Drishti, a social enterprise providing eye care to underserved populations has raised its first round of funding from Lok Capital, one of the largest dedicated funds in India for businesses focused on serving the BOP (bottom of the pyramid). This is Lok Capital’s first investment in the healthcare segment.
Drishti provides eye care to underserved areas through a 3-tier model that includes screening camps, primary care via telemedicine and surgical care at its district hospitals. Drishti will use the funds to service underserved geographies of Karnataka with their 3 tier hub and spoke model using outreach programs for villages, telemedicine supported vision centres at small towns for primary eye care and advanced eye facilities and surgical care at their hospital.
While 80% of people above 50 years require some form of eye care, India has little to no providers of eye care in semi-urban or rural areas where the bulk of its population lives. An estimated 12 million people in India are blind, 80% of which is avoidable blindness from cataract, solvable by a simple surgery. Drishti reaches these areas using innovative vision centers setup at existing general physician facilities in small towns and serviced over tele-medicine from its hospital. Services are priced to support all economic segments especially the BOP and include support for social insurance schemes from the government.
Lok Capital, with a corpus of USD $85 million, 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, a rural education initiative. Lok Capital has also funded Vistaar, a small enterprise financing company as well as other financial inclusion players like Ujjivan and IFMR Rural Channels.