Chennai-headquartered Zoho Corp has invested $5 million (about Rs 35 crore) in Voxelgrids, a Bengaluru-based startup which builds Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, for a 25 per cent stake. The investment will help the company in the development of its deep–tech capabilities, building IPs and grow its business. The investment will be made in two tranches.
Founded in 2017, Voxelgrids manufactures 1.5T MRI scanners that are lightweight, mobile, and easy to install and operate, making it very conducive to use even in rural India where availability of MRI facilities is very less. With a 22 member team, the company has raised around Rs 20 crore in grants till date.
The MRI equipment also includes a proprietary software package for imaging purposes. The company's manufacturing facility in Bengaluru is capable of producing up to 25 machines every year.
Voxelgrids is trying to solve the problems of affodability and operation of MRI scanners through software and hardware innovations. Its non-cryogenic tech and design has received patents from several countries including the US, China, Japan, among others. The scanner can also be mounted on mobile platforms, making it easy to transport to remote locations with much lower electricity consumption.
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Voxelgrids founder and CEO Arjun Arunachalam says the current installed MRI capacity in India is around 4,800 and nearly 65 per cent of it is in tier-1 cities. "A big chunk of the market is being eaten up by refurbished scanners, with no regulatory certification because of the affordability factor," he says.
For Zoho, this marks another investment in a healthcare company. The company has made investments of around Rs 250 crore in 5-6 firms, including vTitan, a Chennai–based medtech company.
"vTitan and Voxelgirds are two separate investments. Eventually I do see synergies where I could have a full scale medical systems company that is possible to build in India," Zoho Corp CEO and co-founder Sridhar Vembu says.
Vembu is also hopeful that Zoho could help theses businesses in software innovation. While its immediate focus is on helping these companies roll out products, Zoho could look at restructuring its healthcare businesses over the next 3-5 years, once the market matures and there is enough traction.
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