Indian Health Startup Secures Funding, Plus a Trump Connection

Practo Technologies Pvt., India’s biggest online medical network, raised $55 million in a new funding round from investors including Thrive Capital. The technology investment fund is run by Joshua Kushner, the younger brother of Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump and adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.

Tencent led the round, while other existing investors Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Capital G, Altimeter Capital and Sofina participated in the financing. Thrive, along with ru-Net and RSI Fund, are new investors. Including the latest round, the Bangalore-based company has raised about $180 million. While the current value wasn’t disclosed, Practo fetched a valuation of $500 million in the last funding.

Practo has 60 million users, 200,000 doctors and 10,000 hospitals using its software and services to manage their visits, billing and inventory, while helping patients find physicians and access their digital medical records. It is now seeking to expand abroad and has begun operations in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Brazil. Practo is Thrive Capital’s first investment in India. Kushner, 31, co-founded Oscar Health Insurance, while Thrive has backed other startups such as Instagram and web retailer Jet.com, which was acquired by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Oscar Health sells insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The repeal of the health law, also known as Obamacare, was a central campaign promise by Trump, which now puts the Kushner brothers in opposite camps.  

Venture capital funding in health-care related technology is on the rise, with more than $5.1 billion in financing in the sector in 2016, compared with $4.6 billion the previous year, according to Mercom Capital Group.

The latest financing will fund global expansion as well as help build a central infrastructure connecting users, doctors and hospitals with diagnostic chain and link data, communication and payments, said Shashank ND, Practo’s founder and chief executive officer. Earlier this month, the startup began offering and integrating digital consent forms, documentation that hospitals require patients to sign before any procedures.

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