Singapore is Betting Big on Healthtech

Singapore is Betting Big on Healthtech

by August 25, 2017

With healthcare spending at 1.5 percent of Singapore’s gross domestic product a year, , disruptive healthcare startups are shaping the industry. They are also procuring funds from some of the biggest names in venture capital.

Just six months ago, Singapore’s CXA Group secured US$25 billion in Series B funding led by  Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group and government funded EDBI, the corporate investment fund of the Economic Development Board.

Founded by Rosaline Koo, a veteran of Singapore’s insurance scene, CXA is upping the game on corporate insurance. Instead of the typical employee benefits package, which includes the usual medical and hospitalisation plans, CXA clients are offered a customisable benefits package at the same price that they already pay for their current setup. And employees can choose anything from health insurance to holistic wellness, such as yoga classes.

Designing custom healthcare

CXA is just one of the health tech startups in Singapore that aims to improve people’s lives, down to the individual. After all, it gives control back to the employee over what kind of health benefits they would like, instead of letting an unused accident protection plan languish.

CXA focuses more on prevention rather than treatment – with all the stress workers go through, yoga classes are definitely more in demand than insurance. Using CXA’s big data, employers can better manage their healthcare benefits spend in a way that caters directly to their employees’ needs.

Using big data, healthtech startups intend to tailor medical plans to an individual’s needs. | image via pixabay

Such a trend is in line with what Accenture considers “Technology designed by humans, for humans” in its Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2017 report. The report notes that artificial intelligence is enhancing the consumer experience.

“A barrier to healthcare self-service has been that people don’t know where to look for information, leading to difficult and discouraging interactions. Or, they get no personal guidance outside the four walls of a doctor’s office,” it notes.

For example, health plans have a wealth of structured and unstructured data that can be used as a training set to improve business decision making for healthcare providers and insurers, and create a continuous loop of learning for its AI, thereby simplifying processes like underwriting, the report added.

Planning for future generations

As one of the easiest places in the world to do business, Singapore has drawn significant healthcare startups to the country.  Singapore has also committed $19 billion in the next five years for research & development, with a portion of it going to health and biomedical sciences. Galen Growth Asia, a healthcare innovation network that bridges personnel with startups, has set up its regional headquarters in Singapore.

By 2030, Singapore’s healthcare spending is expected to reach 3.5 percent of GDP, driven by the elderly population. | image via pixabay

Singapore’s rapidly ageing population has also galvanised other entrepreneurs to improve the outcomes for future generations.  Homage is one such startup based in Singapore that intends to do just that.

Homage is a platform that matches carefully-selected trained caregivers to seniors. Its website and soon-to-be launched mobile apps are available on demand for scheduling of care visits, which cuts out the middle man, in this case a placement agency, altogether.

Caregivers are on standby and are contactable within short notice, and client visits range from one hour and up, so they pay for only what they need.

By 2030, the elderly population will be the biggest driver of rising expenditure going forward,with healthcare spending expected to reach around 3.5 percent of GDP.  

In March, Homage announced that it has secured US$1.2 million in seed funding 500Startups, venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures, and seed investors SeedPlus. The funding will go towards product development and scale operations, said the startup.


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