The Next Silicon Valley

IFC’s TechEmerge invites healthcare innovators to accelerate adoption of tech in emerging markets

Photo courtesy of JSS Bilaspur

The Indian healthcare market is expected to grow to $280 billion by 2020, according to the World Bank’s IFC, but healthcare in India faces the growing challenges of access and affordability.  To address this, IFC has introduced TechEmerge, a new program offering matchmaking and funding to companies with proven innovations for emerging markets, and whose pilot phase will focus on health in India.

IFC is seeking applications from healthcare innovators and technology companies interested in scaling their business in this market. Applications can be submitted at through 6 March, 2016.

A key focus of the program will be to catalyze the adoption and use of health technologies in India in order to improve patient outcomes and create business opportunities for health service providers and young technology companies. TechEmerge will identify promising health technology innovators globally and match their services with interested health care systems in India. These pairs will go onto field test the technology to explore how technology adoption can benefit health care in India. The program will provide funding and guidance to commercialize new technologies in the Indian market.

“We expect that Indian healthcare providers participating in the program will gain access to a global network of health technology innovators, while innovators have the opportunity to commercialize their technology in India and form new business relationships”, said Ruzgar Barisik, senior investment officer with IFC’s Venture Capital team. “Around a dozen leading private sector healthcare providers in India have signed up and are looking for new technologies for point of care, remote monitoring, patient engagement, and telehealth, among others.”

The open application invites health technology innovators around the world to apply to the program. Innovators will be selected through a competitive process. Companies with proven technologies are encouraged to apply at Selected innovators will be invited to meet with TechEmerge healthcare providers in India to discuss the commercialization of their technology in this market.

Like other developing countries, India faces the double burden of dealing with communicable diseases and a lack of access to basic healthcare, alongside a rapidly rising incidence of non-communicable conditions like heart disease and cancer.  Innovations in technology and processes are essential for expanding access to affordable health services. Meanwhile, the Indian healthcare market is set to grow to $280 billion by 2020, driven by increasing income levels, a growing middle class, longer life expectancies, and the rise in incidences of non-communicable diseases.

The TechEmerge program is part of IFC’s approach to catalyze the adoption of new technologies in emerging markets, and leverage the private sector in India to increase and improve access to quality health services. IFC has an investment portfolio in the Indian healthcare sector with commitments of over $450 million, representing over 30 percent of its global health care investment portfolio. The TechEmerge Program is being implemented in partnership with the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, and is supported by Health 2.0.

Speaking about their involvement, Amit Lang, director general of the Israeli Ministry of Economy, said, “Our life sciences industry is ranked first globally for the number of medical device patents per capita, and Israel, being well-positioned in the life science realm, could take an active and meaningful role in the TechEmerge program. I firmly believe that this fact coupled with other proven strengths of the Israeli life science industry, will allow for it to significantly engage in the program. This is our first agreement with IFC, and we see it as a milestone in our collaboration with the various international financial institutions. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with IFC.”

IFC’s director, global manufacturing, agribusiness and services, Alzbeta Klein, added, “Developing countries are struggling to expand access to quality health services and to cope with increased demand associated with communicable diseases as well as aging populations and the rising prevalence of chronic diseases. Israel and other partners in the TechEmerge program will help emerging market health systems adopt innovative technologies that can drive greater access to health services.”

[Photograph courtesy of JSS Bilaspur, India]


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