W Health Ventures, a venture capital firm, plans to launch over 10 ‘disruptive’ start-ups in the next three-five years through its incubation arm, Pankaj Jethwani, Managing Partner, W Health Ventures, said. The company has supported 15-20 start-ups across India and the US through its dedicated $100-million fund.

“We plan to fund early-stage companies that are aligned with these goals, and support the founders in growing the company by leveraging W Health’s resources,” he told businessline.

Founded in 2019 by serial technology entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist Sunil Wadhwani and his family, W Health invests in and grows tech-enabled early-stage healthcare companies that are disrupting care delivery in the US and India. Recently, IIT-Madras received a ₹110-crore endowment to establish the Wadhwani School of Data Science & AI.

Jethwani said the $370-billion healthcare industry in India is riddled with multiple problems. There has been limited and slow innovation and the patient is almost never at the centre. “It is with this premise that we evaluate the space,” he said.

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There are multiple large problems to solve. With high incidence of diseases such as diabetes (around 12 per cent) and obesity (around 30 per cent), and increasing awareness around health, many large problems within healthcare remain unsolved in India and provide a huge opportunity for companies to come up with innovative solutions, with many leveraging technology to create affordable and effective solutions.

Tech-first, therapy-focused care models

With rapid growth in Internet subscribers to 840 million, the company sees the first wave of healthcare innovation take place with digitisation of current solutions such as online delivery from pharmacies, tele consult instead of visiting a doctor, online trainers and nutritionists, instead of offline set-ups. “We anticipate the second wave of innovation will focus on deep, single therapeutic areas leveraging technology and strong clinical protocols,” he said.

On the company’s current investments in India and their portfolio companies, Jethwani said the investments span across various kinds of healthcare businesses that collectively impact over 25 million patient lives globally. These include BeatO, a personalised chronic disease management platform that is helping 2 million Indians manage their diabetes end-to-end.

The VC also invested in Wysa - a holistic mental health solution powered by an emotionally intelligent AI chatbot, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)-based therapy packages, and world-class therapists, which has held over half-a-billion conversations, providing mental health support to 7 million people across 95 countries.

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W Health Ventures’ portfolio includes GHC, a full-stack sexual health clinic with a suit of 55+ SKUs of nutraceutical products for men (Mars by GHC) and women (Saturn by GHC), helping address their problems effectively, discreetly, and affordably.

“Mylo is our community and content-based platform that acts as a close companion for over 9 million expecting and new mothers through a supportive network of parents and experts, relevant educational material, and high-quality products and services,” he said. Its newer investments include Elevate Now, which is India’s first company offering medical weight loss programmes, he added.

“Through these ventures, we are dedicated to improving the lives of millions of Indians in one way or another,” he added.