After spending 15 years overseas, Singaporean entrepreneur Gillian Tee determined to return house in 2016 to be nearer to her household.
It was what she referred to as “the proper storm.”
Three of her shut relations had been dwelling with persistent sicknesses and Tee shortly found the “ache factors” of caring for people who want specialised care.
“As an instance you fell and broke your hip, the medical half is kind of clear. You must discover specialists, you’ll be able to go to… [a] public hospital or personal hospital,” Tee stated.
“However what occurs when you might want to come house, when you might want to transition again to your neighborhood and your house, what’s the care plan? What’s the proper factor to even take into consideration, when it comes to proofing the house, mobility aids?”
That is when she determined to begin Homage, an organization that matches sufferers who want long-term house care with certified caregivers.
Since 2017 when the corporate was based, the startup has raised $45 million, she stated naming notable traders similar to Golden Gate Ventures Sheares and Healthcare Group — a Temasek wholly owned subsidiary, in addition to early stage enterprise agency 500 Startups.
Homage is now valued at greater than $100 million, in keeping with Tee.
However this isn’t the 40-year-old’s first foray into entrepreneurship. She was a administration advisor for Accenture when she chanced upon a guide that modified the course of her profession.
“I began off as a software program developer and I used to be simply very drawn to it as a result of I appreciated constructing issues. However what actually hit me was this idea of utility,” she instructed CNBC Make It.
She was referring to the guide Founders at Work: Tales of Startups’ Early Days, written by Jessica Livingston, who co-founded seed stage funding agency Y Combinator.
“How do I take advantage of expertise to construct one thing that individuals can use, and it impacts their lives?”
And so started Tee’s entrepreneur journey, which incorporates spending two years in Silicon Valley, the place she co-founded Rocketrip in 2013. It’s a web site that incentivizes enterprise vacationers to save lots of their employers cash on journey bills.
The corporate raised $32 million — together with $15 million from Google Ventures — earlier than being acquired by Mondee Holdings in 2020.
This serial entrepreneur shares her prime suggestions for operating profitable startup.
1. Know your market
Be it constructing an app for journey or well being care, the enterprise fundamentals by no means change, stated Tee.
“It is advisable know your market very well. Know your price drivers, development drivers and demand drivers.”
Homage is at the moment in three markets — Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, the place there are “distinctive traits” that join effectively to the issue that the corporate is making an attempt to resolve, Tee added.
“We checked out caregiver scarcity, the character of the ageing inhabitants and persistent sicknesses — which curiously, is not only attributable to age, however extremely correlated with urbanization.”
Whereas customers of Homage lengthen past seniors, the chance in eldercare expertise continues to develop as individuals reside longer. In Asia alone, one in 4 individuals will probably be over 60 years outdated by 2050, in keeping with the Asian Improvement Financial institution.
Nevertheless, Tee stated she is “a giant fan of going deep and never overspreading” the enterprise.
“Focus is every thing. We do have a really clear view of what the markets are, if we must always broaden to extra [countries]. However proper now the present focus is on deepening our present markets,” she added.
Enterprise fundamentals are essential, however entrepreneurs ought to “anchor first on individuals,” stated Tee.
This has served Homage effectively in offering the most effective take care of its shoppers, and for Tee, who had no prior expertise within the health-care business.
“It is essential to lean on specialists for medical governance and compliance. That is why now we have our director of nursing, for instance, who has 20 years of expertise throughout totally different medical settings,” Tee shared.
“An enormous a part of what we do is we have to synthesize care high quality with the product and expertise. That is the group you might want to construct — I attempt to do the most effective I can, however I deliver on people who find themselves a lot better than me.”
Being an entrepreneur will be isolating, stated Tee, particularly so if you find yourself a girl.
“You get snide feedback, however in fact, much less so now as a result of there is a popularity and respect that is been constructed up.”
However issues weren’t at all times simple at first. “For instance, [a director] as soon as instructed me, ‘, now I do know why the newspapers function you, as a result of your eyes are so stunning.'”
“That is my mantra like every thing I’m going by: I’ve to be twice as assertive, extra data-driven and be tremendous sharp. I do assume we [female entrepreneurs] need to do extra to show our level.”
Even so, Tee has realized to take issues in her stride and lean on the individuals who matter.
“There’s 100 issues, however there’s additionally 100 good issues. You bought to essentially tune out the noise and be okay going by that depth,” she added.
“It is exhilarating in some methods, however tiring in lots of others. Lean in your group, be open, weak, clear with them. I feel that is an important factor.”
What does innovation imply to Tee? It is about making an affect on customers.
“The mission of Homage is so close to and pricey to me. On the finish of the day, there’s nothing higher than constructing one thing that individuals can get an answer out of,” she stated.