Software as a Service (SaaS) firm, Zoho Corp, has invested Rs 35 crore in healthcare technology start-up Voxelgrids. The investment will see the SaaS major pick up a 25 percent stake in the company. The investment marks Zoho's first noteworthy foray in funding a healthcare tech start-up.
"Our mission is to invest in critical technology know-how in India. This investment fits well with that mission," said Sridhar Vembu, founder and CEO, Zoho, adding that Zoho has no exit plan for the investment just yet: "We want Voxelgrids to be a large medical services company based in the country."
Founded in 2017, Voxelgrids is in the business of making low-cost MRI scanners that work on a mobile platform. The company its solution, a Voxelgrids 1.5-ton MRI scanner, consumes 80 percent lesser electricity and weighs half of the other scanners would.
Owing to some of these advantages, Voxelgrids’ technology could stand to reduce bills paid for by patients as well as capital and operational expenditure incurred by scan centres. Given that the solution is also mounted on a mobile platform, Voxelgrids' scanning machines have the potential to fill the supply gap in hitherto un-serviced rural hamlets in need of MRI scanners.
"There is an untapped opportunity that exists in the MRI market, and we are grateful for Zoho’s support," said Arjun Arunachalam, founder and CEO, Voxelgrids. "Presently, we have one active MRI installation and are working on four orders," he added, "We should have multiple active installations by the end of this financial year."
For Zoho, the investment is a sign of things to come. "Zoho will be looking for similar opportunities," said Sridhar, "Our goal is to help start a full-spectrum health technology/services company in India." While the Voxelgrids funding is technically Zoho's first investment in a healthcare start-up, the company runs a healthcare solutions unit, vTitan, catering to the lower end of the healthcare technology spectrum.
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Zoho has, to date, stayed away from making any significant acquisitions in this space, owing to dissonance in "merging working cultures", according to Sridhar. However, Zoho has confirmed that once a series of similar investments take place, it could look to bunch its healthcare vertical into a single holding business.
"Once our market traction shows maturity, we will look to organise this better," said Sridhar, "The question of setting up a separate holding company for healthcare investments is three to five years down the road."
(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)