IQGEN raises maiden health-tech VC fund for India, other markets
Aman Iqbal

IQGEN Holdings LLC has marked the final close of its maiden venture capital fund at $25 million (Rs 163 crore), a top executive at the healthcare investment and advisory firm told VCCircle.

The Vantage fund aims to invest in technology-driven healthcare companies in India and other Asian nations, founder and managing partner Aman Iqbal said.

The limited partners, or investors, in this fund include foreign high-net-worth individuals and family offices, he said, but declined to name them because of confidentiality reasons.

The fund, which is registered in Cayman Islands and has an office in Hyderabad, aims to invest in countries including India, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. There is no specific allocation for India and other regions, he said.

Within the healthcare segment, Vantage will focus on investing in telemedicine, data analytics in diagnostics, artificial intelligence in medicine, robotics in surgery, wellness and health insurance.

"The big wave of innovation is just hitting India and Asia when it comes to both the timing and growth of a pool of some exceptional companies led by brilliant entrepreneurs," said Iqbal. The fund will begin looking for deals by early summer, he added.

The fund will primarily participate in pre-Series A and Series A rounds of companies. It aims to invest $1-5 million (Rs 6.5-32.6 crore) each in its target companies. "We would like to be major shareholders or lead investors in a few exceptional companies," he said.

Iqbal said the fund has plans to invest in companies in collaboration with governments and key organisations that it has connections to in the region.

With Vantage, IQGEN aims to establish itself as the one-stop shop for healthcare in India and Asia, said Iqbal. Incorporated in 2014, IQGEN has kept a low profile in the healthcare segment by offering advisory services to global organisations, carrying out due diligence for major venture capital and private equity firms, and doing equity research.

IQGEN also aims to support a healthcare accelerator in Hyderabad and wants to set up a think tank this year to publish a white paper on emerging areas, in partnership with private equity and merger and acquisition advisory groups.

Other healthcare funds

Vantage joins a small number of healthcare-focussed funds in India. Already, small sector-focussed and large sector-agnostic VC and PE firms have their share of healthcare investments.

A recent VCCircle survey showed that, in terms of sub-sector domains, a majority of investors favour the health-tech segment this year as compared to the fin-tech category last year.

Healthcare-focussed investment firms in India include Quadria Capital, InvAscent, Asian Healthcare Fund, Sabre Partners and Somerset Indus Capital Partners.

Quadria, a Singapore- and India-based PE firm, had raised $304 million in its debut fund. Asian Healthcare Fund has exhausted its first fund and is now looking to raise a new corpus. Somerset is also expected to raise money for its second fund.

InvAscent is aiming to mark the final close of its third fund in March. The PE firm had hit the first close for the India Life Sciences Fund III at $150 million in December last year and the second close at $210 million in January 2018.

Last year, PE firm Sabre Partners marked the final close of its fourth fund above the targeted Rs 300 crore ($45 million), without disclosing the exact amount of money it raised. It also broadened its strategy to invest in sectors other than healthcare.

Global healthcare-focussed investment firm OrbiMed Advisors LLC has also actively struck deals in India involving investments in companies such as pharmaceuticals firm Vivimed Labs and diagnostics company Suraksha Diagnostic Pvt. Ltd.

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