DailyRounds, a service for doctors that combines elements of a social network and a medical journal, has landed undisclosed funding led by venture capital giant Accel. Beenos, Powerhouse Ventures and Aksua Holdings are participated in the deal, which follows a $500,000 seed round raised last year.
Two-year-old DailyRounds, which is based in Bengaluru and graduated both the GSF India and Microsoft Ventures accelerator programs, is inspired — perhaps strangely — by Stack Overflow.
Yes, it is a tool for developers, but DailyRounds founder Dr Deepu Sebin told TechCrunch that he was taken by the way engineers use the site to communicate about their work and challenges after finding out about it through a tech project. Once he learned more, Sebin saw the potential for a similar service in the field of medicine.
Like Stackoverflow, DailyRounds aims to be a place where doctors can seek advice from others in their field. It is available on desktop, iOS and Android and lets doctors keep in touch with each other, exchange best practices and tips, access a drug database, and upload and view medical case files.
“Initially, it was a few of us [doctors] putting our case studies out there,” Sebin said in an interview. “The site got good traction and we decided to make it into a community. We then raised an angel round and things got interesting.”
Basic idea proven, Sebin then teamed up with computer science graduates Nimmi Cherian and Priyaank Choubey to get the company going.
Today, DailyRounds claims 250,000 users, of which “a very significant” number have been verified as doctors. Verification is based on community feedback to responses, but relevant certificates and ID are requested to prove expertise in some cases.
Around 60 percent of the total number of users are based in India. That’s important for a number of reasons, Sebin explained, including the need for localization in medical practices.
“Physicians in India have traditionally been dependent on the U.S. for information. If you are bitten by a dog, for example, the treatment and medicines can be very different in either country,” he explained.
DailyRounds co-founders Nimmi Cherian, Deepu Sebin and Priyaank Choubey
By uniting doctors in India and providing information such as locally available drugs, Sebin believes that DailyRounds can make a real difference. But it isn’t just having an impact in India, the U.S. is the second largest country for users behind India, and DailyRounds is making a big push to become more relevant for doctors based in the West following this funding round.
“India has been our target so far and we have a strong foothold there, but we plan to explore and expand primarily in the U.S.. We’re seeing interesting activity there but haven’t done much so far,” Sebin said.
“Most [existing] U.S. channels [for doctors] are already editorial, there’s not much of a two-way engagement, doctor-to-doctor,” he added.
The company may also look at localization potential in Europe and Southeast Asia, too. It is also considering the introduction of new specialist apps. Right now, it offers its core DailyRounds app and standalone apps for radiology, cardiology and pediatric professionals.
“We call everyone doctors but when it comes to the practicality we all behave differently,” Subin explained.
Beyond connecting the community, DailyRounds is also showing potential as a channel to reach doctors directly. For example, a WHO guideline on treating TB reached 80,000 users in one day thanks to a notification inside the app.
“Nearly 30 percent of those doctors read the notification inside an hour,” Subin, who previously practiced as a doctor in rural India for three years, added. “Usually it takes time to reach doctors.”
That potential as a channel is an area where Subin believes DailyRound’s monetization lies, but not in the form of adverts. He believes that instead connecting supplies with doctors, perhaps to pilot new product or providing customer support for medical representative solutions, can add value for both sides. DailyRound would take a cut or free for facilitating the connection, but exact terms are still to be finalized.
“We hope not to put direct advertisements and marketing into the service, that won’t be our business,” he added. “When you build a company, [advertising] shouldn’t be the first focus.”
This new funding will give the company — which has 11 qualified doctors on staff — up to two years of funding, Subin said.