Singapore Caregiving Platform Homage Hustles To Keep Up With Demand For Care As Asia Ages

As Asian populations improve older, Homage CEO Gillian Tee is escalating the electronic platform’s pool of caregivers, nurses and doctors to meet up with increasing desire.


Gillian Tee was 10 when the aged nanny who helped increase her handed away from most cancers. That expertise, and a shut bond with her grandmother, manufactured Tee informed of the everyday support desired by many seniors, and the battle households encounter in getting capable treatment. In excess of two decades later she cofounded Singapore-based mostly Homage, which these days claims to have the most significant pool of caregivers in the city-condition that households can employ the service of by an application.

“I feel most folks in health care startups commence in the market mainly because they had some individual experiences,” states the 40-year-aged CEO by online video. The personal computer science graduate (College of Melbourne) bought her to start with style of working a enterprise soon after finding an M.B.A. from Columbia College. In 2012, she cofounded New York-dependent ticket reserving platform Rocketrip. A couple of decades later she moved again to Singapore to be nearer to spouse and children, where she noticed an opportunity to marry digital technological know-how with dwelling-based care expert services. “I actually believed in the idea of executing properly by performing good,” she claims of her choice to start Homage with cofounders Lily Phang and Tong Duong, who have considering that still left the corporation.

Considering that launching in 2016, Homage has grown to 15,000 section- and comprehensive-time caregivers, expanded to Malaysia and Australia, and lifted more than $45 million in funding from buyers like Sheares Healthcare Team, owned by Singapore point out fund Temasek, and Southeast Asia-concentrated Golden Gate Ventures.

The company’s go into Malaysia in 2018 assisted increase income by 170% to S$1.8 million ($1.3 million) in 2020, even though losses narrowed to S$4.8 million from S$5.8 million, in accordance to the most up-to-date readily available figures. Tee states income far more than tripled last yr and intercontinental revenues grew eightfold in the previous 18 months, next the company’s enlargement into Australia in 2021.

Homage, which produced the 100 to Look at checklist this 12 months, has also diversified past caregiving to incorporate solutions these as telemedicine, medication supply and the sale of medical goods. Tee is now targeted on tackling the challenge of retaining up with demand from customers for care as Asia ages. In Singapore, govt figures exhibit the number of people today aged 65 or in excess of created up virtually 17% of its resident populace in 2022.

Desire for skilled caregivers is increasing steadily not just in Singapore, but throughout the Asia-Pacific, dwelling to some of the world’s oldest and quickest getting old populations. In the up coming decade, the region will account for 60% of the world’s in excess of-65 population and will also have 250 million diabetics, according to Vikram Kapur, spouse and head of Asia-Pacific healthcare at consultancy Bain in Singapore. “Healthcare in this component of the planet is truly at a tipping issue,” Kapur states.

In Singapore and Malaysia—where the aged are largely cared for by household users, are living-in domestic support, or attendants in nursing properties or those people contracted from brick-and-mortar agencies—Homage’s electronic platform gives a market decentralized service in an progressively tech-savvy location. A report this year by Bain uncovered much more people today in Southeast Asia commenced employing electronic health care equipment because of constrained accessibility to in-man or woman appointments during the pandemic. As with on the internet food stuff shipping and delivery and fintech, lots of proceed to use digital health care due to the fact of its convenience, the report added. “Consumer expectations are altering a lot,” says Kapur. “For meals supply and other products and services, you get pretty much immediate obtain. But there’s disappointment with health care.”

Homage is hoping to fix that trouble by enabling family members to hire portion- and whole-time caregivers for periods ranging from a person hour to flexible prepaid packages of up to 200 several hours that it provides at released charges. Its application has about 15,000 downloads on the Google Perform store and the business claims to have offered extra than 1 million hrs of service to consumers. In comparison with Singapore’s Health care provider Anywhere—a popular telemedicine application with in excess of a million downloads in Southeast Asia that promises video clip consultation with a medical professional in under five minutes—Homage says it can arrange these types of virtual appointments in 30 minutes, as well as house calls in a day. It sends caregivers in just two times.

“During the pandemic, we observed that several stroke patients demanded telemedicine providers,” says Tee. “So, we have [telemedicine], which is an ancillary for the reason that it provides to the well-currently being of clients.” Homage’s shift into advertising healthcare and healthcare products such as blood stress displays is intended to also provide a need to have. “We will often target [on] the care recipient,” she states. “For case in point, what does a stroke affected individual need? We will always search at what can be a improved alternative for the affected individual.”

“I actually thought in the idea of accomplishing nicely by undertaking good.”

Gillian Tee, CEO of Homage

Tee’s also been occupied raising funds. There was an undisclosed “double-digit” collection B spherical in January 2020, led by EV Expansion, a joint venture concerning Southeast Asia-centered East Ventures, YJ Funds (a subsidiary of SoftBank-backed Z Holdings, now portion of its corporate undertaking capital arm Z Undertaking Money) and SMDV, backed by the billionaire Widjaja family’s Sinar Mas conglomerate in Indonesia. That followed a $4.15 million series A funding in 2018, led by Golden Gate Ventures and HealthXCapital.

In September past yr, the enterprise concluded a $30 million sequence C spherical, led by Temasek’s Sheares Health care, which invests in and delivers health care services in Asia. Homage says the money will be utilized to scale up its platform and double down on its overseas operations in Malaysia and Australia, which are its essential growth motorists. Having said that, Homage may possibly be hitting velocity bumps. In late Oct, a spokesperson for Homage explained the company “is building a several critical strategic alterations in response to the macro surroundings,” later including people improvements are in relation to its Australian growth ideas. When asked to clarify, the spokesperson did not reply.

To retain Homage on a expansion trajectory, Tee will have to conquer refreshing troubles of an uncertain financial ecosystem and recruiting health care gurus quickly plenty of from a dwindling expertise pool. “We’re not doubling nursing colleges each and every calendar year,” she claims. “So [supply] is linear, but the desire is expanding exponentially mainly because of the growing older inhabitants.”

The lack of caregivers for the aged is specially acute in Australia, Homage’s most recent market. “The pandemic has escalated burnout and lessened retention premiums,” suggests Sharon Hakkennes, vice president analyst at Gartner’s healthcare exercise. “Clinicians are leaving the occupation.” Australia’s aged care sector could facial area a lack of at minimum 110,000 staff in the up coming ten years, in accordance to a 2021 report by the Committee for Economic Progress of Australia, a nonprofit firm.

Hakkennes suggests electronic technologies such as Homage’s platform can aid reduce the scarcity by allowing health care specialists to accessibility and address individuals extra effectively. “[Digital technology] is heading to enable scale,” she claims. “And when we’re battling with the scientific workforce, that’s likely to be critical.” Moreover enabling aged care services to faucet into a “vetted pool of certified care gurus,” Homage claims on its Australian site that its platform enables buyers from varied backgrounds to accessibility caregivers who can talk 93 languages, including signal language.

Meanwhile, Tee is carrying out all she can to incentivize health care industry experts to join her company’s platform. In March 2020, Homage partnered with Singapore-dependent insurance policy technologies firm Gigacover to offer health care gains to all its healthcare specialists and their dependents. A month afterwards, Homage launched a fund to present them with financial guidance all through the peak of the pandemic. “Our treatment industry experts are our most important clients—they are our care recipients, if you want to set it that way,” says Tee. “We need to choose treatment of them. Why? So that they can get care of other people.”

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