Exclusive: Practo co-founder Shashank ND says his startup will be profitable next year

Founded in 2008, profitable by 2017, that’s what healthcare startup Practo is aiming for this fiscal. Company co-founder Shashank ND says he expects his company to be net positive by the latter half of next year.

In an exclusive interview with Business Insider Shashank said, “Our revenues are growing multiple times each year. We should be net positive by the second half of next year.”

The revenue bit is definitely true. In FY2015, Practo’s revenue spiked from Rs.2.30 Crores to Rs.29.73 Crores, but its losses also shot up from Rs.9.88 Crores to Rs.12.85 Crores according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies.

Currently, the company makes money through three major revenue streams – software and hardware sales to doctors and clinics in the form of tablets (each costing around $800/year), classifieds where doctors and hospitals can buy sponsored listings and its online pharmacy. Shashank claims 50% of his revenue is through native advertising and the rest is from tablet sales.

When asked if skeptic Indians might find it difficult to trust a website with their health, especially one that might seem to blur the lines between what’s called ‘the separation of Church and State’, Shashank says he ensures its clear what’s organic and what’s sponsored.
Going forward, Shashank says their biggest focus for the current fiscal will be machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). He believes Practo can help doctors ‘make better decisions’.

“What if we can give them (doctors) data points that they can use over their medical experience to make a decision. IT can tell them optimize for the best outcome”, Shashank says.

When asked how he’ll get his hands on that data, the company co-founder says, “Consumers entering it is one way. Providers can also part away. The idea’s not fully cracked yet, which is why it’s an area we’re looking into.”

Practo has raised nearly $124 million in funding across 3 rounds. It’s valued at $500 million, and is India’ s best funded healthcare startup.
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