Chennai-based social enterprise incubator Villgro Innovations Foundation has decided to make an investment of about $100,000 in the form of grant and equity in Pune-based biomedical device startup Nayam Innovations Pvt Ltd, according to a press release.
As part of the deal, a representative of Villgro will join the board of Nayam besides extending incubation support.
“Through this investment, Villgro is backing an excellent team, an innovation with tremendous potential, and an enterprise with scope for long-term impact,” Mukesh Sharma, chief investment officer, Villgro, said in the statement.
In February this year, Villgro committed an investment of $0.08 million in Nayam.
Founded in 2012 by two IIT Bombay alumni Tanuj Gigras and Mandar Gadre, Nayam is developing an artificial implant to treat cataract. It aims to use its patented technology to provide cataract treatment at one-tenth the present cost, and with better outcomes.
“Vision impairment and poverty are linked. In resource-poor settings, it determines one’s prospects for education, employment and dignity of life. For the poor in India, poor vision means low productivity and loss of daily wage. Using cutting-edge technology we want to improve the quality of life of millions of patients,” said Dr S Ponrathnam, chief scientist at Nayam.
The company is incubated at Pune-based Venture Center, which is also a co-investor in the firm. Venture Center is a Pune-based Government of India initiative that facilitates growth of startups, entrepreneurs and technical talent.
Started in 2001, Villgro funds and incubates early-stage, innovation-based, for-profit social enterprises that have significant impact on the lives of India’s poor. It has so far incubated 109 such enterprises, generated around 4,000 jobs, secured Rs 112 crore in follow-on funding.
In November last year, Villgro picked seven companies—Vectordoc, Microx Labs, Kamal Kisan, Flybird Innovations, SustainEarth Pvt. Ltd, Bempu Health Pvt. Ltd and Skilltrain Training and Consultancy India Pvt. Ltd—for its second set of incubation and funding programme, as per the data collated by VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle.