Overview: Alina Vision (formerly GlobalVision) was awarded a proof of concept grant in 2017 Q1. Alina Vision will establish a global network of more than 60 eye-care hospitals over the next 10 years. These hospitals will use a sustainable strategy to address the leading causes of preventable blindness in the developing world, by providing affordable and high-quality sight-saving cataract surgery and comprehensive eye care to low-income communities. Alina Vision has a robust project pipeline in key markets, with construction of its first hospital in Vietnam scheduled later this year. Alina Vision aims to accelerate the affordable eye care sector by drawing on the strategies that helped propagate the microfinance sector, where a global network of microfinance institutions are set up with standardized operations and governance. Through a holding company structure, Alina Vision will establish and oversee operations of a network of for-profit hospitals that will be commercially self-sustaining, scalable, and led by outstanding local medical professionals. To make this happen, Alina Vision aims to raise more than USD 300 million in capital over the next 10 years, blending grants, equity and debt.
Alina Vision has received strong support from both the philanthropic and private sectors. The Fred Hollows Foundation is a co-founder and has committed both grant and equity funding, and will also act as the financial steward for the Convergence grant award. Convergence’s funding will enable the Alina Vision team to complete the design work required to establish the Alina Vision legal entities.
Design question and learning potential for the market: How can grants, equity and debt be blended over time to support different stages of growth in a new business?
The Alina Vision holding company will be the global parent entity of the network of subsidiary hospitals. Investors will invest into the holding company directly. It will initially be capitalized with grants and equity until management fees from the subsidiary hospitals are sufficient to bring it to profitability. It will deploy capital (grants, equity, debt) to the hospitals to support different stages of growth. To set-up a new hospital, the holding company will channel grants to support initial market adaptation and start-up expenses. As the hospital begins operations, equity will be used to support early operations and capital expenditures, until the hospital becomes cashflow positive. Once a track record of profitability is established, Alina Vision will arrange long-term debt financing to scale-up the hospital’s operations. By blending capital over time, this replicable strategy leverages public and philanthropic funds to de-risk startup hospitals in order to attract socially-minded investors, and eventually private capital, while maintaining Alina Vision’s social mission.