Day two of the Startup Launchpad Tradeshow and Conference got off to a bustling start. Aisles were packed with buyers from all corners of the globe. Some were returning regulars who come to the show year after year, drawn back by the wide range of new hardware on offer. Others were discovering Startup Launchpad for the first time. Whether seasoned show veterans or newcomers, the startup exhibitors had something for all of them, offering products for sourcing needs of all kinds.
Illustrative of the wide variety of hardware technology available were the product demos held in the morning by Startup Launchpad exhibitors, including Roopto, MysteryVibe, Lovenuts, defiderm and CloudMile. They showed off their newest products, catering to a wide range of consumers with solutions to a diversity of challenges.
Buyers including Be8ta came to the buyer’s corner to hold meetings with startups, talking sourcing, customization and potential deals. Throughout both phases of the tradeshow, Startup Launchpad will be offering a VIP buyer’s corner where Startup Launchpad curates and facilitates meetings with startups for buyers, as well as a public buyer corner where buyers can reserve a space for conducting meetings with startups they’ve discovered at the show. Reservations can be made in Hall 11 at the Buyer’s Corner front desk.
The Startup Launchpad’s Exhibitor Awards ceremony was held in the afternoon, with the winners for Best Design, Best Technology and Best Problem Solver given their certificates by Startup Launchpad Head Ben Wong. You can see the full list of winners and their booth numbers in our day one recap.)
Following lunch, Startup Launchpad progressed into the second day of its talk, with experts talking about healthcare and medical technology startups.
Mike Bellamy, Founder of PassageMaker Group, discussed sourcing in China in relation to product production and sourcing in China.
Bellamy’s top suggestions for avoiding scams: don’t be seduced by low price, ask for references, link performance to payments, know exactly who are you paying, check supplier blacklists and verify the verifications.
He said that it’s key to ensure you have a contract with the same people you’re paying, strongly suggesting to have a legal document that’s bilingual and lists the place of arbitration as the same province in China as the supplier.
“I’ve met so many people who only have a contract with a company in its English name which isn’t going to do them any good if there’s a problem,” he said.
Ensuring that the factory genuinely has the certifications and capabilities it says it has is key he said. Making sure they have a clear understanding of your production requirements is key he said, especially when it comes to medical devices which could result in serious potential harm if not made correctly.
“Make sure your quality requirements are understood by the supplier,” Bellamy said. “If someone gets hurt by your product they’re not going to sue a supplier in China they’re going to sue you.”
Bellamy also said there’s a big difference between “Can you make this?” and “Have you made this?” advising startups not to ask suppliers if they can make something but ask them if they have actually made it before and asking to see it.
He advised the audience to register their brands in China before showing any suppliers sensitive product information since China is first to register not first to market in its enforcement of intellectual property and to use dummy stand-in products to show suppliers when evaluating them. He also suggested a balance approach when startups have finally engaged a supplier to produce a product for them.
“I’ve learned is you need a balance of relationship, monitoring and contracts,” he said. “Previously people said we’ll just have a good relationship, or we’ll just have a contract to force them to do what they want, or we can just keep a close eye on them. Each of those three methods on their own are all wrong. You need to have a balance of all three.”
Next, Rehab Robotics discussed its development of its Hand of Hope robotic system that uses the residual signals from stroke patients to help them improve their use of their hands through electronic physical therapy.
They created a game that can make active, repeated muscle exercises more engaging and fun for patients without requiring an in-person therapist to oversee it.
The Rehab Robotics representative said it is currently being use by Hong Kong hospitals to help recovery patients and that Hand of Hope is looking to make it further available for other in-home care providers and patients who have transitioned out of hospitals through a rental program.
Brinc.io’s Bay McLaughlin then talked about how startup medical testing and technology will put power in patient’s hands to engage in active, data-driven monitoring of their own health.
He said people often put off going to the doctor until something is already seriously wrong, providing doctors with little medical history background and then demanding them to address their pain and provide pills which are often only partially effective.
Through a combination of genetic testing to detect predisposition to specific medical problems and preventative or measuring medical technology like glucose monitors, individuals can take more active control and responsibility of their health, he said.
“Is it your doctor’s job to know when you’re sitting at home that these early indications are happening or is it yours?” McLaughlin asked the audience.
By taking daily measurements through medical technology, people can then have a baseline of data for their body, which will then allow them to more easily notice when something goes wrong and provide a stronger foundation of data for doctors to base their care on.
