Enterprise
Opportunities in healthcare
Najihah S 
From left: Yin, Tan and Dr Ng who are among CareDo’s founders
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HEALTHCARE is a growing business in Malaysia. Market research firm GlobalData says the country’s healthcare market will be worth US$3.7 bil (RM15.9 bil) by 2020.

The ageing population is also growing with those 65 and above reaching 7% of the national population by 2020 from 6.2% this year.

This is a compound annual growth rate of 4.2% from 2013, with a current population of 32 million.

With an ageing population, care for mothers, babies, and childcare services will also rise.

This presents opportunities for entrepreneurs to provide services that fill the gap where the public sector is not able to focus on.

FocusM features two start-ups that have entered the under-serviced healthcare sector that are often overlooked by hospitals and clinics. They are CareDo and Teleme.

CareDo’s story began with a woman who entered motherhood. In 2015, 32-year-old Tan Yunn Jin was a new mother struggling with her confinement.

Not only was she coping with the new experience of motherhood, she was also unable to find a reliable babysitting service for her precious one.

The frustration spurred Tan to improvise and find a solution. She then came up with an idea to provide caregiving services, which can be booked online via the web.

It also helped that Tan is a traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician, confinement consultant and also an infant massage trainer.

 

Seed capital

Tan convinced investors and raised RM600,000 as seed capital to launch CareDo in July last year.

She roped in four other core team members to strengthen her operations.

Tan invited Dr Ng Cheong, 46, a family physician with 12 years of clinical experience to take charge of the management.

Dr Ng is also its chief financial officer and oversees CareDo’s expansion plans.

Next, she roped in Dexter Yin Yu Wen, 27, who became a founding member and heads CareDo’s strategy formulation and IT. He also helps form collaborations with companies and industries.

Finally, Alwin Ow joined them to head CareDo’s marketing efforts, completing the company’s initial founding team.

“We are committed to elevating caregivers’ overall safety, quality and reliability in Malaysia.

“We provide a range of caregiving services from womb to golden age as we believe that in 10 years, the country will have a large old age population,” Tan tells FocusM when asked about the company’s mission.

She says there will be a surge in the number of elderly which will require quality caregivers.

CareDo’s target market is urban parents who need confinement nannies and families looking for nurses for their old folks.

 

Certification

To further strengthen CareDo’s credentials, the founders decided to develop the company’s own professional confinement and childcare certificate course.

It put together a multi-disciplinary team of local specialists based on the scenario in Malaysia and Singapore.

“[To develop the course content] we emphasised on evidence-based teaching methods such as equipping students with scientific knowledge when caring for the baby and mother,” says Tan.

She says it took the team one year to complete the course curriculum, which is now recognised by Universiti Malaya.

Encouraged by the success, CareDo is now developing a professional confinement certificate course, designed by another team of specialists in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

In addition, the company is planning new initiatives to grow its business.

Among them is a caregiver matching platform, which will provide families with detailed profiles of the caregivers and their background checks before they are considered for hire.

CareDo has also launched its Blessing Box, which is similar to a baby crib.

“It provides a safe place outside the parents’ bed for infants to sleep in. The box took six months and lots of hard work to develop,” Tan says.

 

Returns and funding

And she is aiming high, which is quite ambitious for a start-up.

“We are projecting a minimum of RM30,000 from sales of the matching service between the caregivers and parents.

“We estimate annual revenue for this year at about RM50,000 and next year RM500,000,” she says.

CareDo is also seeking additional funding to grow its business. “Our company aims to receive external funding of RM1 million.

“We are seeking investors who share the same vision as us to build a Malaysian caregiver platform that’s on par with international standards,” Tan says.

She says with investment funds, the company will be able to expand to Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries.

For Teleme, it markets itself as the country’s leading telemedicine platform.

Based online, it connects patients to medical practitioners, pharmacists and health labs.

The company provides consultation, medical delivery, e-prescriptions, health screenings, reminders and other services.

To date, it boasts having over 150 licenced health practitioners who signed up under its platform to provide consultation services via video call or online chat.

The idea for Teleme surfaced when Dr Aqeel Ahmad, 26 noticed that patients are repeatedly visiting hospitals for follow-ups on simple health consultations.

This struck him as being odd, and he felt that using teleconsultations would save time and avoid unnecessary travelling for patients.

Sparked by the idea, Dr Aqeel was determined to change the situation. He discussed the business idea with Mark Choo, 26, his high school classmate.

Choo aims for Teleme to expand regionally

Choo also invited Dr Hoh Hon Bing, 53, who is an experienced ophthalmologist.

The discussions led them to establish Teleme in November last year with Choo, Dr Aqeel and Dr Hoh as co-founders.

 

Growing strength

Since then, the company has grown into a seven-member team with a total funding of RM300,000 raised by the co-founders.

A focus group discussion was launched to gather feedback. “Through this, we created a virtual marketplace for patients to connect easily to their doctors no matter where they were. The system took us around six months to develop,” Choo says.

Today, Teleme provides an end-to-end online healthcare service which few can replicate.

The company also has strategic partnerships with doctors, major pharmacies and health laboratories.

An interesting feature of Teleme is that it provides a health journey logbook.

“Our recording system tracks and records a patient’s health journey the day they join Teleme.

“Patients can access their logbook with ease and are allowed to share it with doctors they connect to on the platform.

“It represents an accurate medical history of the patient, which is important for the doctors as they can decide the course of treatment to be taken,” says Choo.

Simple web technologies catapulted the company to greater heights, attracting attention from venture capital firms such as the Ministry of Finance’s Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd.

 

Grant

Cradle’s CIP300 is a pre-seed programme, providing financial and value-added services of up to RM300,000 to help kickstart  ventures.

“We were recently awarded a Cradle CIP-300 grant. We will utilise the money to develop our mobile application and expand our coverage nationwide.

“We are also looking at a round of seed funding over the next four to six months,” Choo says.

Like CareDo, Teleme also has lofty financial targets.

It aims to achieve RM150,000 in revenue by this year and RM1 mil by next.

To achieve it, Teleme has to grow beyond Malaysia. “We are hoping to expand to the rest of Asean, where we can have doctors from different nationalities on board.

“Simplifying the doctor-patient relationship is our main goal,” Choo says.



This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 257.