Get to Know: Kota Kubo
Galen Growth Asia (GGA) partners with top brands around the globe, savvy investors and passionate startups to accelerate and deepen their understanding of the exciting HealthTech ecosystem in Asia Pacific. GGA is always looking to shine a light on the ecosystem, as well as on the people who are doing amazing things in HealthTech in the region.
Kota Kubo is the Founder and Co-CEO of Dr Ubie a startup that provides predictive diagnosis to empower and support the medical decision making process for ordinary people without any medical knowledge.
Galen Growth Asia (GGA): Hello Kota, thank you for spending some of your time with us today. Can you share your story with us?
Kota: I started Ubie project of developing disease prediction algorithm 5 years ago, when I was doing my Master’s degree in Engineering at the University of Tokyo. I felt it’s not always convenient to go to a doctor because it’s time consuming and sometimes expensive. I also found it’s not always necessary to go to a doctor if the symptoms can be cured with OTC drugs and home treatment. So I started working on solving that problem. It was very difficult to create the system, because it needs a lot of medical academic papers. Also, as I was trying to improve the algorithm, I was working for the Japanese digital health company M3 as a marketing engineer. After that, I started my business of Ubie last year.
GGA: Many thanks for the intro! What would you say excites you the most in HealthTech, given healthcare hasn’t been your focus during your time in university?
Kota: I like the challenge to create a disease prediction which is extremely difficult and exciting. Some big tech players tried to do it themselves using NLP, but the difficulty lays in finding a good set, that is the actual bottleneck! We overcame the problem by gathering data for a long period of time and we are glad to have hospitals as our clients and partners.
GGA: Given where you were born, do you think Tokyo is the best place to do business in Asia?
Kota: No, I believe Bangalore in India is a much better city to start a business. I feel the potential of technology and young energy there.
GGA: Do you consider Bangalore as a good place to relax?
Kota: No, it is actually Singapore! Everything there is so clean and the system works great.
GGA: What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Kota: You have to focus on a specific thing, it’s the only way you can succeed.
GGA: And who inspires you?
Kota: Larry Page and Surgery Brin, the co-founders of Google!
GGA: Would you like to share what you have learnt recently that just blew you off your feet?
Kota: Excellent members follow more excellent members to the team
GGA: If you had the chance to start all over again, what would you do differently?
Kota: I would start my business much earlier! I wasted a lot of time only on creating the disease prediction for more than 800 general diseases without launching any product. I learned it would be a much better way that start with a lower number of diseases and launch the one service at a time. It must be the current lean developing way.
GGA: How do you unwind?
Kota: Sometimes. I go to music concerts to get refreshed and get inspired.
GGA: Sounds very calming! Do you also have any book that you would recommend to people in business?
Kota: The one that comes straight to my mind is Lean Startup by Eric Ries
GGA: Tell us, what is the shameless plug for your business?
Kota: Dr Ubie’s hypothesis is that some of the doctors’ non-creative work will be replaced by technologies. This includes for example the diagnosis of common diseases. Of course it is not an acute change because of the complexity of medical industry but we are trying to create Dr Ubie in a way to support the decision making triage service for ordinary people without any medical knowledge.
GGA: What do you want to achieve at the GGA 2018 HealthTech Summit?
Kota: I would like to catch the wave of the healthcare technology development in Asia. The ultimate attending goal is to make a good partnership with companies like telemedicine, pharmaceuticals, and health insurance to do good business together. We can share the disease prediction service by integrating to their application.
GGA: Alright! How can people reading this connect with and contact you?
Kota: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GGA: Thank you once again for spending time to chat with us, Kota. You gave us some great insights into your life and industry!