Home diagnostics services provider 5th Vital has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.42 crore) from Brand Capital and a clutch of high net worth individuals (HNIs), co-founder Pratap Chandra told VCCircle.
Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity investment arm of media house Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), alone brought in half the investment amount, he said. The HNIs are Indians, including two NRIs, who are mostly industrialists and businessmen, he added.
The company, which is operated by Prednalytics Health Pvt. Ltd, will use the funds for expansion and marketing.
5th Vital provides doorstep services. It also provides scans and imaging services such as X-Ray, CT (computed tomography) scan and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). It is currently present in Bengaluru and Pune.
The company was founded by Chandra, Praveen Potluri, Waseem Afsar and Harjot Sidhu in July last year. All have earlier worked with healthcare services aggregator CallHealth Services Pvt. Ltd, which also raised funds from Brand Capital earlier this year.
Chandra and Sidhu, who are post-graduates from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta, have over 20 years’ work experience between them. Potluri is a post-graduate from the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, and has over 14 years of experience with healthcare and pharma companies such as Abbott. Afsar is a post-graduate from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore, with over 17 years of experience with entities including the ministry of health at Saudi Arabia.
The diagnostics market in India is highly fragmented but the industry showed signs of maturity after Dr Lal Path Labs floated an initial public offering (IPO) and listed on the stock exchanges in 2015. After months, another diagnostics firms Thyrocare Technologies made a public issue and a successful listing. Carlyle-backed pathology chain Metropolis Healthcare Ltd is also reportedly planning an IPO.
Late last year, healthcare entrepreneur GSK Velu re-entered the diagnostics sector with a new firm, Neuberg Diagnostics.
In lieu of equity, Brand Capital gives ad space across BCCL’s publications, including The Times of India and The Economic Times.
Another BCCL unit, Times Internet Ltd, acquires stakes in tech firms in media and entertainment. A VCCircle analysis in November 2017 showed that BCCL, along with Brand Capital and Times Internet, is one of the most prolific private equity and venture capital-style investors in India.