Singapore Caregiving Platform Homage Hustles To Keep Up With Demand For Care As Asia Ages
As Asian populations mature more mature, Homage CEO Gillian Tee is growing the digital platform’s pool of caregivers, nurses and medical doctors to meet up with rising demand from customers.
Gillian Tee was 10 when the elderly nanny who aided raise her handed absent from cancer. That practical experience, and a shut bond with her grandmother, designed Tee informed of the day-to-day help required by several seniors, and the battle people experience in finding experienced treatment. More than two a long time afterwards she cofounded Singapore-primarily based Homage, which nowadays statements to have the major pool of caregivers in the metropolis-state that households can employ the service of by an application.
“I consider most men and women in healthcare startups get started in the market simply because they had some own ordeals,” claims the 40-yr-outdated CEO by online video. The personal computer science graduate (University of Melbourne) received her initial taste of functioning a organization following getting an M.B.A. from Columbia College. In 2012, she cofounded New York-based ticket reserving platform Rocketrip. A couple decades afterwards she moved back to Singapore to be nearer to family, where she noticed an opportunity to marry electronic engineering with home-based treatment products and services. “I actually considered in the notion of performing properly by executing fantastic,” she says of her conclusion to get started Homage with cofounders Lily Phang and Tong Duong, who have considering the fact that still left the business.
Due to the fact launching in 2016, Homage has grown to 15,000 section- and full-time caregivers, expanded to Malaysia and Australia, and raised much more than $45 million in funding from buyers like Sheares Health care Group, owned by Singapore condition fund Temasek, and Southeast Asia-targeted Golden Gate Ventures.
The company’s transfer into Malaysia in 2018 helped raise income by 170% to S$1.8 million ($1.3 million) in 2020, although losses narrowed to S$4.8 million from S$5.8 million, according to the newest obtainable figures. Tee says income extra than tripled final 12 months and intercontinental revenues grew eightfold in the past 18 months, adhering to the company’s enlargement into Australia in 2021.
Homage, which manufactured the 100 to View record this calendar year, has also diversified outside of caregiving to incorporate expert services this sort of as telemedicine, drugs shipping and the sale of medical products. Tee is now centered on tackling the obstacle of preserving up with desire for treatment as Asia ages. In Singapore, government figures show the selection of individuals aged 65 or above manufactured up practically 17% of its resident populace in 2022.
Need for expert caregivers is rising steadily not just in Singapore, but across the Asia-Pacific, residence to some of the world’s oldest and fastest ageing populations. In the next ten years, the region will account for 60% of the world’s about-65 population and will also have 250 million diabetics, in accordance to Vikram Kapur, companion and head of Asia-Pacific healthcare at consultancy Bain & Co. in Singapore. “Healthcare in this component of the environment is seriously at a tipping place,” Kapur states.
In Singapore and Malaysia—where the aged are largely cared for by loved ones associates, are living-in domestic assist, or attendants in nursing households or those contracted from brick-and-mortar agencies—Homage’s digital platform presents a market decentralized services in an progressively tech-savvy region. A report this 12 months by Bain observed far more people today in Southeast Asia began working with digital healthcare resources for the reason that of minimal accessibility to in-particular person appointments all through the pandemic. As with on line food items supply and fintech, quite a few continue on to use digital health care simply because of its convenience, the report included. “Consumer anticipations are switching a ton,” says Kapur. “For food items shipping and delivery and other expert services, you get nearly fast obtain. But there’s stress with healthcare.”
Homage is hoping to address that difficulty by enabling families to retain the services of aspect- and comprehensive-time caregivers for durations ranging from a person hour to adaptable pay as you go offers of up to 200 hours that it offers at posted rates. Its application has in excess of 15,000 downloads on the Google Participate in keep and the enterprise statements to have supplied more than 1 million several hours of assistance to shoppers. Compared with Singapore’s Health care provider Anywhere—a well-liked telemedicine application with more than a million downloads in Southeast Asia that promises video consultation with a doctor in underneath five minutes—Homage states it can arrange such digital appointments in 30 minutes, in addition residence calls within a working day. It sends caregivers in two days.
“During the pandemic, we observed that quite a few stroke patients expected telemedicine products and services,” states Tee. “So, we have [telemedicine], which is an ancillary mainly because it adds to the effectively-becoming of sufferers.” Homage’s transfer into advertising health care and health care goods these as blood pressure monitors is intended to also serve a want. “We will constantly focus [on] the care receiver,” she suggests. “For case in point, what does a stroke affected individual require? We will always appear at what can be a superior solution for the affected person.”
“I genuinely considered in the concept of accomplishing effectively by undertaking fantastic.”
Tee’s also been chaotic increasing money. There was an undisclosed “double-digit” sequence B spherical in January 2020, led by EV Advancement, a joint undertaking concerning Southeast Asia-targeted East Ventures, YJ Cash (a subsidiary of SoftBank-backed Z Holdings, now component of its company venture capital arm Z Undertaking Funds) and SMDV, backed by the billionaire Widjaja family’s Sinar Mas conglomerate in Indonesia. That followed a $4.15 million collection A funding in 2018, led by Golden Gate Ventures and HealthXCapital.
In September last 12 months, the company concluded a $30 million series C spherical, led by Temasek’s Sheares Healthcare, which invests in and supplies healthcare companies in Asia. Homage suggests the funds will be applied to scale up its platform and double down on its overseas operations in Malaysia and Australia, which are its key growth motorists. Having said that, Homage may perhaps be hitting speed bumps. In late Oct, a spokesperson for Homage explained the business “is earning a couple of important strategic improvements in response to the macro setting,” later adding all those adjustments are in relation to its Australian expansion ideas. When questioned to clarify, the spokesperson did not reply.
To maintain Homage on a expansion trajectory, Tee will have to get over refreshing issues of an unsure financial natural environment and recruiting healthcare pros rapid enough from a dwindling talent pool. “We’re not doubling nursing educational institutions every single yr,” she suggests. “So [supply] is linear, but the desire is escalating exponentially for the reason that of the growing old population.”
The lack of caregivers for the aged is specially acute in Australia, Homage’s newest current market. “The pandemic has escalated burnout and decreased retention rates,” claims Sharon Hakkennes, vice president analyst at Gartner’s health care follow. “Clinicians are leaving the occupation.” Australia’s aged treatment sector could facial area a lack of at minimum 110,000 employees in the future 10 years, in accordance to a 2021 report by the Committee for Financial Progress of Australia, a nonprofit corporation.
Hakkennes states electronic systems such as Homage’s system can enable relieve the shortage by allowing for health care specialists to obtain and handle clients additional competently. “[Digital technology] is heading to allow scale,” she suggests. “And when we’re struggling with the clinical workforce, that’s going to be essential.” Besides enabling aged treatment facilities to faucet into a “vetted pool of accredited care pros,” Homage claims on its Australian site that its platform allows people from diverse backgrounds to obtain caregivers who can speak 93 languages, like indicator language.
In the meantime, Tee is executing all she can to incentivize health care professionals to be a part of her company’s system. In March 2020, Homage partnered with Singapore-primarily based coverage technology organization Gigacover to provide health care gains to all its health care pros and their dependents. A thirty day period afterwards, Homage introduced a fund to provide them with economical assistance all through the peak of the pandemic. “Our care pros are our primary clients—they are our treatment recipients, if you want to set it that way,” states Tee. “We ought to consider treatment of them. Why? So that they can just take care of other individuals.”