Helmut Schühsler is the chairman and chief executive of TVM Capital Mena, a venture capital firm based in Dubai. Here, he talks about the company's strategy of investing in health care in the Middle East.
How long have you been investing in health care?
About three years ago we started work in the health care and skilled nursing space in the UAE. The ProVita project started in January 2011. This provides care for the most severely debilitated, ventilator-dependent patients who would otherwise be in an intensive care unit. ICUs in hospitals, providing post-surgery care, are very scarce and of high value. Long-term care patients are a problem for hospitals because they block beds for acute-care patients. It's a huge problem in Abu Dhabi in particular. We have one ProVita clinic in Abu Dhabi which is currently at full capacity. There are 34 patients of which 22 are infants. A 50-bed facility is due to open in Al Ain early this year.
How big is the fund?
We have raised US$50 million (Dh183.7m) so far.
What is your most recent investment?
In December, we invested in Cambridge Medical and Rehabilitation Centre (CMRC). We have two other partners: the Olayan Group, from Saudi Arabia, and Al Zarooni Emirates Investments, from Sharjah. Since we went into the long-term, skilled nursing space two years ago, we have seen there is quite a high demand for other long-term care. CMRC will provide care for patients that are past the acute stage but nevertheless need constant medical supervision for two, four, six weeks. The first facility in Al Ain will open early this year and a second will open in Abu Dhabi. We think there is probably demand for long-term care for 100 severe-stage patients in Abu Dhabi. CMRC is currently building out its site in Abu Dhabi and searching for a suitable compound in Al Ain so no patients have been taken on yet. Both will have a capacity of 80 beds. Apart from ProVita and CMRC we have a third project yet to be announced.
And you also have fertility clinics, don't you?
We invested in Bourn Hall International, an IVF clinic in the United Kingdom. We realised that quality fertility treatment was underserved in the Middle East. There is a large and growing group that is fuelling demand. We opened the first regional clinic in Dubai. We have two centres in India and are looking to expand and open 18 branches there by 2016. We will assess demand for additional centres further afield in the Middle East.
We will evaluate in this year whether we can expand Cambridge in other Emirates and other counties in the GCC. We are working on a fifth and a sixth investment at the moment.