“There is a huge void for quality eye care service at an affordable cost and IIFL’s support and guidance will help us fill this void and build an accountable institution with qualitative clinical outcomes. All our hospitals will be eyeing at NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers) accreditation in immediate future," said Shridhar Thakur, founder, Infigo Lifesciences.
The chain is promoted by Thakur, former chief operating officer at Vasan Eye Care, and Anil Kamath, former managing director at Wockhardt Hospitals. It plans to open 15 comprehensive speciality eye care centres in Maharashtra within a year, with two eye care hospitals slated to open in August.
Of the 15, ten centres would be opened in Mumbai and the remainder across Maharashtra, adding to its existing portfolio of six centres in Mumbai.
“India is witnessing an interesting trend with people preferring to visit branded speciality centres for their healthcare needs. In a country where most eye care practices are individually-run and often lack protocols or standards, there is an opportunity to create a pan-India franchise of speciality eye care centres. The current gap in demand and supply and increasing consumer preference for branded chains presents a unique opportunity," said Prashasta Seth, senior managing partner, IIFL AMC.
IIFL AMC had started the IIFL India Private Equity Fund, a close-ended Sebi-registered Category II Alternative Investment Fund, in May last year to invest in early-stage firms in healthcare, technology, financial services and consumer goods sectors.
In April, the fund picked up a significant minority stake in analytics company Neewee Analytics Pvt. Ltd, which focuses on the manufacturing sector and licenses its products under the brand Bodhee.
From its previous fund, IIFL Seed Ventures Fund 1, the firm had invested in companies like Poncho Hospitality (Box8), Kogta Financial and Shopsense Technologies.
Lately, speciality eye care hospitals in India have seen strong interest from private equity firms.
On 11 June, the Press Trust of India reported that eye care firm Disha Medical Services had raised Series C funding of $4 million (over ₹27 crore) from Insitor Impact Asia Fund, the Nilekani Family Office and other high net worth individuals.
In May, Mahindra Partners, the private equity and corporate investment arm of the Mahindra Group, announced its acquisition of an undisclosed stake in New Delhi-based eye care chain, Centre for Sight for ₹206.5 crore providing a complete exit to its early venture capital investor Matrix Partners.
In February, Singapore government-owned investment fund Temasek Holdings invested ₹270 crore in Chennai-based chain of eye-care hospitals, Dr Agarwal’s Health Care Ltd.