A “business ecosystem” is a network of organisations – including suppliers, distributors, customers, competitors, government agencies – involved with the delivery of products or services through both competition and cooperation. Ecosystems help startups find links to customers, resources and talent – they expand the reach of entrepreneurs who typically lack the resources of established companies. While healthtech entrepreneurs in Asia rely upon their local startup ecosystems that support ventures of all types, their participation in regional ecosystems for specific industries or sectors may prove to have the greater benefit.
Healthcare Challenges, Innovation and Entrepreneurs
Asia is experiencing rapid growth in start-up culture, and the infrastructure surrounding startup operations is strengthening. Singapore has positioned itself as an innovation hub for the region in a variety of sectors, and while there may be a concentration of healthtech startups here, capable healthtech ventures are emerging throughout Asia to tackle the many challenges within healthcare that confront both patients and providers in the region.
For example, health systems of Asian countries are confronted by the changing demographics of the region. Consider the challenges posed by an aging population that is expected to nearly double from a projected 450 million in 2025 to over 850 million people by 2050.
As with health systems in other regions of the world, innovation in healthcare continues to emerge. From digitization of patient records, to big data analytics, Asia has seen rapid growth in health-related apps and online solutions targeted to solve the many challenges in healthcare delivery. The demands on healthcare by an aging population have stimulated entrepreneurs throughout the region to create new technologies and innovations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of future healthcare.
For example, programmes such as AIA’s Vitality are starting to offer personalised wellness healthcare offers based on data analytics. The use of artificial intelligence on large datasets enables AIA to offer more personalised insights into patient’s needs that results in better targeted, more effective, and lower cost care.
Entrepreneurs in the Healthtech Ecosystem
Healthcare is among the most complex of industries, with thousands of companies competing and collaborating to deliver solutions for patient care. While established companies in healthcare are actively innovating, new ventures globally are creating disruptive technologies and solutions that have resulted in breakthroughs in care quality while reducing cost. The big challenges of healthcare will need innovation from many sources. Entrepreneurs and new ventures, not the research labs of healthcare giants, will deliver many of the breakthrough technologies that will shape future healthcare.
Not all innovation efforts are successful. Not every startup rises rapidly to success. A healthtech ecosystem exists to enable the emergence of new startups not only through financial and technical assistance mechanisms, but perhaps more importantly by providing pathways for entrepreneurs to collaborate, to connect with organizations and companies that can help them solve a problem, reach out to a potential customer, or even engage decision makers in large corporations. Beyond resources, an effective ecosystem offers visibility and enables interaction between companies and people. This collaboration, networking, and socialization builds relationships that are the basis for a dynamic ecosystem. Talent in ventures that fail moves to other ventures. Entrepreneurs pivot and change course as they learn from the market how to deliver salable value.
Ecosystems are a platform for reinvention and dynamism. The cultivation of an Asian healthtech ecosystem is critical catalyst that speeds healthcare innovation in Asia by enabling interaction of companies of all sizes and people with complementary skillsets and talents. But ecosystems don’t just rise up spontaneously. The more effective ecosystems are those with active members, who contribute to their vitality with events, participation in forums, networking, visibility to resources, connections, and more. Those companies and people who benefit from the ecosystem are its citizenry, with the shared responsibility to assure its value and vitality.
Healthtech holds the promise of delivering stunning breakthroughs to the healthcare system in Asia. Healthtech Ecosystems can accelerate the emergence and maturation of technologies into widely deployable solutions throughout the region. These solutions can have a demonstrable impact on delivering healthcare efficiently to an aging population.
Galen Growth Asia (GGA) is committed to building an integrated innovation network to catalyse the healthtech ecosystem and drive the convergence of technology and healthcare. Get in touch if you’d like to find out how GGA can help you. www.galengrowth.asia