65,000 doctors take to edtech with Mediknit, a startup that uses tech to upskill professionalsVishal Krishna
From minimal access surgery to management of dementia, the platform offers doctors a year-long programme in continuous learning.
Saritha Rathore is a MD at Davangere Medical Polytechnic, Karnataka, a general surgeon looking to understand the new techniques of trans-abdominal preperitoneal repair.
She either gains that knowledge from doctors’ association meetings or has to spend long hours reading new global publications. Between her 17-hour work schedule and the constant stream of patients, she has no time for anything else but sleep.
When she takes a break between surgeries, she pulls out her phone to toy around with Mediknit, an edtech website for doctors.
Here she gets to view new procedures, gains new knowledge and also has access to medical associations that posts videos of seminars. She also receives invites to attend medical events held in different cities across India.
Founded by Dr Bhaskar Rajkumar and Surendar Parasuraman in August 2016, MediKnit has so far served 65,000 doctors and has a thousand of them paying for annual subscriptions.
In FY2018 it clocked revenues of Rs 2.2 crore and is on a revenue run rate of Rs 4 crore for the FY2019.
“Doctors are always reskilling, they are the only ones who are continuously learning and yet there is no platform that can aggregate learning from them,” says Bhaskar Rajkumar, the 33-year-old founder of Mediknit.
After finishing his MD in Radiology in Russia in 2010, Bhaskar worked in hospitals and the corporate sector for six years. While meeting hundreds of doctors during his stint at a corporate entity (which he did not want to name) he realised doctors were yearning for a common platform to stay updated with industry norms and also find new cases.
He researched about the subject in January 2016 and realised that there were thousand or more journals that kept doctors up-to-date, but the information was not aggregated in one place.
So he immediately started talking to medical associations like the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venerologists and Leprologists and the Association of Minimal Access Surgeons of India about creating an edtech platform for all their doctors and to deliver education through a combination of digital and physical services.
The association heads listened to the young doctor and decided to give his idea a try. Immediately, Bhaskar contacted his friend Surendar Parasuraman to join as co-founder. Bhaskar had known Surendar from 2012. The duo had the web portal running by August 2016.
The duo pursued the idea because of the market size of medical education. The Medical Council of India says that India has 988,000 doctors, out of which 750,000 doctors are regular practitioners.
A doctor’s reskilling course is expensive. A day’s event, with a medical association, costs anything between Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 depending on the location. The doctors get a certificate for attending those seminars. Each doctor attends at least five seminars a year and spends Rs 1 lakh a year to be up-to-date with new techniques.
This is what Surendar and Bhaskar brought onto a common network. Their pitch to these associations was they would increase the intake of doctors through Mediknit.
“The first year was tough because we had to convince medical associations that we were not competing with them, but complementing them,” says Bhaskar.
The duo spent Rs 1.2 crore from their savings to get the project going and raised Rs 1.5 crore from family. By July 2017 they had signed close to six associations to work with the edtech platform.
Currently, they have 25 associations, which are exclusive to Mediknit and are available to members only. They have expanded to Singapore, Philippines, and Australia too.
Once the doctors come onto the Mediknit platform, they get to choose between open and association certified courses. They pay through the Mediknit platform and get access to videos and lectures of doctors who hold seminars on behalf of the association that they are presenting for. Mediknit sets the learning format by working with the associations. They have access to recorded lessons on surgeries. Each course can cost between Rs 60,000 and Rs 1 lakh. Mediknit keeps less than 35 percent as its course fee and the rest goes to the association.
The only competition for Mediknit in India, apart from journals like Springer Research, is Apollo Medvarsity, which is the largest company in doctor upskilling (revenues not available).
The next plan for Mediknit is to raise at least a million dollars, target 200,000 more doctors and add at least 30 more associations to its platform. It wants to introduce AR and VR modules to learning.
“Edtech still has a lot of opportunity to make an impact. A platform that can take on the existing methods of delivering education and scale up will deliver value,” says V Ganapathy, CEO of Axilor Ventures.
This Bengaluru-based startup may have just found a popular model that can raise money and create business value.
Hopefully, doctors will take to this upskilling platform that uses physical and online experiences to make them relevant.