When Shiv Gaglani and ryan haynes started OsmosisGaglani said the audience for the startup’s health education offerings were a group of classmates at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
About seven years later, the company Youtube channel featuring videos designed to make medical concepts accessible has 1 million subscribers. During an interview, Gaglani did the quick calculation of how many 120-member conferences would reach.
“That’s 8,333 student auditoriums,” the company’s CEO said as we spoke at the company’s offices inside. Brewers Hill HUB inside Canton’s Natty Boh Tower.
The reflection came the morning Gaglani was preparing for a meeting with the team to celebrate the one million subscriber milestone. The feat also wins a special “Creator Award” from YouTube, known as the Golden Play Button. This award will go along with the prize money, a plaque, for 100,000 desktop subscribers.
Osmosis also has another 500,000 users on its platform, providing access to more health education videos and resources, some of which overlap with YouTube subscribers.
When it comes to total time spent watching company content, Gaglani offers this stat: 600 years. (Here is breakdown by country.)
So what drives popularity? Gaglani points to a mix of factors. On the one hand, there is the content. The colorful animation style, which involves anthropomorphizing certain organs, also plays a role. And the team identified standards for length and script.
Then there’s voice, provided on many videos by Tanner Marshall. With a conversational delivery, he has become something of a YouTube celebrity in medical education circles.
“When I go to med school, people know Tanner’s voice,” Gaglani said.
Marshall, who joins Gaglani as one of five members of the Baltimore-based team, has had no formal vocal training. But in developing the voice for the videos, he said it was essential to figure out how to get the words from page to page in a way that sounded like someone who would normally speak. This is important for medical concepts, which can become dense.
“I try to read the script not like it’s a script, but like I’m going to say it,” Marshall said. The company now has a team of voiceover artists.
Another key to growth was to offer more content. This meant understanding the process of creating the videos, where Marshall also had a lot of influence. He recently made the jump to the product side and used his knowledge of the creative process to help create technology that can help the company’s team with illustrations.
Osmosis primarily offers YouTube videos to provide access and exposure to its content, as well as a way to spread awareness about the platform.
“That’s where a lot of people are,” Gaglani said of YouTube. “That was the top of the funnel growth for us, and so as we started putting more content on YouTube and growing that base, we started seeing more people coming to our site because they knew the brand and trusted it.”
This comes as the company seeks to expand in Baltimore. It has 35 other remote employees, but the city has remained a base. In addition to being where it all started at JHU’s medical school, the company’s founding investors are based in the city, and Gaglani points out that it’s close to about 20 medical schools between DC, Baltimore and Philly. Now the company is looking to add tech talent to Baltimore.
And speaking of YouTube, Gaglani recently gave a TEDx talk who has more on the ideas behind the company: