Your eyes are your windows into the world. Yet, despite the importance of vision, India has little to no providers of eye care in the country’s smaller towns and villages. In these regions – which house the majority of India’s population – statistics indicate that an estimated 12 million people are blind.
Most troubling perhaps is that cataracts, which can often be prevented by a simple surgery, cause 80% of these incidences of blindness.
Recognizing these challenges, Drishti Eye Care works in underserved populations to provide quality eye care with a focus on people at the base of the economic pyramid. Drishti’s focus on low-income markets is important because loss of eyesight for this group of people may mean a critical loss of livelihood.
Drishti uses an innovative model that establishes vision centers in existing general physician facilities that are then serviced leveraging tele-medicine technology from the organization’s hospital. This approach is providing eye care that is not only easily accessible but is also affordable.
To scale the business model Drishti Eye Care reached out to social impact investors via the Ennovent Impact Circle in 2012. The Ennovent Impact Circle brings together a trusted and exclusive group of individuals and institutions to collaborate and accelerate enterprises by providing access to impact investors, mentors and experts.
As a result, the company has now raised its first round of funding from Lok Capital, an Indian social venture fund that is focused on serving bottom of the pyramid markets. Drishti will use the funds to meet the needs of under served geographies in Karnataka. They plan on doing this with their three 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.
Mr. Kiran Anandampillai, Drishti’s Founder, notes “Quality eye care is required across all strata of the socio economic pyramid, but the poor need more attention in terms of access, cost and other critical considerations like the loss of livelihood. This investment via Ennovent Impact Circle made by Lok Capital will enable us to reach out to more people in these areas”.
Lok Capital, with a corpus of USD $85 million has earlier invested in enterprises focused on livelihood generation and rural education. This is Lok Capital’s first investment in the healthcare segment.
Speaking on the investment, Mr. Digbijoy Shukla, Director – Ennovent Impact Circle, says, “Drishti is providing a vital service to the BoP by taking eye care to thousands of people in the smaller towns and villages of India. Ennovent is proud to have facilitated entrepreneur Kiran Anandampillai in securing this valuable investment to scale its enterprise”.
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*The above article has been adapted based on an earlier story published by YourStory.in. See the original report here