Bangalore-based Venture Factory has launched an incubation and accelerator programme for healthcare startups. As part of this, the firm will fund up to five startups in the space by the end of this year.
Christened VF-Healthcare, the programme will incubate healthcare startups and make an initial investment in these. Venture Factory will also participate in the follow-on round when these startups demonstrate business viability and the ability to scale up operations.
“When startups that are incubated by us reach the next level through our selection process, we make a formal investment of $200,000-$500,000. As startups move on after that, we will also look to participate in their follow-on rounds. This will be in the range of $500,000-$2 million,” said Vinay Rao, venture partner, Venture Factory.
Venture Factory has also entered into strategic partnerships with online healthcare platform Practo, hospital chain Cloudnine and Plan India (the Indian chapter of non-government organisation Plan International which focuses on children) to build an ecosystem, which would provide its healthcare-focused startups access to doctors, healthcare professionals and patients as well as services across the healthcare spectrum ranging from on-ground touch points to cloud based services and products.
While digital-enabled healthcare startups are its focus, Venture Factory is open to offline players but only those which have some amount of technology play, said Rao.
Startup incubator Venture Factory is run by i2india Pvt. Ltd, which was founded in 2006 by IIT Kanpur and Wharton graduate Deepam Mishra with $10 million initial capital from a host of investors, including Imperial Innovations, a subsidiary of UK’s Imperial College for technology transfer, commercialisation and investment, UK-based entrepreneurs Chris Mathias and Tom Singh, former Ranbaxy CEO DS Brar and US-based Harbour Ventures, besides Tata Sons.
Established in 2012, Venture Factory saw its first batch of startups graduate last year.
While the first programme was open to startups from all sectors, going forward the focus will be on healthcare and infrastructure (mostly logistics) startups. The VF-Healthcare programme is also an initiative under this umbrella. The second batch of incubees are expected to be on-boarded soon and the screening process is currently under way.
“Given our expertise and the kind of startups we have worked with, we believe these two sectors show a huge scope for growth and disruption,” said Rao.
The firm makes investments in startups through i2india, which is also its external investment arm. Currently, i2india has six startups in its startup portfolio.
In June last year, it invested $500,000 (Rs 3.2 crore) into Bangalore-based Shippr Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs an online aggregator platform for intra-city logistics service providers .
In May last year, it invested $500,000 (Rs 3.35 crore) in parenting and child safety-focused portal ZenParent.in.
It has also backed i2play interactive, a startup that enhances gamified learning for children; GPS Renewables, a waste management solution startup; Tsepak, a tech startup that makes a geo-tracking and analytics product called Busybox; and CL Infotech, an IT education service provider in the higher education space.