Sramana Mitra: We know quite a bit about that segment—stuff like Concordia’s huge programs in nurse practitioner training. Do you provide the content infrastructure for them?
Norm Wu: It’s very much the same model. They can either create their own cases or they can license cases that we’ve worked with outside educators on. Our move into nurse practitioners education, which now accounts for over half of our customer base, has been more recent. Our cases, by and large, have been developed by medical school educators but they’re using them anyway.
What we’d like to do is develop a whole series of cases that are developed by nurse practitioner educators and which are more targeted towards them. As you may know, with a nursing background, you tend to think more holistically about patients. When you’re asking them questions about their medical history and symptoms, you may ask about what’s going on at home that’s causing the stress that is contributing to the illness.
Sramana Mitra: What is the status of your company? You said you started it three years back. Is this a venture-funded company?
Norm Wu: We’re angel-backed and we’re currently looking for a round of funding which will likely involve institutional investors.
Sramana Mitra: I know that you are above $5 million in revenue. What kind of penetration do you have now? How many medical schools and nurse practitioner schools are using your technology?
Norm Wu: We have roughly 60 schools using our technology, approximately 50 of which, we brought on last year so we’re on a very steep growth curve. They’re primarily in North America and the Caribbean. We have interest from all over the world.
Sramana Mitra: The business models and the pricing models have to be adjusted if you try to go into the third-world countries and the emerging market. In the Western world, you’ll find your current business model will work. It’s better to just stay focused on that and make sure that you achieve a certain amount of scale just based on that. This is very important stuff.
From a trends point of view, how reflective is your customer base? The traditional educators and perhaps the new educators who are addressing the medical education segment to these online learning trends, what are you seeing in terms of adoption? What is the pace of adoption and where do you see open problems? What are customers asking for that you are not necessarily addressing but are potential opportunities for new entrepreneurs to start new companies in this domain?
Norm Wu: It varies by type of school. Nurse practitioner schools move much more quickly than medical schools. There are fewer decision makers. They have a very big need to expand capacity and they’re used to online education. There are more decision makers involved in medical schools. They may or may not appreciate the impact on the quality of education. I think most do. It’s interesting. If you look at our customer mix, while we have schools that are generally ranked in the top 10%, the vast majority of our customers are not in the top 10%.