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Practo announces $55-million Tencent led series-D funding, says future in AI

Healthcare startup Practo has announced $55 million series-D funding is a round led Chinese firm Tencent, three new investors, and existing investors.

business Updated: Jan 17, 2017 17:13 IST
Sunny Sen
Sunny Sen
Hindustan Times

Practo, the Bangalore-based healthcare startup that connects doctors and patients, has raised $55 million in its series-D round of funding led by Chinese investment company Tencent, three new investors and existing investors.

Ru-Net, RSI Fund (owned by Recruit Holdings) and Thrive Capital are the new investors. Existing investors include Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Capital G (formerly Google Capital), Altimeter Capital and Sofina.

The new round takes Practo’s total fund raising to $179 million.

The company will use the funds to expand its existing businesses of online diagnostics, consultation, medicine delivery, health records management, and international business. It also wants to make significant investments in the space of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, explains Shashank ND, founder and CEO of Practo.

“AI can be used in derive probably outcomes of diagnosis, help in further medical investigation, and study outcome of drugs on patients or medication on patients,” said Shashank.

Practo is not the only company that is betting on AI and machine learning as the future of healthcare -- global technology behemoth IBM has AI solution, Watson, which helps in medical diagnostics, goes to realms of information, searches the internet, and brings to the doctors distilled information for treatment.

“Our approach is different from them (IBM Watson)... We believe that AI can guide doctors to take decisions... In our world view decisions cannot be taken without doctors,” said Shashank.

This Practo will do through collecting healthcare, hospital and treatment data and run AI solutions on top of that to make better sense of it.

While, Practo will make investments in the future, it will also continue to add more doctors to connect with patients. “We want to be the single touch point to the consumer,” said Shashank.

First Published: Jan 17, 2017 13:04 IST