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Doximity: MD/MBA Launches Healthcare Revolution From Harvard Business School

The Doximity app in action

The Doximity app in action

Doctor Doximity is in – and he’s got $82 million in his pocket. Also, he’s taking over the country. This year, Poets&Quants‘ No. 10 MBA startup is a company launched from Harvard Business School that owns the hottest app in the history of medicine: Doximity.

Since going operational in 2011, Doximity has pulled in doctors at an astounding rate. More than half the physicians in the U.S. are now members, using the app – mostly via phone – to exchange patient information, consult and network with other doctors, advertise for consulting work, document their continuing medical education to satisfy professional requirements, and even send and receive the faxes that remain ubiquitous in medicine as they vanish from most other industries.

It was late 2009 when Nate Gross, an Emory medical student who’d taken time out from his program and was just starting an MBA at HBS, met Jeff Tangney, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who had co-founded massively successful online clinical-reference service Epocrates. Tangney had been invited to HBS’s annual Cyberposium technology conference that Gross was helping to organize.

“We met there and hit it off and discussed many ideas that the founding team of Doximity has since built into the product,” says Gross. Tangney would become Doximity’s CEO.

TOOK LEAVE FROM MED SCHOOL TO GET AN MBA

Nate Gross leveraged his Harvard MBA experience to launch a successful startup

Nate Gross leveraged his Harvard MBA experience to launch a successful startup

Gross was nearly finished with med school when he took leave to come to Harvard. While some students take dual-degree programs in business and medicine, that typically cuts the electives out of the MBA, and Gross wanted the full package.

If anything, his MBA journey is a case study of how a student can leverage the resources of a business school to successfully launch a hot startup. Gross reaped tremendous rewards from the HBS electives. Professor Michael Porter’s course on value-based healthcare gave him an “early glimpse” into a major shift in U.S. healthcare toward improving health by emphasizing outcomes over cost, and making patients’ records available to all the doctors who treat them – the latter being a goal that would help drive the creation of Doximity.

Through a healthcare entrepreneurship class taught by Bob Higgins and Richard Hamermesh he began to understand “the sheer complexity in launching a healthcare business,” he says. “In healthcare, the people who use your service are not always the people who benefit from the service, are not always the people who pay for the service, are not always the people who make the decision to purchase the service. That course helped me to recognize . . . what we would need to do to succeed in that space.”

In his Launching Technology Ventures course, Gross learned about lean startup development, establishing and building competitive advantage, and “how to analyze opportunity and succeed in an uncertain environment,” he says.

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