With an aim to bridge supply-demand gap for healthcare services in India, a group of healthcare entities, including Manipal Hospitals, Narayana Health, Pfizer and investor Unitus Seed Fund have started a programme known as StartHealth to provide up to INR 10 Cr. in grants to early stage health tech startups working towards affordable technology-driven healthcare products and services for low-income masses.
StartHealth will focus on startups working on healthcare innovation, including low-cost diagnostic and monitoring devices connecting doctors and patients, healthcare cloud IT solutions and innovations for use in labs or clinical settings to improve the quality of care at lower levels of healthcare system, such as primary care clinics.
Under this new initiative, the partners expect to select up to five startups in 2015 and provide up to INR 50 lakh of non-dilutive capital to fund immediate pre-seed business progress for 6-12 months and hands-on support from PATH, Manipal Hospitals and Narayana Health’s staff.
Besides, the selected startups will also get access to expert networks of Pfizer, PATH, Manipal Hospitals, Narayana Health and Unitus in India and globally and facilities of Manipal Hospitals and Narayana Health for pilots and market testing.
Also, the seed capital of INR 1 Cr. and support from Unitus Seed Fund and its investing partners will be provided to the startups to prepare for growth and then to raise scale-up capital.
Speaking on this programme, Dave Richards, Managing Partner, Unitus Seed Fund said, “Many of the 150 healthcare entrepreneurs we’ve met over two years weren’t ready yet for an investment from us. With StartHealth, we can engage and invest even earlier in their development. There is a massive supply-demand gap for healthcare services in India. If you can create access and affordability, the demand is massive. Technology can be a game-changer to enable access and affordability.”
Ravichandran Natarajan, Senior Vice President and head of corporate relations at Narayana Health said, “We believe that our engagement through StartHealth initiative will provide right and appropriate platform to healthcare technology entrepreneurs in evaluating the same on an actual scenario of the large low-income population base.”
Earlier in last year, DLabs and Indian School of Business, Hyderabad has jointly announced the launch of India’s first accelerator program HealthStart, dedicated to supporting startups in healthcare industry through funding, mentorship and other requisite support.
According to the recent report by Equentis Capital, the healthcare sector in India will grow to $158.2 billion in 2017 from $78.6 billion in 2012. The report says that healthcare sector is growing at a 15% CAGR and jumped from $45 billion in 2008 to $78.6 billion in 2012 and expected to touch $158.2 billion by 2017.
Recent developments in the online healthcare space are as follows:-
– The Hyderabad-based online cloud-enabled medical records platform Ekincare, had raised INR 1 Cr. in angel round of funding from US-based healthcare firm Adroitent Pvt. Ltd.
– Mumbai-based online healthcare products store, Healthyworld.in had secured $200K from a digital media serial entrepreneur, surgeon and an NRI.
– Bangalore-based healthcare startup Qikwell Technologies that connects patients and doctors had raised $3 Mn in series A round of funding lead by SAIF Partners.
– Mumbai-based startup Diabeto Medtech India Pvt Ltd had raised over $11K through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo for its flagship product which is a hardware device that wirelessly syncs glucometer readings with smartphones.