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Insitor Impact, Nilekani, others back eye-care chain Drishti; Lok Capital exits
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Disha Medical Services Pvt. Ltd, an eye-care chain focused on affordable treatment in underserved markets under the brand Drishti, has raised fresh capital in what is the third deal in the space this year.

Drishti said in a statement it has raised $4 million (around Rs 27.8 crore at current exchange rate) in its Series C round of funding.

Social-impact venture capital fund Insitor Impact Asia Fund came in as a new investor in this round. Existing investor and Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani, whose wealth is managed by Entrust Family Office, and other unidentified high net-worth individuals (HNIs), also participated in the round.

The company's earliest investor Sarva Capital, a fund of social-impact investor Lok Capital, exited Drishti via the round.

Drishti will use the funds to strengthen its position in its existing market of Karnataka, where it plans to open 10 more hospitals, vision centres and mobile eye clinics. It currently has six eye hospitals and mobile eye clinics each and four vision centres in the southern state.

The eye-care firm was started in 2012 by Kiran Anandampillai with his wife Anjali Joshi and ophthalmologist Rajesh Babu. In 2012, it raised around Rs 2.5 crore as seed capital, the bulk of which came from Lok Capital. In 2013, the company raised an undisclosed amount from Lok Capital in its Series A round. In June 2016, it received funding from Nilekani.

Insitor

Insitor is a social-impact venture capital fund financing companies that offer low-income families options for increased access to healthcare, education, affordable housing, water, sanitation and clean energy. The fund invests in India, Myanmar, Cambodia and Pakistan.

Last year, Insitor invested in Delhi-based Aviom India Housing Finance Pvt. Ltd.

Other companies it has backed in India include Biosense Technologies, Mera Gao Power and Sustaintech India.

Deals in the eye-care space

This is the third deal in the eye-care space this year after a period of private equity lull in the industry.

Just last month, Mahindra Partners, the private equity arm of diversified Mahindra Group, invested Rs 206.5 crore (around $30 million) in New Delhi-based eye-care chain Centre for Sight. This deal had also paved the way for the full exit of venture capital firm Matrix Partners India. 

In February, VCCircle reported that Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings had invested Rs 270 crore ($38 million) in Dr Agarwal’s Health Care.

A recent analysis of the eye-care space shows that the collective net sales growth of six players (five investor-backed chains and one not backed by external investor) slowed to 8.2% for the financial year ended 2017-18 from 14% and 13.3% in the previous two years.

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