2016 saw VC deals rise in Indian healthcare-IT sector; amount raised falls

The amount of venture-capital investment in the information technology (IT) segment of India’s health care shrunk in 2016 to $71 million from $162 million in the previous year even though the number of deals increased to 51 from 33 over the same period.

According to the Mercom Capital Group data, globally venture-capital (VC) funding, including private equity and corporate venture capital, in health care’s IT segment was at $5.1 billion through 622 deals in 2016, a record. By comparison, $4.6 billion was raised in 2015 through 574 deals. 

Sector observers, however, say the road ahead for Indian firms operating in the segment is promising. 

“India is in a nascent stage when it comes to the health care-IT sector, but slowly the attitude of health care service providers towards adopting IT is changing,” said Deepak Gupta, founder and chief executive officer, PurpleDocs, a Vadodara-based patient record-management company. IT is now being seen as a cost-cutting tool, according to him.

A notable deal in 2016 is Bengaluru-based health and fitness mobile app developer HealthifyMe raising $1 million from Dubai-based investor Neelesh Bhatnagar. It had earlier raised $6 million from IDG Ventures India, Inventus Capital and Blume Ventures. 

Doctor Insta, a Gurgaon-based health care consultant, raised $2.5 million from RoundGlass Partners and BrahmaX Ventures. 

Another Bengaluru-based developer of a health care and fitness app CureFit raised $15 million from Kalaari Capital, Accel Partners and IDG Ventures. 

Mumbai-based HEAL Institute raised up to $7.5 million from a group of investors including former Standard Chartered banker Jaspal Bindra and Parth Jindal, son of JSW Group chairman Sajjan Jindal. 

Tricog Health Services and Modasta, two Bengaluru-based start-ups, raised $1.8 million and $1.5 million, respectively. 

Raj Prabhu, chief executive officer and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group, said: “The Indian health care-IT sector is small and a few big deals can make the numbers look bumpy. The number of funded deals more than doubled year-on-year. While a lot of them were smaller deals, it is a healthy sign that there are a lot of start-ups coming up in this space. We expect 2017 to be a stronger year compared to 2016.”

Since 2010, globally the sector has received $18.5 billion in venture-capital funding through 2,672 deals and almost $7.5 billion in debt and public-market financing (including IPOs), totalling $26 billion.

“Venture-capital funding bounced back after declining in 2015,” Prabhu said, adding, “digital health public companies, on the other hand, continue to struggle”.

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