Menterra Venture Advisors, an impact investment fund that invests in early-stage social startups has announced a new round of investment in Biosense Technologies alongside its investment partner Artha Venture Challenge, impact investment initiative of the Singh Family Foundation. With the new round, Menterra and Artha have provided more than US$1m of direct equity funding and unlocked soft debt funding of more than US$2m through its network. The Maharashtra-based start-up provides quality, affordable and connected point-of-care diagnostics solutions for chronic diseases in India.
Biosense, started by a team of doctors and biomedical engineers, founded the company upon noticing the gaps in the provision of preventive care for chronic diseases, especially in non-metro cities and small towns of India. Initially, they started developing affordable medical devices that helped diagnose chronic problems from anaemia to diabetes and urine check. Today, they have six products and plan to scale up, in terms of R&D and distribution to other parts of the country.
Commenting on the investment, Mukesh Sharma, Head Menterra Venture Advisors says, “We have been associated with the team for over seven years now. First through incubation-fund platform at Villgro, and then with investment and intense post-investment support beyond risk capital. The teams’ bold vision to solve the critical chronic healthcare challenge for our country at scale, never wavered through years of testing and learning. Few people know that they are one of the few ‘Make in India’ companies creating indigenous glucose strips for diabetes testing. We are immensely happy to partner with them on their growth journey.”
There has been a curious shift in disease patterns in India from 1990 to 2016. According to the ‘Health of Nation States’ report, causes of death were fairly uniform in 1990 but are far more varied now. There is a need for different health interventions in the present day and time.
Abhishek Sen, co-founder of Biosense, puts the data in perspective, “We look at the disease shift as 3 waves in our country. Wave 1, with communicable diseases like diarrhoea have lessened but even today, when we work in rural districts, we see its deadly impact. On the other hand, with Wave 2, non-communicable diseases like diabetes are emerging as new killers. Wave 3, with mental health disorders such as mental stress, social isolation and depression etc. Many of these conditions are preventable.
The twin burden of diabetes and anaemia has become our crusade. Today, we are not just device manufacturers. We are chronic disease solution providers.”
Biosense has conducted over more than 4m tests for chronic diseases in 2017 alone, across India. Through their ground-level work, they have been able to collect detailed data on disease patterns. Data that can target more public health interventions real-time instead of relying on information that, like many medicines, is past the expiry date for use.
The funding from Menterra will help optimizing its supply chain, and to develop an end-to-end chronic disease solution platform for patients, in partnership with key partners in the healthcare ecosystem.
Abhishek Sen added that “It has been great to partner with Menterra. They act as a long-term partner for entrepreneurs. This longevity and commitment helps entrepreneurs build the start-up from an idea to market and followed by further support to scale up. We couldn’t have asked for more committed partner to take our mission forward.”