CEO of Singapore healthcare startup Homage shares top tips for success

Soon after investing 15 a long time abroad, Singaporean entrepreneur Gillian Tee decided to return dwelling in 2016 to be closer to her relatives.

It was what she known as “the fantastic storm.” 

A few of her close kin have been residing with long-term ailments and Tee swiftly found out the “soreness factors” of caring for persons who want specialized care. 

“Let us say you fell and broke your hip, the clinical part is pretty very clear. You have to locate specialists, you can go to… [a] public healthcare facility or personal clinic,” Tee mentioned. 

“But what transpires when you require to come property, when you have to have to transition back again to your local community and your house, what is the treatment approach? What is the right issue to even believe about, in phrases of proofing the home, mobility aids?” 

Homage presents a array of residence treatment providers, which includes day-to-day dwelling support, nursing care and residence therapy.


That’s when she made the decision to get started Homage, a organization that matches sufferers who need extensive-time period house care with qualified caregivers. 

Because 2017 when the corporation was established, the startup has lifted $45 million, she said naming notable investors such as Golden Gate Ventures Sheares and Healthcare Team — a Temasek wholly owned subsidiary, as very well as early phase enterprise organization 500 Startups.

Homage is now valued at far more than $100 million, according to Tee.

But this is not the 40-year-old’s very first foray into entrepreneurship. She was a administration marketing consultant for Accenture when she chanced on a e book that altered the class of her career.

“I started off as a software program developer and I was just quite drawn to it mainly because I appreciated building factors. But what seriously strike me was this strategy of software,” she informed CNBC Make It. 

How do I use technologies to establish one thing that folks can use, and it impacts their lives?

Gillian Tee

Co-founder and CEO, Homage

She was referring to the reserve Founders at Do the job: Tales of Startups’ Early Times, created by Jessica Livingston, who co-launched seed phase financial investment company Y Combinator. 

“How do I use technology to establish something that individuals can use, and it impacts their lives?” 

And so began Tee’s entrepreneur journey, which consists of investing two yrs in Silicon Valley, where she co-established Rocketrip in 2013. It is a web page that incentivizes organization travelers to conserve their employers revenue on excursion fees. 

The organization raised $32 million — such as $15 million from Google Ventures — right before staying obtained by Mondee Holdings in 2020.

This serial entrepreneur shares her best ideas for jogging prosperous startup.

1. Know your market

Be it building an application for vacation or wellness treatment, the company fundamentals never ever change, reported Tee.         

“You want to know your marketplace truly well. Know your charge motorists, growth drivers and demand motorists.” 

Homage is at the moment in three marketplaces — Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, where there are “distinctive characteristics” that hook up properly to the dilemma that the company is hoping to resolve, Tee extra. 

“We looked at caregiver scarcity, the character of the growing older population and serious sicknesses — which apparently, is not just brought about by age, but very correlated with urbanization.”

Although consumers of Homage lengthen outside of seniors, the chance in eldercare engineering carries on to improve as people dwell extended. In Asia on your own, a person in four men and women will be over 60 many years previous by 2050, according to the Asian Growth Financial institution.

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Nevertheless, Tee stated she is “a large admirer of heading deep and not overspreading” the business.  

“Concentrate is every thing. We do have a pretty crystal clear check out of what the markets are, if we ought to extend to much more [countries]. But proper now the existing emphasis is on deepening our present markets,” she included. 

2. Construct a superior team 

Business enterprise fundamentals are important, but entrepreneurs ought to “anchor to start with on men and women,” explained Tee. 

This has served Homage well in providing the finest treatment for its clients, and for Tee, who experienced no prior practical experience in the wellbeing-care marketplace. 

I try to do the greatest I can, but I provide on men and women who are substantially improved than me.

Gillian Tee

Co-founder and CEO, Homage

“It is crucial to lean on specialists for clinical governance and compliance. That’s why we have our director of nursing, for case in point, who has 20 yrs of experience throughout distinct clinical configurations,” Tee shared. 

“A massive aspect of what we do is we have to have to synthesize care good quality with the solution and technology. That’s the team you have to have to build — I attempt to do the best I can, but I carry on persons who are significantly far better than me.” 

3. Concentrate on the ‘100 great things’

Staying an entrepreneur can be isolating, explained Tee, especially so when you are a lady. 

“You get snide remarks, but of system, less so now due to the fact you can find a popularity and regard which is been constructed up.” 

But issues were not often effortless in the starting. “For instance, [a director] the moment explained to me, ‘You know, now I know why the newspapers element you, due to the fact your eyes are so stunning.'” 

“This is my mantra like everything I go by way of: I have to be 2 times as assertive, additional knowledge-pushed and be tremendous sharp. I do think we [female entrepreneurs] have to do extra to demonstrate our level.” 

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Even so, Tee has learned to acquire issues in her stride and lean on the people who matter. 

“You can find 100 challenges, but there is also 100 great matters. You obtained to actually tune out the sound and be ok likely by way of that depth,” she extra. 

“It really is exhilarating in some methods, but tiring in many other folks. Lean on your crew, be open up, vulnerable, clear with them. I imagine which is the most critical thing.” 

4. Innovation drives effects

What does innovation indicate to Tee? It’s about producing an influence on end users.

“The mission of Homage is so in the vicinity of and dear to me. At the end of the day, there is nothing improved than constructing one thing that persons can get a remedy out of,” she explained. 

“At the close of the day, there is practically nothing much better than creating some thing that people can get a remedy out of,” said Gillian Tee, co-founder and CEO of Homage.


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