Drishti, a social enterprise founded in 2011 that provides eye care to underserved populations in India, announced today that it raised its first round of funding from Lok Capital, one of India’s largest impact investment funds serving the bottom of the pyramid.
The amount has not been disclosed, but Drishti officials did say that Lok Capital has taken a “significant minority stake” in the company. This will be Lok Capital’s first investment in healthcare.
The funds will be used to service Karnataka. Drishti provides fitting and delivery of glasses to villages starting at Rs. 200 ($4 USD) and cataract surgeries – which are conducted at Nethra Eye Hospital in Bangalore – from Rs. 1500 ($27 USD). They also offer pickup services at the villages for patients and food as part of the surgery package. Their model is not unlike other social enterprises that use multi-tier and pay-what-you-can pricing.
And their services are critical. India has little or no providers of eye care in semi-rural and rural areas while more than 80% of those over 50 require eye care. Of the estimated 12 million who are blind in India, 80% are avoidable blindness by a simple surgery.
“Right now, quality eye care is an imperative in smaller towns and villages, where several people lose sight owing to inadequate treatment. We need to address this across all strata of the socio economic pyramid, but the poor need more attention in terms of access, cost and other critical considerations like loss of livelihood,” says Kiran Anandampillai, founder of Drishti. “The funds will help us reach out to more people in these areas”.
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