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 known as “the proper storm.”
Three of her shut relations have been residing with persistent diseases and Tee rapidly found the “ache factors” of caring for people who want specialised care.
“As an example you fell and broke your hip, the medical half is sort of clear. You need to discover specialists, you may go to… [a] public hospital or personal hospital,” Tee mentioned.
“However what occurs when you could come house, when you could transition again to your neighborhood and your house, what’s the care plan? What’s the proper factor to even take into consideration, by way of proofing the house, mobility aids?”
That is when she determined to start out 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 mentioned naming notable buyers comparable 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, based on Tee.
However this isn’t the 40-year-old’s first foray into entrepreneurship. She was a administration marketing consultant for Accenture when she chanced upon a ebook 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 preferred constructing issues. However what actually hit me was this idea of utility,” she instructed CNBC Make It.
She was referring to the ebook 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 know-how 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 high suggestions for working profitable startup.
1. Know your market
Be it constructing an app for journey or well being care, the enterprise fundamentals by no means change, mentioned Tee.
“It’s essential to know your market very well. Know your price drivers, progress drivers and demand drivers.”
Homage is at present in three markets — Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, the place there are “distinctive traits” that join nicely to the issue that the corporate is attempting to resolve, Tee added.
“We checked out caregiver scarcity, the character of the growing older inhabitants and persistent diseases — which apparently, is not only attributable to age, however extremely correlated with urbanization.”
Whereas customers of Homage lengthen past seniors, the chance in eldercare know-how continues to develop as individuals dwell longer. In Asia alone, one in 4 individuals will probably be over 60 years outdated by 2050, based on the Asian Growth Financial institution.
Nonetheless, Tee mentioned she is “an enormous 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 develop to extra [countries]. However proper now the present focus is on deepening our present markets,” she added.
2. Construct a very good staff
Enterprise fundamentals are essential, however entrepreneurs ought to “anchor first on individuals,” mentioned Tee.
This has served Homage nicely in offering the most effective look after its shoppers, and for Tee, who had no prior expertise within the health-care trade.
“It is essential to lean on specialists for medical governance and compliance. That is why we have now our director of nursing, for instance, who has 20 years of expertise throughout totally different medical settings,” Tee shared.
“A giant a part of what we do is we have to synthesize care high quality with the product and know-how. That is the staff you could construct — I attempt to do the most effective I can, however I deliver on people who find themselves significantly better than me.”
3. Concentrate on the ‘100 good issues’
Being an entrepreneur could be isolating, mentioned Tee, particularly so when you’re a lady.
“You get snide feedback, however after all, much less so now as a result of there is a popularity and respect that is been constructed up.”
However issues weren’t all the time simple to start with. “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 lovely.'”
“That is my mantra like every thing I am going by means of: I’ve to be twice as assertive, extra data-driven and be tremendous sharp. I do suppose we [female entrepreneurs] must 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 means of that depth,” she added.
“It is exhilarating in some methods, however tiring in lots of others. Lean in your staff, be open, susceptible, clear with them. I believe that is crucial factor.”
4. Innovation drives influence
What does innovation imply to Tee? It is about making an influence on customers.
“The mission of Homage is so close to and expensive 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 mentioned.