Oivi AS, a Norway-based healthcare startup, said on Monday it has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.5 crore) in its pre-seed funding round led by Indian venture capital firm Arali Ventures.
Other investors from India, Norway, Netherlands and China also participated in the funding round, Oivi said in a statement.
The company, which focuses on early detection of diabetic retinopathy, will use the funds to boost its research and development, early patient testing and assess its product positioning in the global market, it added.
Oivi noted that diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness among people with diabetes, and the disease affects more than 160 million people globally. Lack of awareness of the potential risk of diabetes leading to blindness, unavailability of easy-to-use portable screening devices and expensive procedures of diagnosing the disease are some of the major challenges that is obstructing the treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
However, early detection of diabetic retinopathy is said to prevent vision loss by up to 95% and Oivi is trying to address this unmet need by developing a hand-held screening device.
Rajiv Raghunandan, managing partner, Arali Ventures, said Oivi team has a proven track record bringing dozens of camera- and electro-optical sensor systems from idea stage to mass production in multiple industries.
“Drawing on this vast experience, the team has created a novel optics- and illumination engine capable of providing retinal imaging with unprecedented image quality given its small form factor,” he added.
Oivi was founded in 2017 by Anders Eikenes, Khaleel Udyawar, Jukka Alasirniö and Hans Einar Øverjordet. The team has a combined experience of over 50 years with camera and advanced optics technology.
Indian venture capital firms have been making overseas bets lately.
For instance, a large part of Nexus Venture Partners portfolio comprises startups based in the US having some Indian presence. Notably, the US bets have worked as a hedge for Nexus against lack of exits from its India portfolio, according to a VCCircle analysis.
Earlier in May, early-stage venture capital firm WaterBridge Ventures backed a Canadian e-pharmacy company.
VCCircle reported last year that the venture capital firm marked the first close of its debut seed fund.
Arali Ventures primarily seeks to invest in enterprise-tech startups in India.
The seed fund’s investments will be in the range of $150,000-500,000 (Rs 1-3.5 crore) depending on the startup’s level of maturity. It aims to invest in 12-15 companies over the next two-three years, and will set aside some portion of the fund for investments.