Ankur Capital, others inject fresh funds into health-tech startup Niramai
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Breast cancer screening startup Niramai Health Analytix Pvt. Ltd has raised a new round of funding from its existing venture capital investors and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal.

The Bengaluru-based startup has secured about $6-7 million (Rs 42.5-50 crore) from early-stage investment firms Ankur Capital, Axilor Ventures and pi Ventures, as well as Bansal.

Ankur Capital co-founder Ritu Verma confirmed the investment. She added that the transaction will be closed by 15 December with two to three new investors. She didn't disclose any other details.

The Economic Times first reported the development without saying where it got the information from.

Niramai co-founder Geetha Manjunath declined to comment. Text messages sent to pi Ventures founding partner Manish Singhal, Axilor CEO Ganapathy Venugopal and Bansal did not elicit any response till the time of publishing this article.

Niramai, which stands for non-invasive risk assessment with machine intelligence, uses big data analytics and artificial intelligence over thermal images for early detection of breast cancer. It was founded in July 2016 by Geetha Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur, former employees of Xerox Research Center and Hewlett-Packard Labs.

The company’s screening method is based on the principles of thermography, which can detect tumors five years before a mammography or a clinical exam can do so.

Niramai’s USP is that its device is non-invasive, radiation-free and can be used on women below 40-45 years of age, detecting cancer at an early stage. The startup offers end-consumers only a screening test while it sells its devices to hospitals and diagnostic centres. It also offers training, installation and service at 12 hospitals and diagnostic centres.

The startup is operational in Bengaluru, Mysore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Dehradun and Pune.

In April last year, the company raised an undisclosed amount in a seed funding round from pi Ventures, Ankur Capital, Axilor and 500Startups.

Niramai is not the only Indian health-tech startup exploring this pain point. VC-backed UE Life Sciences Inc and bootstrapped MyCliniCare also use handheld screening devices and tap other branches of science to help detect cancer. Sequoia-backed OncoStem has created tests to predict cancer recurrence.

Although genomics and high-end diagnostics sector is nascent in India, health-tech startups and diagnostic ventures have attracted significant investor interest of late.

In August 2017, Bengaluru-based genomics-based diagnostics and research firm MedGenome Labs Pvt. Ltd raised $30 million (Rs 192 crore) in a Series C round led by existing investor Sequoia Capital and new investor Sofina SA. 

In March last year, iGenetic Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd, which offers diagnostics tests ranging from biochemistry to advanced molecular genetics, had said that Manipal Education and Medical Group, and UK-based development financial institution CDC Group Plc had pumped Rs 133 crore into the company.

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