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Advancing Asia’s Healthcare Ecosystem

Galen Growth Asia, an independent organization, launched its first-of-a-kind HealthTech CEO Summit, which brought together 30 of Asia’s most promising HealthTech entrepreneurs to debate the importance of technology in healthcare innovation as an unprecedented opportunity to address Asia’s healthcare challenges. In addition to entrepreneurs, the event featured over 150 business leaders in the healthcare sector representing each key stakeholder group in the Asia-Pacific’s ecosystem.

The Summit’s program was a deliberate mix of plenaries and breakout sessions focused on fostering debate on building a better, faster and stronger Asia HealthTech ecosystem. We commenced with a welcome note from the Summit’s key sponsors: Mercer Marsh Benefits and Holmusk followed by the Asia HealthTech Landscape kick-off keynote which illustrated the vibrancy of the ecosystem when it showed that the top ten HealthTech funding deals in the region since 2015 exceeded $1B.

The first panel, which included a mix of entrepreneurs and corporates, discussed some of the key challenges in delivering care in Asia, particularly in regards to government regulations, barriers to market-entry, and securing funding in a region where healthcare infrastructures differ greatly from country to country.

Ashkan Abdul Malek, CEO of AlemHealth, clarifies: “The HealthTech CEO Summit is about bringing together healthcare start-ups and entrepreneurial entities with the aim of having a dialogue. Not only do we understand what each other’s problems are, we can also arrive at shared solutions.” He further emphasises how this Summit enables CEOs to “learn more about how start-ups work with large corporates in terms of risk management, and to provide products that companies need.”

After a short intermission, the Summit held two rounds of breakout sessions, organized with the aim of allowing participants to pick an expert guest speaker and corresponding topics that held their greatest interest. HealthTech CEOs and experts had the opportunity to share their personal journeys, and their guidance on effectively providing innovative healthcare services in Asia. Topics of discussion included scaling operations effectively in emerging markets, business model innovation, IP protection as well as compliance procedures for new technologies. For example, Johnson & Johnson facilitated a breakout sessions to discuss the importance of building a transferrable brand across the region. Ed Deng, CEO of Taiwanese start-up Health 2 Sync, stresses the importance of “transparency among CEOs, in terms of talking about problems, funding, and operations.” Which was precisely the objective of the breakout sessions.

“That was a totally world class event!” Rosaline Koo, Founder & CEO, ConneXions Asia

The Summit’s VIP guest speaker featured one of the most respected entrepreneurs in Asia, Stanley Lee, from DXY China, who shared his point of view on the need to earn the trust of patients and users as an essential component in building the largest online physician community in the world. We closed the Summit with a fireside chat with Wayne Liubinskas from Telstra Health who provided valuable insights on a new entrant’s approach to the HealthTech ecosystem in the region.

The Summit provided a tremendous networking opportunity for all its stakeholders where corporate leaders, care providers, entrepreneurs, investors, and government representatives, all parties benefited from the ability to meet and discuss amongst each other. Rosaline Koo, founder of ConneXions Asia, a well-known mobile health insurance platform, states: “I’ve noticed in the audience a lot of investors. There is a keen interest from investors in this space to invest in successful CEOs.”

Many participants voiced their approval with the breadth and diversity of speakers and other members of the audience, as such a setting allows for the basis of innovation. “I think that one of the most important things about innovation is different ideas and different people together. That’s the theme of Galen Growth Asia in general, and certainly the theme of this CEO summit” says Ogan Gurel, the Chief Medical Officer of Nessa, an innovative med-tech start-up providing smart hearing aids.

Several participants also commented on the unique nature of the CEO Summit. Dr Bimantoro Gregorius has been working with digital health in Indonesia for the past 10 years, and indicated that “[this Summit] is the first conference in Asia to focus on HealthTech.” William Choy, founder of Posture360, a Korean-based start-up that manufactures products aimed to improve your posture, states that “[the Summit] has a flavour to it where you have a bunch of health-tech CEOs, and that’s quite unique, especially for Asia.”

Given the overwhelming positive feedback, Galen Growth Asia intends the Asia HealthTech CEO Summit to be an annual event. Co-founder and Managing Director Julien de Salaberry confirms, “we think that this event should be a continuously evolving discussion. Over time, we certainly will have more and more CEOs as we continue to see the ecosystem building.”

Copyright © 2017 Galen Growth Asia

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