VC-backed Forus to double headcount this year, also eyeing overseas markets
Forus Health

Low-cost healthcare equipment maker Forus Health is looking to ramp up its team size to boost sales in India with an R&D centre besides an upcoming office in north India. It is also eyeing the global markets of Latin America and the South-east Asia, among others, to sell its products, the company’s founder and chief executive K Chandrashekhar said.

Bangalore-based Forus raised $5 million from Accel Partners and IDG Ventures in its Series A funding in April this year. The company makes and sells 3nethra, a portable, integrated ophthalmology device for pre-screening and identification of potential eye diseases.

According to Forus, its USP is 3nethra, a low-cost, integrated device priced in the range of Rs 5-6 lakh, while other companies offer individual devices which could add up to as much as Rs 30 lakh.

According to Chandrashekhar, the firm has 30 staff members at present and 3nethra has been installed in 40 or so commercial establishments including some of the leading hospitals across the country. As some of these installations involve multiple products, the actual number of the products sold would be higher.

The company is now eyeing a pan-India presence and has also started some small-time installations outside the country. It hopes to sell its products in other geographies like the South-east Asia and Latin America in the future.

Forus will shortly open an office in Delhi and plans to develop other medical technologies which will address healthcare delivery problems.

Chandrashekhar feels that the domestic market itself is huge enough with the number of people suffering from various eye conditions close to 12 million. “In India, the doctor-patient ratio is small and our device makes a medical practitioner’s job easy as it can be operated even by a technician with minimal training,” he said.

Since the device is connected to a computer system, technicians can send retinal images to a medical practitioner within a short time. It can also be connected to the Cloud, so that people in remote villages can benefit from 3nethra.

Low-cost medical equipment is also the focus area of some other Indian startups. Moreover, big players like Philips and GE are also looking to develop low-cost compact products in India to be used in other emerging markets.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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