1Crowd, others invest in rural health-tech startup Karma Healthcare
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Rajasthan-based Karma Primary Healthcare Services Pvt. Ltd, which provides technology-based healthcare solutions in rural areas, has raised Rs 3 crore ($500,000) in a fresh round of funding from equity crowdfunding platform 1Crowd, a company statement said.

Existing investors Ankur Capital, Ennovent Capital, Beyond Capital, and a few undisclosed angel investors also participated in this round, the statement added.

The company will use the fresh funds to scale up its operations and beef up its technology offering to improve the quality of its healthcare services, Jagdeep Gambhir, founder and chief executive of Karma Healthcare, said.

The company had last has raised funds in 2015 from Impact Investment Holding, an impact investment funding unit of advisory firm Ennovent.

Founded in 2014, Karma Healthcare sets up health centres in rural areas, which provide a range of health services including web-enabled patient-doctor consultations, face-to-face doctor consultations and medicines to patients. Each clinic caters to a population of 20,000-25,000.

According to information available on the company’s website, each health centre, which the company refers to as Karma Clinic, has an Android-based tablet with an in-built webcam and mobile-based internet connection, wireless printer, external speaker and other clinical equipment. A community health worker, who is a nursing staff, is employed at this clinic.

Whenever a patient walks into one of these clinics, the community health worker records vital parameters, facilitates a video consultation between the patient and a physician, prints the e-prescription emailed by the doctor and provides medicines free of cost. When the patient requires a more detailed medical examination or admission, patients are guided to the appropriate tertiary care/specialist facilities in nearby cities and towns.

Karma Healthcare, which currently has operations in Rajasthan and Haryana, claims to have conducted over 50,000 consultations and operates 10 e-doctor clinics, the company said in the statement.

“Access to healthcare, healthcare financing and ensuring equitable services remain a major concern. It is estimated that 45% of the population travels more than 100 kms to access a higher level of care. This leads to a selection of inappropriate and expensive medical facilities, which can increase disease complexity and financial burden,” the company stated on its website.

A management graduate in finance and operations from the Indian School of Business (ISB), Gambhir was a technology analyst with Goldman Sachs before venturing on his own.

Earlier this month, 1Crowd marked the first close its debut angel fund at Rs 23 crore ($3.5 million). The fund has a target corpus of Rs 75 crore including a greenshoe option of Rs 25 crore. Besides a fund, 1Crowd runs an equity crowdfunding platform, which has made 15 investments. The fund is sector agnostic and will invest in 20 firms. It will initially invest around $500,000 in a firm and then subsequently increase its stake.

Recent deals in health-tech

Last week, Bengaluru-based Terra Blue, which operates as TerraBlue XT, received a commitment of Rs 2 crore from The North East Venture Fund, the first dedicated venture capital fund for northeastern India. The healthcare startup is developing an epilepsy diagnostic and monitoring device.

Early this month, Predible Health Pvt. Ltd, a startup that builds AI-powered apps that interpret medical scans for radiologists diagnosing cancer, raised an undisclosed amount from Unitus Seed Fund, a seed-stage impact venture player.

Around the same time, primary healthcare services aggregator HealthAssure raised $1 million (Rs 6.5 crore) in a pre-Series A round from human resource ventures-focused private investment firm The HR Fund.

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