Parents can be left feeling anxious and helpless when their children experience asthma attacks. AEvice Health wanted to change that. Founded by Adrian Ang and Nanyang Technological University’s Associate Professor Ser Wee, the start-up created an asthma monitoring device called BioAsthma. Worn around the patient’s chest, it measures symptoms like wheezing and coughing to pre-empt attacks. Relevant data is also stored in a cloud for easy access by parents and healthcare professionals.
We catch up with its CEO, Adrian, as the company prepares for their launch in early 2018.
What motivated you to go into a start-up business in this industry?
I suffered from childhood asthma. My first attack happened when I was five. I remembered vividly the feeling of being breathless, gasping for air. At that age, it was not easy describing my condition to physicians. Intimated by the thought of having to take medication, I chose not to be entirely honest with my family doctor. So, I relate strongly to how disruptive asthma can be to children and their families.
While asthma cannot be cured, the child’s quality of life can still be improved if the illness is effectively managed. I founded AEvice Health to help parents and doctors manage the children's health effectively through our technology.
Who do you consider your most serious competitor?
We have a strong direct competitor based in the US who is currently in product development stage like us. To stay ahead, we have worked very closely with paediatricians over the past year to ensure that our product has the closest product-market fit. In addition, we have identified and are in talks with key strategic partners that have access to the regional markets.
Greatest challenge so far?
One big setback was our unsuccessful attempt to receive support from the statutory board for the commercialisation of our device. As a biomedical start-up, we require large amounts of capital to tide us through the long development stage before we generate our own revenue.
As our product is innovative, it can be difficult to tell if we are on right path at times.
Being recognised for our efforts. It is important that the industry believes in what AEvice Health is setting out to do.
What qualities can help start-ups succeed?
First, humility and the willingness to learn. For example, I have learned a lot about the medical industry through talking to pediatricians and investors. This insight into the industry has helped us to develop a product that meets their needs.
Second, have the right talent within the team and capitalise on their strengths to move the company forward.
Lastly, we ought to be thick-skinned and resourceful to get things done faster.
Any dos and don’t for other start-ups?
Do listen to your customers’ feedback and criticism so that you can better improve your product.
Do not fall in love with your very first business plan. Stay ready to iterate so that you can improve your business offering.
Do not chase after investment. Conduct your due diligence and only court strategic investors or partners who can help you to executing your business plan.