The Rounds, the Halifax company that operates social networks for healthcare professionals, is gearing up for a major push into the U.S.
The company thrived in 2020 as the pandemic encouraged Canadian physicians to use a site on which they could work together to solve the immense healthcare challenges. With revenues growing, the company in the autumn was able to close a funding round mainly through existing investors of almost $1 million.
That growth is continuing and now the company is working on expansion in the U.S. It is collaborating with the American Medical Association to help connect and educate physicians, and working on such special projects as a new innovation network.
“We were very successful in closing that bridge round in a timely fashion, and our investors really stepped up,” said The Rounds CEO Tim Rice in an interview. “That leveraged other funding to help us grow our operations.”
The Rounds (whose corporate name is Boondoc Technologies Inc.) is a closed social network for Canadian doctors, a place where they can discuss medical issues among themselves in order to improve the treatment of patients. A few years ago, the team launched QID, a similar network for pharmacists, which has a global following.
The company’s networks offer secure channels in which professionals can discuss problems with their peers and work on solutions, with privacy and without the noise of other social media channels. There are also corporate sponsors, such as pharmaceutical companies, that pay The Rounds to gain access to its users.
From the outset, the target has been the Canadian medical community, which used the website more frequently once the pandemic hit. In the past year, the number of users on its networks increased 243 percent, while user activity increased 275 percent, said Rice.
Meanwhile, the company has embarked on special projects, such as working with Dalhousie University researcher Christine Chambers on a special channel called Solutions for Kids in Pain, or SKIP, to improve children's pain management by mobilizing evidence-based solutions.
In 2019, The Rounds dedicated over $500,000 in support to extend the reach of SKIP and has now established an online community of 1,500 healthcare providers, most of them physicians. The program includes events, opinions of thought leaders and discussion forums to improve outcomes for children in pain.
Overall, The Rounds has experienced a surge in revenue. So far in this fiscal year (which began in September), revenue is up 63 percent over the same period last year. The pipeline is strong enough that Rice said the company is expecting revenues for all of fiscal 2021 to increase 300 percent.
With the round of bridge funding and increased revenues, The Rounds has been able to increase its staff from 14 to 29 people in 10 months. Rice emphasized that he’s excited by the quality of people the company has attracted, including Holly Bond, formerly the Director of Investment Attraction at Halifax Partnership, who is now The Rounds’ Chief Strategy Officer.
She is leading the planning effort to expand in the U.S., which will involve a major public relations campaign and lining up pharma clients to support the move.
“The big thing for us in 2021 is launching in the U.S.,” said Rice. “We're already working with [the AMA] and the roll out is utilizing their network and our network.”