If you ask any med student what OnlineMedEd is, they’ll probably be able to tell you. For over six years, the edtech platform has been providing med students with video content and learning resources in order to help them pass their board exams. Now about 86 percent of all med students in the U.S. use OnlineMedEd in order to supplement their education.
But the Austin-based company is ready to take things even further thanks to its first institutional funding raise.
On Wednesday, OnlineMedEd announced that it raised $20 million in a growth funding round led by Lumos Capital Group.
This is the first time that the company has gone down the VC route to secure funding. OnlineMedEd previously raised $5 million in funding from a small group of doctors who wanted to invest in the company. Besides that, the company has mostly been bootstrapped since it launched in 2014.
While being bootstrapped for that long is an impressive feat, it does put some limitations on growth. A lot of OnlineMedEd’s growth has been due to organic, word-of-mouth recommendations. But this new funding will allow the company to capitalize on its success, and part of that involves going global.
“Our business was used universally before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were in over 190 countries,” OnlineMedEd CEO and co-founder Jamie Fitch told Built In. “But now we’re being used even more abroad. We’ve seen 50 percent growth in users internationally since COVID. And we’ve also seen a pretty big bump in our international revenue. So it really demonstrates the opportunity for us to think bigger.”
Fitch says that the company plans to cater to its international users more. The company aims to offer more region-relevant content on its platform. For example, med students in the U.S. might not spend that much time learning about malaria. But in parts of Africa and South Asia, where malaria is much more prevalent, it’s more important to learn about the disease.
OnlineMedEd is also opening international offices, in order to support its customers in those areas.
OnlineMedEd also recently evolved from a one-year curriculum to a four-year curriculum. Previously, the company would provide content and resources that gradually guide you through med school education over the course of just one year. But med school usually takes four years, so OnlineMedEd expanded its education pathway so it covered students from their first day in med school until they graduate.
Beyond that, OnlineMedEd has also seen user interest from medical professionals who have long since finished med school.
“We started to see nurse practitioners, nurses, physicians and the whole gamut of healthcare workers coming back to utilize our resources,” Fitch said.
So OnlineMedEd has also started to create videos catering to professionals. For example, some of its content helps teach professionals how to deal with tricky patients. These education tools were especially useful during the pandemic. Last year, OnlineMedEd released its Crash Course video program, which was meant to get redeployed healthcare workers up to speed on certain medical issues. The company says that over 30,000 professionals watched this content.
OnlineMedEd will go on a hiring spree to bolster this growth and new content. Fitch said that he expects to go from 75 employees to 125 employees in the next six months. Open roles include positions in engineering, data science, customer success and more. Most of these jobs will be based out of the company’s Austin headquarters or fully remote.
Fitch says that the team is passionate about education and believes that healthcare workers play a vital role in society. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, highlighted just how important the medical community is. Fitch believes that this played a role in OnlineMedEd’s growth over the past year, as medical knowledge was in such high demand.
“The lack of healthcare infrastructure has really come to light around the world,” Fitch told Built In. “The problems that we’ve seen in the United States with not having enough PPE, not having enough healthcare workers, the difficulties of distributing the vaccine, have been magnified here and around the world. So more people are coming to our site wanting to learn medicine.”
The drive to provide this information to the world is also what helped OnlineMedEd decide to partner with Lumos Capital. Lumos is a mission-driven VC firm that focuses on funding industries in the human development sector. Together, the two companies hope to expand the impact that OnlineMedEd has.
“Lumos is a fantastic partner. We cast a very wide net, and I don’t think we could have found someone more aligned to our purpose. So we’re incredibly excited that they are as focused on our purpose as they are our business opportunity,” Fitch said.