He discussed his own efforts to monitor and document his medical data, getting his genome sequenced and doing daily monitoring of his blood.
“I now have a data set over years so when the science does catch up, I’ll have the set, I’ll be ready,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin discussed how medical technology including making identical copies of patient’s cells and testing different treatment methods on them to see their response and determine the best medical approach before implementing it on the actual patient will allow doctors to engage in more precise and effective care, he said.
He projected that in the future medical providers would require patients to provide their genome information in order to provide treatment. McLaughlin also predicted the continued growth of telemedicine, saying he believes more insurance providers would begin to include it in coverage plans as well.
Marie-Claire Slama of AIA discussed some of the medical technology startups AIA has been working with as part of its AIA accelerator program including:
1. Simple Wearables, a wearable monitor that can help ensure elderly patients can get immediate medical attention if they fall, notifying long distance loved ones and emergency services when a person falls.
2. Heartisans, an analytics service for health big data, with the capability of predicting cardiac arrest up to 10 minutes in advance and detecting hidden heart disease.
3. ShapeScale, a scanner that creates 3D photorealistic body scans that allows consumers to track changes in their body via heat map and assists them in their health goals.
4. Novus, a sign language to written text translator to help those who are deaf or hearing impaired more easily communicate with others.
5. Kuai Wera, a wearable coach that guides users in their fitness goals.
6. Medexo, a robotics wearable for Parkinson’s patients that can detect a tremor and help minimize it.
7. Darma, a smart cushion that tracks inactivity and helps users improve their sitting posture and helps users track and make improvements to their activity levels and mental health.
8. Uhoo, an air quality sensor that detects allergens and toxins.
Slama made some predictions about the future for medical hardware technology. She said fitness trackers in different forms like rings would become more available in the market. Pregnancy technology, such as devices that help track contractions, would also continue to make gains in popularity, she said.
Monitors like wearable ECGs, glucose monitors and devices that help monitor and address chronic conditions will also be in high demand, Slama said, especially as issues like diabetes and lung health are of increasing concern in China and other countries in Asia. Data-streaming implants and medical imaging AI will also be major product presences in the medical hardware sector, she said.
Finally, Nishtha Mehta, Founder of CollabCentral, shared her insights on medical startup trends and offered recommendations for those considering beginning their own medical startups.
Demand for care outstripping supply is resulting in increased prices, much of it driven by chronic illnesses, Mehta said, with health spending increasing at approximately 5.2 percent a year.
She said many startups are focusing on hospitals and healthcare systems as well as community based remote care in need of low-cost effective solutions. Remote care and monitoring will continue to increase in demand, she said, as more patients need assistance in gaining access to care. Telecare, devices that assist in pregnancy and child healthcare and devices that help track and manage chronic conditions will have substantial demand and growth in the coming years, Mehta predicted.
The two main spheres for medical startup technology consist of personalized preventative care and treatment, she said. Mehta said it was important for startups to know their strengths and specialties when deciding which sphere to engage in. Preventative care offers a lot of potential for startups to capitalize on, she said.
In addition to knowing their strengths, staying in touch with stakeholders, including patients, doctors and care givers is essential for feature improvement and growth, she said. Some startups have a tendency to stay in their own startup sphere which cuts them off from the people they are trying to serve, resulting in them over-emphasizing features instead of ensuring they are actually providing a real solution to a problem, she said.
Choosing the right team is essential to medical hardware startup success, Mehta said. Bringing in experts with medical credentials and a range of clinical experiences will help ensure a startup’s product is effective and does not fail miserably, she said. Startups in the medical area also need to convey how they plan to grow, ensuring their devices aren’t used for a month than abandoned forever by users.
“A lot of people who have amazing products, they focus on the features and how they make money,” she said. “I hear few people who talk about how to grow the user base.”
Offering analytics that provide actionable information is one of the ways to ensure users remain engaged and loyal to your product, she said.
“You need to understand that when you are only getting new users who use your product for one month and don’t use it again, it’s a problem,” Mehta said. “That’s why you need data and analytics. If you don’t do data, you should probably wind up your startup now.”
Hardware startups can focus on subscription fees, added-value services, freemium with hardware-software integrations, or refillable consumables to ensure they can continue to generate revenue, she said.
The conference provided a highly informative end to a bustling and productive day at Startup Launchpad. For day three of the show, Startup Launchpad will have more product demos and unveilings, the buyer’s corner and we’ll be discussing smart living with experts at our conference. Haven’t made it to the show yet? There’s still time. Get your tickets here.