Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa at a COVID vaccination centre. The state's chief secretary has already flagged concerns over shortage of medical oxygen.
The Karnataka government has appointed one of India's top startup investors, Prashanth Prakash as an advisor to Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa on strategy and planning.
Prakash, who is one of the founding partners of Accel India is also the chairman of Karnataka's Vision Group for Startups. His appointment comes at a time when coronavirus cases in India's technology and startup hub Bengaluru is spiking, even as its healthcare infrastructure comes under strain.
Speaking exclusively to Moneycontrol, Prakash said, "I hope to contribute more to education and healthcare. We have to reimagine health readiness and the policies that will be required to make the state more resilient."
He added that the immediate focus would be ensuring there is an adequate supply of oxygen concentrators to meet not just Bengaluru's supply but that of smaller towns in the state, setting up of Oxygen PSA plants and de-bottlenecking inter-state supply chain and logistics. In the medium term, he will also advise on how the state can vaccinate at speed and scale.
"Corporate CSR and initiatives such as ACT grants will help in procuring more oxygen concentrators. We need to quickly get these to Bengaluru and the hinterland and streamline the logistics. We will also focus on better home isolation, triaging, and better availability of oxygen beds," he said,
The Karnataka chief secretary has already flagged concerns on medical oxygen, stating that there is a need for 1792 tonnes a day against the allotment of 865 tonnes a day.
Prakash joined Accel in 2008 and began investing in Indian technology start-ups in 2004. He started his investing career as a co-founder of Erasmic, one of India’s first early-stage funds. Prior to that, he founded two enterprises in the Internet and multimedia publishing domains.
He focuses on consumer Internet services, online marketplaces, SaaS and has led investments in Agrostar, BlueStone, BookMyShow, Clevertap, FabHotels, Glowroad, HolidayMe, HomeLane, InfraMarket, PropTiger, QwikCilver (acquired by Pine Labs), Rentomojo, TeaBox, and other early-stage companies.