East African venture capital firm InReturn Capital (www.inreturncapital.com) has entered a partnership with Hurlingham Eye Care Services group (HECS – hurlinghameyecare.co.ke), according to a press release issued on 2 November. InReturn Capital is an impact investing company which aims to generate positive social impact and profits by investing in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the East African region, from its offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It has Jacana Venture Partnership (www.jacana.org) as an investor and key partner in fund management, and several Dutch and international partners.
HECS has been operating optical shops and a diagnostics centre around Nairobi since 2000 and in April 2010 opened the Eagle Eye Laser and Diagnostics Centre at the 5th Avenue Building on Ngong Road, close to the Nairobi Hospital. This aims to be a leading provider of eye-care surgery and diagnostics in East Africa, particularly long-term eye problems. The centre is the first clinic in East Africa to offer Lasik surgery, which is the most advanced type of laser surgery for vision correction. Other eye surgeries include cataract, glaucoma, multifocal refractive surgery, as well as a broad variety of eye diagnostics using modern technology. The founders, Dr. Ilako, Dr. Kimani and Dr. Kiumbura, all have a long track record in eye surgery and have teamed up with Dr. Gaeckle, one of the most successful and experienced eye laser surgeons in Germany.
InReturn already has investments in construction, infrastructure and energy and is keen to expand into healthcare. It linked with HECS in July 2011. It provides hands-on support to HECS in strategic focus, human resource management and marketing and financial administration processes, as well as joining weekly management meetings and being a member of the board. Its investment in the surgery centre will assist in expanding and improving operational capabilities while the centre prepares to expand within the region. The plan is also to set up a non-profit unit that will provide free eye-care health services such as free surgeries and consultations to the lowest income groups.
Dr. Kiumbura, CEO and co-founder of HECS commented: “There is a saying in my language that two are always better than one. The partnership with InReturn has just proven this to be true one more time! It has been a time of improvement in the organisation, from personal growth to organizational transformation, and to a more efficient and focused entity from the time we started working together. I have no doubt in my mind that together we will grow to unchartered heights in provision of quality affordable eye-care in this region in the coming years.”
Eelco Benink, Investment Manager of InReturn commented: “We are excited to invest in this state-of-the-art eye-care institute in Kenya. The doctors are amongst the best in their field and the technology available at the Eagle Eye Laser Centre is unparalleled in East Africa. Together with the optical shops it forms the only one stop shop for eye health care in greater East Africa. Our partnership will lead to further expansion of the HECS group, and it will contribute to the growth of quality medical industry in the region.”
Other InReturn investments include Vipingo Stone, Equator Shipping on Lake Victoria and an engineering company developing micro hydropowerplants.