companies in the US, and has been instrumental in scaling multiple early stage healthtech startups. 

Having learned the ropes of the workings of a hospital right from scratch, Anjali heads strategic growth planning and quality implementation for the entire HCG network. Anjali spearheaded Lumos Health at HCG by creating processes that ease the startup journey and help startups scale with speed through mentoring, revenue growth, etc. 

Devang Mehta, Partner, Anthill Ventures

Edited excerpts from the interview: 

YourStory (YS): Why did you feel there was a need for an incubator and what gap does it solve?

Anjali Ajaikumar (AA): Startups need varied and comprehensive advisory services, in addition to capital, to hit notable growth strides in early stages of evolution. Lumos provides powerful, comprehensive, eclectic and timely interventions to enable startups to achieve rapid growth.

For startups from overseas, this accelerator assists in India markets entry, go-to-market

entry and connections to the local industry to facilitate easy expansion.

YS: What is the key vision of Lumos?

DM: We intend to give startups all the tools and support needed to achieve business goals – profitability, future rounds of funding, getting noticed by bigger players for M&A, and so on. 

We also want to be regarded as the premier healthcare accelerator in India for startups that are defining the frontiers of next-gen innovation.

YS: What are your selection parameters and what kind of startups are you looking at?

DM: We look at companies from Seed to Series A. Ideally, they should have “first principles” in place – management team rounded out, products that are at least post-beta, genuine POCs, a truly differentiated offering with believable defensive moats, and sizeable markets whose dynamics will not change in the coming decade(s).

We prefer startups in oncology and adjacencies - checkpoint inhibitors, digital pathology, genomics, those studying metastasis, nutraceuticals for cancer patients, and so on. 

YS: How will startups benefit and what sets you apart from other incubators? 

AA: The startups get access to HCG and combined with Anthill, which is an unparalleled network of doctors, scientists, and luminaries in the healthcare field. They get infrastructure credits from AWS, Google, and other service providers to help defray certain operating expenses.

YS: What are the key things you look for in the founding team and why? 

DM: We look for startups with deep technical pedigree and are business savvy that have the right blend of skills and operational chops to build successful companies.

They should have genuine defensive moats – either explicitly in the form of patents, unique and hard-to-attain know-how in the minds of its founders. We get an equity stake in the companies. 

YS: What are your future plans? 

AA: We will keep building our accelerator and associated ecosystem to include many other participants. We want to be the first port of call for healthcare startups that need true value-added services to cross the metaphorical chasm and hit incredible growth strides.

Operationally, we intend to grow/build our presence in Singapore and other geographies in Asia.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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