ERC Eye Care gets follow-on funding from Ennovent

ERC Eye Care Pvt. Ltd, which provides low-cost eye-care services for the bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) market, has received follow-on investment from one of its existing investors, Ennovent India.

The additional investment will help the Assam-based company scale up its operations and expand its reach in the northeastern region of the country, Ennovent India said in a statement. It, however, did not disclose the amount.

Earlier in 2016, ERC’s founder Parveez Ubed had told VCCircle that it was in talks with investors for a Series A round of funding to raise Rs 15-20 crore and that existing investors had shown interest to participate in the funding round.

In late 2013, ERC had raised an angel round from Ennovent along with impact investment firm Ankur Capital and other investors.

ERC, which was founded in June 2013, opened two hospitals at Nagaon and Sivasagar in Assam after the angel funding. The company, which follows a hub-and-spoke model, will open its third hospital in Tezpur in the state later this month. The company has so far provided services to more than 150,000 people in Assam and other northeastern regions, which is seen as an underpenetrated geography because of its hilly and mountainous terrain.

“ERC has come a long way in revolutionising healthcare in the northeast and we are looking at a long-term association with them to continue to create a positive impact in the region,” said Vipul Kumar, country director, Ennovent India.

Austria-based Ennovent, which was founded in 2008, has accelerated over 160 innovations in 30 countries by engaging over 60 partners.

In another healthcare bet in India, Ennovent invested in Rajasthan-based health-tech startup Karma Primary Healthcare Services Pvt. Ltd in 2015.

Eyecare deals

According to a report by CRISIL, India’s eye-care treatment market was worth around $2 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow to $3 billion by 2020.

Private equity, venture capital and foreign strategic investors have tapped into this growing market.

Last year, VCCircle reported that Eye-Q Vision Pvt. Ltd struck an investment deal with Japanese optical products maker, Hoya Corp.

In February 2016, Hong Kong-based private equity firm ADV Partners invested around $45 million in Chennai-based Dr Agarwal’s Healthcare Ltd, paving the way for the exit of Evolvence India Life Sciences Fund.

In 2012, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd invested $100 million for a minority stake in Chennai-based eye-care chain Vasan Healthcare.

Matrix Partners-backed New Delhi Centre for Sight Pvt. Ltd, which operates eye-care chain Centre for Sight, had been preparing to go public but shelved its plans for an initial public offering early last year citing market volatility.

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