This Bangalore Entrepreneur Quits Corporate Career at 43 to Establish EdTech Startup for Doctors, Achieving Rs 3 Cr Monthly Sales

OC Academy Founder - Balu Ramachandran

Founded in 2023 by Balu Ramachandran, OC Academy is a Bangalore-based edtech startup that provides upskilling programs tailored for medical professionals.

At the age when everyone thinks of settling down and accepting life as it is, Bangalore-based 44-year-old Balu Ramachandran set himself to embark on the adventurous journey of entrepreneurship.

The Bangalore-based entrepreneur has spent decades in the corporate world serving in senior positions. Sharing a glimpse of his career trajectory, before Balu became part of Cleartrip, where he worked for a decade, the founder said he had spent the first eight years of his career working with IT Services and telecom companies in M&A and corporate development roles.  

After completing his MBA, he began working at Tech Mahindra, followed by Nokia Siemens and BMR Advisor. 

Balu began his career in the Indian online space with Cleartrip, initially joining their corporate strategy team, and focused on M&A, investments and fundraising. After a year, he transitioned to the business side, working across various businesses for a decade. He led a B2C business unit with a $1.5 billion GMV across seven countries.

The exposure I gained from working with Cleartrip and Simpl covered various functional areas like category management, product management, marketing, and financial planning & operations. Transitioning from a journey of one to ten at Cleartrip to embarking on a zero to one journey as a founder has been a significant leap fueled by the deep learning from my past roles,” shared the founder of OC Academy with Startup Pedia.

Though upskilling in myriad industries is available, the Bangalore-based entrepreneur discovered upskilling in the medical industry as a white canvas waiting to be explored. 

After speaking to many medical professionals, Balu was sure that the idea of an upskilling venture for doctors had huge business potential, urging him to embark on the entrepreneurship journey. 

Married to an entrepreneur and with two kids, Balu was asked if it was challenging to persuade his family to start the business, given his non-business background and his father being a retired high court judge in Kerala. Balu shared, “After close to two decades of working across diverse companies and domains, including senior executive roles in large-scale businesses,my family stood like a rock behind my conviction as I decided to startup.

Balu shared that even though he had to leave a stable job, he was ready to embark on the entrepreneurial journey as it was a calculated risk with a much higher sense of fulfilment.

What’s OC Academy? 

Founded in 2023, OC Academy emerged as a specialized upskilling platform committed to empowering doctors and enhancing career prospects while ultimately improving patient outcomes.

Talking about the Bangalore-based Edtech and its fundamentals, Balu shared with Startup Pedia, “All Doctors have to be lifelong learners as the realm of medicine is ever-changing and evolving. Our expertise lies in getting together experienced medical practitioners, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), educators, and specialists to create a wide variety of courses and programs that enables practising doctors across experience levels to gain significant advantage through upskilling.” 

He further added, “Our academy offers various courses for   doctors including degree and diploma programs from UK universities.”

The online platform, with an extensive network of over 4 lakh doctors, has collaborated with the world’s top clinical experts, partnered with 35+ global institutes and 75+ hospitals onboarded in the collective effort to empower professionals through education. 

The founder of the Edtech startup emphasises the transformative impact of upskilling programs on treatment quality and patient health, stressing the importance of lifelong learning for professional excellence. 

OC Academy offers immersive courses for both long durations and short terms in the form of certification courses, Post Graduate programs and PG Diplomas with a focus on 25+ specialities including diabetes, cardiology, psychology, assisted reproduction techniques, dermatology, and many more. 

These post graduate  programmes provided by Bangalore-based Edtech OC Academy are conducted in an hybrid manner with flexible online learning and focused physical clinical training in hospitals. 

The founder reflected on why he started OC Academy instead of choosing any other industry. The founder shared, “Recognizing a gap in the upskilling industry, particularly for medical professionals, I observed fewer providers catering to the distinct challenges and requirements of doctors and healthcare practitioners.” 

Having launched in April last year, the initial investment of the venture started with an undisclosed seed funding. The funding helped him form a small team and develop technology. 

Financial journey of OC Academy

The certification programs typically range from Rs 3000 to 15000, the UK university-backed programs are priced between Rs 4 to 20 lakhs, and their immersive postgraduate programs from expert groups are priced around Rs 200,000 to 500000 rupees . 

Reflecting on the growth journey regarding the sales and the revenue generated, the founder shared that they have achieved a strong early product-market fit, both in terms of customer adoption and scalability. 

During the last 12 months of OC Academy, around  4000 doctors have been enrolled in different courses. Touching on sales, Balu stated that the previous two months had seen tremendous sales growth of Rs 3 crores per month. 

In the first three months, when we were offering only certification courses that got  approximately 100-200 doctors each month to enroll in these courses,” revealed Balu. 

He further added, “Our monthly sales were around Rs 20-25 lakh in the initial stages. After the launch of our immersive courses, sales increased to about Rs 40-50 lakhs per month. Our sales have increased significantly  in the last two months, reaching around Rs 3 crore per month.

Doctors with 2-3 years of experience to 30 years of experience can enroll in the courses. On average, the experience level of the doctors enrolling in the OC Academy courses is between 7-8 years. At the same time, 60-70% of the enrollment comes from MBBS doctors, the rest from MDs and others.

Additionally, Balu also mentioned that medical professionals are happy with the flexible nature and immersive learning provided by these courses.

The company employs a digital marketing strategy to promote its programs to medical professionals, leveraging online channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Google. Additionally, it collaborates with doctors to facilitate targeted communication efforts to raise awareness about its offerings.

Headquartered in Bangalore, from its humble beginnings with a team of just three individuals, OC Academy has grown significantly, now boasting a workforce of 40 talented professionals spanning various functional domains such as marketing, sales, content, as well as essential business functions like HR and finance. 

Commenting on the feedback the Bangalore-based healthcare Edtech startup has received from the doctors who have taken short-term certification courses, founder Balu shared, “The response we have received so far from the doctors is positive, they find the courses value adding to their practice by delivering quality teaching and the technology led learning delivering flexibility that’s important as doctors tend to be extremely busy.

Plans and targets

Regarding financial targets and fundraising for the upcoming years, the organization aims to expand, introducing additional courses relevant to the Indian market and aligning with the needs of doctors. 

Discussing their financial strategy, the organization’s goal for FY25 is to achieve sales of  approximately Rs.  100 Cr approx . 

He outlined his vision for the coming years. The founder’s primary goal is to establish OC Academy as a comprehensive platform that caters to doctors at all stages and provides diverse learning resources, clinical perspectives, and information in a streamlined manner using the power of online and technology to deliver on demand information to doctors who have really busy lives

Expanding on the goal, Balu emphasized the aim to connect with as many doctors in India as possible, utilizing his online expertise and experience to empower those who serve as the backbone of healthcare. 

FAQs

What is OC Academy, and when was it founded?

OC Academy is an edtech startup based in Bangalore that specializes in providing upskilling programs tailored to medical professionals. It was founded in 2023 by Balu Ramachandran.

What types of programs does OC Academy offer?

OC Academy offers various certifications, postgraduate studies, diplomas, for doctors and specialists. It also provides specialized courses tailored to the Indian context.

What is the revenue of OC Academy?

The company has experienced significant growth, with sales reaching Rs 3 crores per month in recent months. Their financial targets for FY25 is to achieve sales of Rs 100 Cr.

Who can enrol in OC Academy courses?

MBBS and MD (or equivalent) doctors across age and experience levels can enroll in the course of choice.