A Startup Dedicated to Saving Lives through Medical Collaboration
“I could not save my brother but maybe I could improve the patient outcome for 100 million patients every year if I can help Indian doctors treat their patients effectively.”
Docplexus was founded in January, 2014 when Phanish Chandra lost his brother to an illness that took too long to diagnose. With this initiative, Phanish hopes to create a network of medical professionals who can quickly connect with each other to collaborate on patient treatment or identify the appropriate expert for patient referrals so that other lives won’t be lost due to delay in treatment.
Here’s more from Phanish Chandra, CEO and founder of Docplexus.
There is a profound story behind why you started Docplexus; tell us about it.
I am from a family of doctors and many of my family members are doctors. But younger brother Manish and I chose engineering over medicine and graduated from IIT. A few years into his job Manish fell ill and we desperately tried to diagnose his illness. It took almost 8 months to find out that he was suffering from Neurocysticercosis. However, by the time he was diagnosed, it was too late. We lost him in an unfortunate way. It was a big shock for a family where many members were doctors themselves.
I wanted to do something in healthcare and I thought of harnessing technology to empower doctors for better diagnosis and treatment of patients. I could not save my brother but maybe I could improve the patient outcome for 100 million patients every year if I can help Indian doctors treat their patients effectively.
Although there were different sources of learning already, I found there is a huge scope for improvement. I thought of creating an online community where we could make learning both social and fun for Indian doctors.
Share with us what’s special about this venture and how it’s different from its competitors?
We are lucky to be partnered with ColiquioGmBH, a German Startup, which also works in Healthcare. We continuously share what we learn in our respective markets with each other. Coliquio’s European market experience has been beneficial for us especially in engagement strategies with our clients. Similarly, Coliquio also benefits from insights from Indian perspective.
Secondly, we are the only platform in India whose presence is all around. We are not just a mobile app. We also have our native web app. The main advantage of the web app is that it provides options for seamless integration of our various offerings. Doctors can also access all these types of content when they need it at their clinic allowing better interactions on all types of content.
How did you manage to fund this idea?
In our seed round of funding, we raised $750,000 from Uniqorn ventures in India and ASP Consulting from Austria. Recently in our follow-up second seed stage, we have raised $500,000 more from our existing investors.
What are/what will be your monetization paths?
We enable pharma companies reach out to Indian doctors via our platform using content marketing in an ethical way. At the same time we are generating revenues through online CME (Continuous Medical Education) and courses for Indian doctors. We are tying up with different medical bodies to come up with more such courses in the near future.
Tell us how the business has grown so far
Every month we add about 6,000 new members to our platform. That comprises of about 60% of all doctors who have been using internet for their professional purposes. With over 600,000 medical professionals in India, we have great scope for growth.
We have already started working with leading pharma companies in India who want to share their proprietary insights and gain doctors unbiased opinions. Over the next few months, we are expected to collaborate with top pharma companies who would like to engage ethically with doctors.
Additionally, we have had a great response with our online CMEs where we had over 2,600 doctors registered for these. Though we have had some modules free for this, we have realized it’s a good revenue stream for us.
By the end of the year, we are planning to offer at least 5 CMEs to Indian doctors.
We also offer webinars to the doctors across the country and the reception has been good. On an average we have had at least 1200 members watch our webinars live. For the Indian market that is an unprecedented number.
What marketing strategies and plans are in place to grow the business?
We believe in digital very strongly and are big advocates of digital acquisition channels. We use the same channel for both acquiring doctors and marketing to Indian pharma Industry.
One-on-one relationship with consultative sales, [i.e. visiting doctors at their offices etc] is always effective and that is exactly where we are focusing on.
What is the market size and opportunity?
There are about 600,000 doctors in India and 50,000 new MBBS graduates come out of college every year. We have already crossed 150,000 doctors and we are very confident that we will reach 200,000 by end of 2016.
The Indian pharma industry is expected to reach $55Bn by 2020. At present, the average spend on marketing by pharma companies is triple the amount they spend on R&D. This is our potential market size. The regulatory and marketing dynamics are compelling many pharma companies to move to digital strategies and we are in the right spot to help them.
Any challenges faced setting up? Anything unique to your situation?
Like any other startup, building a team of people with right skill and right mindset is very important and is the biggest challenge. In an era where Indian startup ecosystem is flooded with money, hiring talent is difficult because there is more demand than supply for a quality resource. We focused on quality of resource instead of quantity and hired them mostly from our network and through references to create a small yet effective and agile team.
Though we are talking as a nation about Digital India, the reliability of internet broadband connection is still not good. Both speed and connectivity is an issue. Performance of many startups in coming days will depend on both the penetration and quality of internet bandwidth.
Share with us some of your best and worst memories while running the business.
The “wow moment” was first doctor joining the platform and first client giving us a purchase order. Having said that, we only have enriching experiences from our business. Every experience, favourable or unfavourable always teaches us something. Therefore we take every experience with right mindset and try to learn from it.
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