In a sign that capital continues to flow into Indian startups, Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. led a US$90 million funding round for Indian health-care information provider Practo.
The funding round, which brings Practo’s total amount raised to US$124 million, also included investments from Google Capital, Sofina, Sequoia India, Altimeter Capital, Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital Global Equities and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, the company said Thursday.
The deal represents a rare investment for Tencent in India. Its Chinese rival, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., through its financial affiliate, has already invested in Paytm, India’s largest mobile wallet service. Alibaba is also in talks to invest in Indian online marketplace Snapdeal.com.
As more Indian mobile users replace their basic cellphones with smartphones, the country’s potentially huge market for mobile Internet services is attracting billions of dollars in investment from global venture capitalists as well as U.S. and Asian tech giants.
Practo provides an online search tool for consumers to find healthcare professionals such as dentists and specialist doctors. It operates a website and mobile apps which filter searches by location, consultation fees and other metrics. It also provides a paid-for service for doctors called Practo Ray, which the company says allows clinics to digitize scheduling, inventories, billing and other services. The company said that it plans to use funding to expand into new markets.
“We are hard at work building a single health app that helps people live healthier by making better healthcare decisions for themselves and their loved ones,” Shashank N.D., the founder and chief executive of Practo, said in a statement.
Practo employs around 1500 staff globally and operates in India, Singapore and the Philippines. The company is planning to add another 1000 staff in the next 12 months and expand into several more countries in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. It says it receives more than 10 million searches on a monthly basis.