Unitus Ventures Launches Healthcare Tech Startup Competition

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Prize of 6 lakhs; Opportunity to access further 4 crore of investment. Partners with GE Healthcare, Accel and C-Camp to shortlist and mentor applicants.

4 May 2017, Bangalore. Unitus Ventures, India’s leading impact venture fund investing in early-stage startups innovating for the masses, today announced the launch of the fourth edition of its StartHealth competition – a nationwide challenge to find, mentor and fund startups that are driving accessible and affordable tech-driven healthcare solutions for India’s low-income population. The winner will receive a cash prize of INR 6 lakhs and potential access of up to 4 crore of additional funding and investment.

Increasing Costs of Healthcare Reducing Access and Bankrupting Crores of Indians

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers report, ‘Funding Indian Healthcare – Catalysing the next wave of growth’, in India, between 1996 and 2014, the average cost of hospital treatment rose by 10.4 per cent annually. With approximately 63 million people falling in to poverty annually due to lack of financial protection for healthcare needs, there is a growing need to find inclusive and scalable healthcare solutions, that can innovatively bridge the heavily skewed ratio of care providers and care seekers.

“In the last year alone, our healthcare investees have impacted nearly 200,000 lives. We are deeply committed to furthering healthcare innovation in India and this is evidenced through our INR 100 crore funding allocation to healthcare startups,” said Dave Richards, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Unitus Ventures. “Through StartHealth Competition, we are excited to back passionate healthcare entrepreneurs, building profitable businesses that are impacting the masses in India.”

Unitus Ventures has partnered with GE Healthcare, Accel and C-Camp to shortlist and mentor the competition applicants. The focus areas for StartHealth 4 are startups with innovative solutions in artificial intelligence, analytics, devices, and home healthcare.

StartHealth Investee Leading the Way for Breast Cancer Screening in India

UE LifeSciences, a previous StartHealth investee is bringing low-cost breast cancer detection to the masses in India with iBreastExam – an FDA-approved, low-cost, easy-to-use, handheld breast cancer scanning device. Since StartHealth funding, they have raised a Series A investment round of USD $4 million from Aarin Capital (Manipal Group), Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Founder and CEO of Biocon) and Unitus Ventures.

“StartHealth is a unique catalytic funding model tailored to entrepreneurs; on one hand, it enabled us to move the production of our core sensor technology to India and helped conduct a pivotal clinical study and on the other hand it offered us the privilege to raise further equity capital at the end of the grant,” said Mihir Shah, Founder and CEO of UE LifeSciences.

“More than 5.8 billion people worldwide do not have access to quality healthcare. At GE Healthcare, we strongly believe that open and crowd-sourced innovation platforms for public health like the StartHealth challenge is an important way to address this gap. Through our five.eight accelerator, we are working with global health startups to improve healthcare quality and accessibility in developing or low-resource settings”, said Vikram Damodaran, Chief Product Officer, GE Healthcare, Sustainable Healthcare Solutions.

“Accel has been investing in healthcare startups in India for over a decade and we are excited to partner with StartHealth across very interesting sectors and potentially identify some great companies that are building solutions and products for areas with high unmet needs,” said Barath Shankar Subramanian, Principal, Accel.

StartHealth 4 – Process and Timelines

  • Applications open on May 4th and close on June 6th, 2017
  • Areas of interest include artificial intelligence, analytics, devices and home health.
  • Unitus Ventures and the partners will conduct initial screening and shortlist 10 promising startups.
  • Finalists will receive media publicity and the opportunity to pitch to the jury panel in the final round of the competition, who will jointly decide on the winner based on a pre-published rubric for rating that takes in to account critical success factors such as impact on the masses, leadership and team, innovation, and business model.
  • The winner will receive a 6 lakhs prize and the opportunity for up to an additional 4 crores of funding/investment along with expert go-to-market support from StartHealth partners.

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About AmpHealth Program

AmpHealth investment program is Unitus Ventures’s program in the healthcare sector, in partnership with Pfizer Foundation. Within the purview of AmpHealth, Unitus Ventures is aiming to provide up to INR 4 crore (~USD 600,000) in non-dilutive catalytic capital to very early-stage startups seeking to enhance access to affordable technology-driven healthcare products and services for India’s low-income population, followed by seed investments. More about AmpHealth Program >

About Unitus Ventures

Unitus Ventures is the leading impact venture fund investing in businesses innovating for the masses in India. Unitus invests in sectors including healthcare, education and financial technology. Unitus Ventures is backed by leading individual, family office, and foundation investors in the USA and India. Unitus Ventures is part of the Unitus Group, a premier financial services group operating in India and other emerging markets since 2000. Unitus Ventures is based in Bangalore and is a member of the Capria Network.

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