Chennai-based global technology company Zoho Corp today announced it has invested in US$5 million (about Rs 35 crore) in Voxelgrids.
Voxelgrids is a Bengaluru-based technology startup that builds Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners to foster the development of deep technological capabilities and intellectual property (IP) in the country.
The firm manufactures 1.5T MRI scanners that are lightweight, mobile, and easy to install, operate and maintain even in remote locations such as small villages. The equipment also includes a proprietary software package for imaging purposes, the statement said.
According to the company, The investment will be made in two tranches over the next two years.
Currently, Close to 70% of the world’s population has no access to MRI scanners. In India, there are only 0.4 MRI scanners per thousand beds, with most of the access restricted to only tier-I or metro cities. Therefore, The startup aims to make MRI scanners accessible and affordable across the country.
Moreover, despite India being a favorable medical tourism destination, the procurement of diagnostic imaging equipment is still an expensive business for hospitals and clinics. Currently, the domestic market is dominated by either imported machines or refurbished equipment.
Voxelgrids aims to bridge this problem by providing indigenous MRI technology which is a cost-effective alternative that facilitates healthcare facilities to save on capital and operational expenditure.
“One of the pressing concerns for the Indian economy today is the lack of indigenous industrial know-how and manufacturing capabilities. A healthy DeepTech ecosystem is vital to solving this issue and driving structural economic change. Voxelgrids is one of the few companies that is working to solve this problem with MRI machines entirely built in India. We need more such companies that can own and command this type of engineering know-how across different sectors,” said Sridhar Vembu, CEO and co-founder, Zoho Corp.
“Voxelgrids is doing research and development to generate significant IP in the MRI space to translate it into impactful applications that can make a difference in people’s lives. We have made notable strides in this area, and are grateful for Zoho’s support,” said Dr. Arjun Arunachalam, CEO & founder, Voxelgrids.
“DeepTech products, like ours, require a significant amount of time from completing the R&D to taking the product to market, and most often, this is the time where we face insufficient funding. The investment from Zoho will help us bridge this gap and speed up our efforts to scale,” he adds.
The four-year-old startup has developed multiple technologies related to MRI scanners based on custom cryogenics and innovative electronic design and is looking to monetize it through OEM partnerships with other vendors in the field.
Additionally, It is aiming to have multiple full-fledged clinical sites before the end of the 2021-22 financial year.