HomeEntrepreneurShashank N.D.: Pioneering Healthcare Innovation with Practo

Shashank N.D.: Pioneering Healthcare Innovation with Practo

Shashank N.D. is the co-founder of Practo, a healthcare technology company established in 2008 with a mission to revolutionize the healthcare industry. With a background in engineering from NIT Surathkal, he leads Practo in providing a comprehensive platform connecting consumers with healthcare providers. Under his direction, Practo offers services such as online doctor appointments, medical consultations, prescription orders, and health record storage. 

With over 200,000 healthcare providers and operations in multiple countries, Practo facilitates millions of appointments annually. Shashank’s leadership focuses on expanding the platform to enhance healthcare experiences for both consumers and providers. 

Recognized for his contributions, he has been featured in the Forbes 30 under 30 and Fortune 40 under 40 lists.

How it All Began

Raised in a family of engineers, Shashank followed the conventional path of schooling and engineering studies at NIT Surathkal. However, his interest in entrepreneurship was ignited during college where he joined the entrepreneurship club and explored various ideas.

In 2008, during his final year of engineering, Shashank, along with his college batchmate Abhinav Lal, founded Practo with the aim of addressing healthcare challenges in India. 

The idea for Practo originated from their own experiences and observations, leading to the development of Practo Ray, a software solution for doctors to manage medical records, prescriptions, billing, and appointments.

Despite limited resources, Shashank and Abhinav bootstrapped the company for the initial three years, relying on organic growth and selling products primarily through referrals in key cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. 

Their early success demonstrated their ability to innovate and adapt to the needs of the market, laying a strong foundation for Practo’s future growth and success.

Journey of Practo

Shashank has steered the company from its roots as a provider of online practice management software to its current status as an integrated healthcare provider. 

Founded in 2008 with Abhinav Lal, Practo now operates 100 brick-and-mortar clinics offering a range of services, including teleconsultations, medicine delivery, and diagnostic tests. Shashank’s leadership has led Practo to adapt rapidly, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a significant expansion in teleconsultations and the introduction of Practo Care Surgeries. 

The company’s revenue has soared, expected to reach ₹225 crore in FY22, with plans to further evolve into a provider with doctors and surgeons on staff. With a focus on growth and innovation, Practo is poised to maintain its rapid expansion in both B2C and B2B sectors under Shashank’s guidance.

Abhinav Lal, the co-founder and CTO of Practo, reflects on the journey alongside Shashank ND, acknowledging Shashank’s unwavering determination during challenging times. Despite having a job offer from a global pharma-consultancy firm after completing his engineering degree, Abhinav chose to join Shashank in the entrepreneurial venture.

It took some convincing for Abhinav to take the plunge, but once committed, he dedicated himself fully to the endeavor, even foregoing visits home for a year.

Shashank’s belief in the product’s quality as the best marketing tool resonated strongly with Abhinav, who observed how their product spoke for itself. 

Without actively seeking funding, Sequoia Capital took notice of Practo’s potential in 2011 and initiated discussions. Subsequently, in July 2012, Practo secured its series A funding of $4 million from Sequoia Capital, marking a significant milestone in the company’s growth trajectory.

Plans Ahead

The Tencent-backed healthcare and diagnostics app, revealed the company’s plans to turn profitable this fiscal year and to explore a stock exchange listing through an initial public offering (IPO) soon. With a focus on enhancing its presence in smaller cities and towns, Practo aims to leverage AI for improved data analysis and healthcare outcomes. 

Practo plans to expand its offline presence in primary and secondary healthcare through Practo-branded clinics, while continuing its rapid growth trajectory. With a user base of around 15 crore people annually in India, Practo aims to deepen its penetration in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. 

Shashank emphasized the importance of quality improvement in healthcare through AI and data analysis, highlighting Practo’s commitment to delivering exceptional service. Despite its robust financial position, the company has no immediate plans to raise funds, preferring to focus on strengthening its existing businesses in the provider segment.

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Snigdha Basu
Snigdha Basu
A multifaceted writer, Snigdha Basu is a freelancer and a columnist at Entrepreneurs Today. She also spearheads Chic Life Edition - her own Digital Magazine with sustainable fashion, beauty, and culture at its core. Reach out to Snigdha at [email protected] for inquiries.
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