Investment

The family offices of Indian billionaires want you to have a better smile

Some of India’s richest families through their investment offices have invested in a fast-growing dental group that is hoping the trend for better teeth in the sub-continent takes off as it has in much of the rest of the world. 

The family office of health technology company Medlife founders Prashant Singh and Tushar Kumar, has committed capital to Indian dental start-up, Toothsi as part of its $40 million fundraising. Mankekar Family Office has also subscribed along with Fidelity’s Eight Road Ventures and Paramark, a South Korean VC manager. 

The Singhs are one of India’s wealthiest families, with an estimated net worth of $5.65 billion last year

Toothsi’s (dental) appeal comes from its innovative use of 3D print technology, which customers can access from their own homes. It allows Toothsi to produce invisible aligners (or braces in old-fashioned parlance) to address imperfections, freeing customers from metal variants.

Since its launch in 2018, Toothsi says it has “designed” over 1 million smiles. It has become an example of a tech-enabled business which appeals to family offices looking for high growth opportunities with a feel-good factor.  

The latest funding round is a marked increase on the $20 million Toothsi raised in an August funding round. Altogether, Toothsi, which was launched four years ago, has so far raised $87 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.  

3D printing is starting to transform the dental industry. According to industry reports, the global dental 3D printing industry, worth an estimated $1.9 billion in 2021, will reach $15.9 billion by 2030 and achieve a compound annual growth rate of 28%. 

Growth+Reports, part of GRG Health, a global healthcare knowledge service company, suggests the market could be worth $35 billion by 2031, fuelled by demand for cosmetic dentistry and technology advances.   

Singh and Kumar founded Medlife in 2014. The Bengaluru-based health technology company – and online pharmacy – reached one million unique customers within its first two years and now offers services across the sub-continent.  As well as providing a range of app-based healthcare services, Medlife also provides round-the-clock e-consultation and laboratory services. 

Its substantial growth trajectory shows how disruptive healthcare can scale up and achieve a positive impact on large societies. 

Kumar, the son of Prabhat Narain Singh, comes from an illustrious family of pharmaceutical entrepreneurs who run Alkem Laboratories, a multinational drugs company headquartered in Mumbai. 

Its billionaire co-founder and chairman emeritus, Samprada Singh, passed away in 2019. He started out selling umbrellas before opening a medical store in 1953. Six years later he founded Laxmi Pharma. In 1973, Singh co-founded Alkem Laboratories alongside his younger brother. Its 14,500 employees are referred to as “Alkemites”. 

The Singhs are one of India’s wealthiest families, with an estimated net worth of $5.65 billion last year, according to Forbes

In 2019, Kumar’s family trust, Prasid Uno Family Trust, injected approximately $15.4 million into Medlife to support its expansion activities. It injected equity worth $22 million in March 2020.

Mankekar Family Office, profiled in Family Capital in 2021, is the Mumbai-based family office of Professor Shivanand Shankar Mankekar

A former full-time professor at Mumbai’s Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Professor Mankekar capitalized in India’s stock markets when, in 2002, an investment in the retail fashion group, Pantaloons, netted approximately a 90x return. Over the years, his stock-picking continued to yield success, including Wockhardt, a global biotechnology and pharmaceutical company, headquartered like many other investments, in Mumbai. 

The family office’s investment portfolio is controlled by Om Kedar Investments, which Professor Mankekar operates with his wife Laxmi Shivanand Mankekar and his son, Kedar Mankekar. 

 

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