Lok Capital buys minority stake in social enterprise Drishti

Tags: Companies

Firm will use funds to service underserved geographies of Karnataka

The Rockefeller Foundation-backed Lok Capital, a dedicated VC fund focused on serving the BOP (bottom of the pyramid) has bought ‘a significant minority stake’ in Drishti, a social enterprise providing eye care to underserved populations. This also marked the New Delhi-headquartered VC fund’s foray into healthcare segment.

While confirming the development, Lok Capital and Drishti officials refused to divulge the exact amount that the VC fund has chipped in. “All we can say is that Lok Capital has taken a significant minority stake in our social enterprise,” Drishti top officials told FC.

Drishti will use the funds to service underserved geographies of Karnataka with their tier-III hub-and-spoke model using outreach programmes for villages, telemedicine supported vision centres at small towns for primary eye care and advanced eye facilities and surgical care at their hospital.

Vishal Mehta, co-founder, Lok Advisory Services, which owns Lok Capital, said, “When it comes to BoP, healthcare is an area which needs immediate intervention, not only in providing affordable treatment, but in providing access to quality facilities. Drishti combines geographic access for such underserved population along with low cost options to the poor. Drishti’s operating model ensures that there is mimimum dependency on asset creation (such as setting up clinics) or manning them with trained opthalmologists, while taking eye care to thousands of people in smaller towns and villages.”

Lok Capital had earlier invested in enterprises focused on livelihood generation and rural education like Rural Shores, a BPO focused on rural employment and Hippocampus Learning Centre. Lok Capital has also funded Vistaar, a small enterprise financing company as well as other financial inclusion players like Ujjivan and IFMR Rural Channels.

Speaking on their first stage fund raising, Kiran Anandampillai, founder, Drishti, said, “Lok Capital’s investment has been an endorsement of our social goals. The funds will help us reach out to more people in these areas. 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. This is what Drishti aims to do.”

ritwikmukherjee@mydigitalfc.com

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