Two women who previously worked with Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad and impact investor Acumen have come together to float a venture capital fund that will bet on healthcare companies.
Jayshree Kanther and Karuna Jain aim to raise as much as $40 million (around Rs 300 crore) for the first fund of Enzia Ventures and plan to invest in companies at the seed and Series A stages.
Kanther, who previously focussed on healthcare investing at Khazanah, told VCCircle that Enzia is seeking to mark its first close at $20 million next year.
The early-stage investor would earmark half of its corpus to build a portfolio of 20 companies and set aside the remaining for follow-on investments. On average, it may invest up to $1 million in each company, Kanther said.
Enzia is one of a handful of healthcare-focussed VC funds in India, and its launch comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to improve the country’s healthcare systems.
Other healthcare-focussed VC funds include Alkemi Venture Partners and Healthquad, which was floated by the founders of healthcare private equity firm Quadria Capital. A number of sector-agnostic VC funds also invest in healthcare and health-tech companies. These include Sequoia Capital, Blume Ventures, Accel and Chiratae Ventures.
Enzia decided to focus on the healthcare sector given its growing importance in India and their own expertise.
Both Kanther and Jain have experience of working with or investing in healthcare companies such as Apollo Hospitals, Khazanah-backed IHH Healthcare Berhad, LifeSpring Hospitals and HealthCube.
Kanther, a graduate of IIT Bombay and the Indian School of Business, was previously with McKinsey, IHH Healthcare and led Khazanah’s healthcare investments in India. Jain, also an alumna of the ISB and a chartered accountant, was Acumen India’s head before co-founding Enzia. She has previously worked with Milestone Capital and Grasim Industries Ltd.
Kanther said the healthcare sector is seeing some tailwinds that are aiding its growth. These include supportive regulations, growing awareness about preventive care, patients seeking more convenience and businesses wanting to adopt technology to solve impending issues, she said.
Enzia will fund healthcare companies, especially those which work at the intersection of technology.
The fund has already made its first investment in Morphle Labs, which looks at digitised imaging and analysis of pathology. Morphle is based in India but is incorporated in the US and is also backed by Y Combinator.
The VC firm is also keen to look at funding startups that have a global outlook. Health-tech companies based in India have the scope to cater to many other developing markets, apart from regulated developed markets, Kanther said.