MedTech Actuator startup EloCare Pte Ltd is innovating in the internet of medical things (IoMT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop connected and smart healthcare devices that help people live longer and age gracefully.
Dr Mabel Yen Ngoc Nguyen and Fandi Peng founded Singapore-based EloCare, bringing their strong medical research, engineering, and entrepreneurial backgrounds to the company – with a focus on chronic and aging care.
Mabel and Fandi discovered that there was no reliable tool to detect and monitor over 35 menopausal symptoms, and went on to build the first menopause tracker. The wearable and accompanying mobile app can serve as a personalised healthcare assistant to help women make more informed decisions, with the support of their physician, about how to manage menopause. Easy to use and secure, the solution monitors symptoms through biomarkers and self-assessments, and interprets this data to provide lifestyle and medical suggestions. The team is working closely with researchers and clinicians to develop this solution.
“Throughout the R&D process, we uncovered more healthcare problems in aging and chronic care that can be addressed with our IoMT infrastructure. We are now working with our clinical partners to deliver better care,” says Mabel, EloCare CEO and Co-Founder.
EloCare recently won the Open Innovation Challenge 2020 for Industry Track, delivered by Enterprise Singapore in partnership with five of Singapore’s leading healthcare providers. The award opens more opportunities for EloCare to co-develop, test, and deploy solutions using their IoMT infrastructure with healthcare providers.
MedTech Actuator x Elocare
Starting with an idea, preliminary research, and a raw prototype the team joined Asia Pacific’s MedTech catalyst MedTech Actuator in 2020 to develop their prototype and go-to-market, IP, and regulatory strategies – and to connect with industry experts and potential investors.
“The MedTech Actuator has a strong local and international support network that spans government, product development, corporate, clinical, research, investor, and VC partners,” says Mabel.
Being embedded in this ecosystem gave EloCare brand advantages and opportunities to connect with strategic partners and investors. The MedTech Actuator has helped EloCare to connect with the right individuals for feedback and advice in the health innovation ecosystem, and the founding team would not hesitate to recommend the program to emerging founders.
“Navigating a startup in the MedTech space has unique challenges with a longer time horizon compared to a typical startup. Being in the right network and getting professional support early from MedTech Actuator can help startups avoid costly lessons down the road and tap into many opportunities to connect with strategic partners and investors.”
Mabel says the team was fortunate to have Johannes Mang as a mentor to guide them during the program and refine company strategies.
“Johannes is very experienced in the different stages of a startup journey and willing to put himself in our shoes to work through problems and share his insights,” says Mabel.
EloCare tips for early-stage MedTech entrepreneurs
Mabel notes that early-stage startups share a common challenge to develop a clear vision of what can be achieved in the short-term and long-term.
“Founders can be ambitious in their startup vision to create a disruptive solution. However being an early-stage startup with time and resource constraints, it is important to have a balance of ambition and pragmatism and to be flexible with goals,” says Mabel.
Mabel recommends ensuring the long-term vision can be broken down into attainable and profitable milestones. She says that it is also important to maintain focus and ambition – always working towards creating impact and developing a competitive advantage.
“Within the EloCare team, we as founders have intense discussions about our mission and plans for the company every time that we assess our progress and challenges. While it is not an easy discussion, it is essential for the life and growth of the company,” says Mabel.
Mabel believes that founders and early team members need to remain resilient and passionate to overcome constant uncertainties and challenges in building a startup.
“Most people will tell you why an idea doesn’t work, and most of the time, they are right. But it is more important to think about how to make something work,” says Mabel.
“Be open-minded enough to accept if a solution or an idea doesn’t work in the end – but only after putting 100% effort into trying to make it work first. On another note, make sure you ask for feedback from the right audience!”