Practo has always cultivated creative minds and enterprising people. No wonder quite a few of the company’s former employees have carved a niche for themselves in the startup world. This World Entrepreneurs’ Day, we spoke to some of them to understand how their experience at Practo shaped their entrepreneurial journey.
Building access to quality healthcare for a billion+ people could be unfathomable to many. But two people thought it was possible 13 years ago, inspiring scores of others to walk with them on that journey. Although Shashank ND and Abhinav Lal started Practo’s engine back in 2008, thousands of Practeons have kept it turning since then by continually pushing the boundaries of innovation in healthcare.
In bringing together people from different disciplines, and constructing an environment that stimulates creativity, Practo evolved into an organization defined by its vibrant community of talented employees. Furthermore, their shared beliefs and common passion to make a real impact enables them to work effectively together to help people live healthier lives.
This established a work culture where everyone is encouraged to challenge old assumptions and explore new ways to solve some of the most pressing problems in healthcare. In doing this, we have collectively crossed important milestones and remain open to reinventing ourselves in our common quest to do great things.
This continues to make Practo a magnet for talented people, some of whom have gone on to become extraordinary entrepreneurs themselves. In fact, nearly 100 people have carried forward the values established at Practo to start their own journeys in solving problems they deeply care about. This World Entrepreneurs’ Day, we got in touch with a few of them to understand the role Practo played in shaping their entrepreneurial journey.
A culture of experimentation
Since our inception 13 years ago, Practo has been witness to former employees turning their passion to make an impact into successful businesses. For Dhruv Gupta and Tarun Bhambra, the desire to start a new venture came from a problem that resonated deeply with them and the opportunity they saw in finding a solution – something that is central to Practo’s ethos.
“At Practo, we enjoyed significant freedom to operate and got to solve large problems from scratch. It was a valuable experience in our professional growth, and eventually, in founding Orange Health.”
While Dhruv and Tarun worked at Practo for nearly five years before launching their own health-tech company in 2020, Rachit Kabra’s entrepreneurial aspirations took him on a quest that found him returning to Practo early this year.
“Starting my own venture was a tipping point in my career because of the avenues it opened up, but Practo has always been home for me,” he said. “I’ve also been fortunate to have great mentors in Shashank and Naval who helped me develop skills and competencies that have held me in good stead,” he added.
The elusive work-life balance may have been even more untenable when he started Portkey Consulting in 2017, but he labels those years as one of the most exhilarating times in his life. However, he couldn’t resist when he was presented with an opportunity to build a better world with what he describes as some of the most talented people he’s encountered.
Chimes in Dhruv, “Practo has a really good set of employees who collectively create a strong, positive work culture. Besides building lasting friendships, working alongside smart, motivated people helps you stay excited and work harder.”
…and positive workplace culture at Practo
It’s one of these conversations that prompted Namokar Jain to make the leap, and start his own business two years ago.
“Shrikanth and I became good friends, and we often had deep discussions on numerous and diverse topics,” he said, adding, “The key to a successful business is to be wrong less often, and these conversations helped me lay the groundwork before the plunge.”
Extreme Left: Namokar Jain of White Kitchens
Although Namokar grew up in a family of doctors – which was one of his reasons for joining Practo where he worked for over four years – his real passion lay in launching an enterprise in his hometown, Jaipur. According to him, his experience at Practo helped him learn how to lead a team effectively as a founder. In fact, he’s not alone in recognizing the value in working with someone like Shashank ND at the helm.
Able leadership & diverse voices
“Shashank encourages creative thinking and enables collaboration within the company, allowing employees to focus on building things,” says Sonika Gahlot, who was managing two new projects when she joined the company in 2015.
Although she had previously worked with several startups, she believes that her experience as a Practeon enriched her as a businessperson. “Patience and grit has stuck with me throughout my career, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to work with a company that not only rewards hard work, but also promotes greater diversity of voices,” she adds.
Center: Sonika Gahlot of Happieesouls
There is no playbook for running a successful business, but what unites all entrepreneurs is the commitment to solve a problem and the acceptance of all the concomitant challenges that come with it. Tenacity, coupled with optimism, is what drives them to bend the rules, defy expectations and become outliers who celebrate opportunities to contribute meaningfully to society.
As the entrepreneurial landscape in India evolves, we’re hopeful that more promising entrepreneurs are inspired to listen to their inner critic, and follow their passion to do great things.