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Philips to invest in healthcare tech start-ups in India

April 8
8:03 AM 2016

Philips, an electronics giant, is seeking to invest in healthcare technology start-ups in India, following other Fortune 500 firms in the world in empowering India's steadily growing start-up economy. With regard to this move, the company is planning to create venture fund in India.

Jeroen Tas, chief of health informatics unit at Philips, said that the development of the Indian-based venture fund is at an initial phase and will rely on the victory of similar funds in Netherlands and Israel. Jeroen did not provide any specific information regarding the planned venture fund, however, he said that the new fund will be similar to the fund in Israel.

In July 2015, Philips along with Teva, a pharma company in Israel, organised a $30 million worth venture fund in order to invest in technology oriented healthcare and medical devices start-ups for the next eight years. Tas said that Bengaluru, with high-quality tech skills, had been the centre of attraction for many companies around the world. "We have a couple of hubs that are really important to us - clearly Bangalore is one, Eindhoven is one. We have a smaller hub in the US and Israel. And each of these are in places where we have an ecosystem," Tas said in an interview with THE ECONOMIC TIMES.

Philips is planning to recruit many data scientists in India within the following 5 years, with an aim to boost its data analytics squad. Presently, the firm employs roughly 200 data researchers outside its technology hub in Bengaluru. In addition, Philips is likely to hire 2000 staffs in Bengaluru, who have a strong science foundation.

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE quoted Patricia Yim, head of Lighting ASEAN & Pacific Market of Philips, who said that Pakistan is considered to a key market for the company owing to its high population. According to her, the rapidly developing market in Pakistan lures many businesses to invest in the country. She added that a company cannot ignore a market, which has more than 100 million people.

She continued that sometimes a nation's GDP growth is dominated by the size of its inhabitants. Asad S Jafar, CEO and chairman of Philips Pakistan, said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) stimulate business opportunities in Pakistan. The CPEC attracts many Chinese firms to have business dealings with Pakistan, he added.

Meanwhile, Melrose Industries, a UK-based investment firm, has walked away from a deal to purchase Philips' lighting unit, fuelling the chance of a possible IPO of the division, Bloomberg said quoting sources with knowledge of the matter. Melrose scaled back from the deal as its anxiety over the unit's business forecast increased.

Philips' investment approach highlights its desire to enrich its business portfolio in developing lands. The company is lured by the developing start-up industry in India.

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