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Project November 11, 2015

India's Entrepreneurial Answer to Healthcare

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Media file: dehli_plants6_600_422_80.jpg
Barun Aggarwal, the director of BreatheEasy, in the company’s greenhouse. Image by Ishan Tankha. India, 2015.

Image by Ishan Tankha. India, 2015.

Initially, health initiatives and start-ups in India were funded by grant dollars from abroad and had limited access to private equity or traditional financing. This was an impediment; they would start a pilot, be successful, then be left hanging.

In the last couple years, however, more investment dollars are being spent on India's medtech start-ups; these are homegrown Delhi and Mumbai-based investors as well as development funding and impact investors from abroad.

In 2011, there were just 29 investments in healthcare by private equity funds; in 2013, that shot up to 71. Early estimates of 2014 suggest that over 100 investments were made in healthcare. This is clearly an emerging trend.

Esha Chhabra reports on India's health start-up movement, highlighting the entrepreneurs who are developing business models for low-cost care, converging India's two specialties—medicine and technology, and the growing body of investors, backing these innovations.

Has a gap in India's health sector--poorly managed by the government and ailing for decades--created an opportunity for young graduates to develop entrepreneurial solutions to the problem?

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