January 29, 2023

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

As Asian populations improve more mature, Homage CEO Gillian Tee is expanding the digital platform’s pool of caregivers, nurses and doctors to meet rising demand.


Gillian Tee was 10 when the aged nanny who served elevate her handed absent from most cancers. That working experience, and a shut bond with her grandmother, created Tee knowledgeable of the day by day enable needed by several seniors, and the struggle households facial area in getting qualified care. Over two decades afterwards she cofounded Singapore-based mostly Homage, which currently statements to have the most important pool of caregivers in the metropolis-point out that people can employ by an application.

“I imagine most people today in healthcare startups begin in the industry because they experienced some personalized ordeals,” claims the 40-yr-outdated CEO by movie. The pc science graduate (College of Melbourne) bought her first flavor of managing a company following receiving an M.B.A. from Columbia University. In 2012, she cofounded New York-centered ticket scheduling system Rocketrip. A couple of many years later she moved back to Singapore to be closer to relatives, in which she saw an option to marry electronic technology with household-dependent care services. “I seriously believed in the idea of accomplishing well by performing great,” she suggests of her choice to start out Homage with cofounders Lily Phang and Tong Duong, who have considering the fact that still left the business.

Since launching in 2016, Homage has developed to 15,000 part- and full-time caregivers, expanded to Malaysia and Australia, and raised additional than $45 million in funding from traders together with Sheares Healthcare Team, owned by Singapore condition fund Temasek, and Southeast Asia-centered Golden Gate Ventures.

The company’s shift into Malaysia in 2018 served strengthen income by 170% to S$1.8 million ($1.3 million) in 2020, whilst losses narrowed to S$4.8 million from S$5.8 million, according to the most recent readily available figures. Tee states product sales more than tripled past calendar year and intercontinental revenues grew eightfold in the earlier 18 months, adhering to the company’s expansion into Australia in 2021.

Homage, which designed the 100 to Enjoy listing this yr, has also diversified outside of caregiving to contain companies such as telemedicine, medicine delivery and the sale of health-related products. Tee is now focused on tackling the challenge of keeping up with desire for care as Asia ages. In Singapore, governing administration figures present the range of persons aged 65 or more than manufactured up virtually 17% of its resident inhabitants in 2022.

Need for skilled caregivers is expanding steadily not just in Singapore, but throughout the Asia-Pacific, household to some of the world’s oldest and swiftest getting older populations. In the up coming 10 years, the location will account for 60% of the world’s more than-65 populace and will also have 250 million diabetics, according to Vikram Kapur, spouse and head of Asia-Pacific healthcare at consultancy Bain & Co. in Singapore. “Healthcare in this aspect of the planet is seriously at a tipping position,” Kapur suggests.

In Singapore and Malaysia—where the aged are generally cared for by household users, stay-in domestic support, or attendants in nursing households or those people contracted from brick-and-mortar agencies—Homage’s electronic system gives a specialized niche decentralized support in an significantly tech-savvy location. A report this 12 months by Bain discovered a lot more persons in Southeast Asia commenced applying electronic healthcare tools because of limited accessibility to in-man or woman appointments during the pandemic. As with on-line foods shipping and fintech, lots of continue on to use electronic healthcare simply because of its ease, the report included. “Consumer expectations are shifting a lot,” suggests Kapur. “For food delivery and other products and services, you get nearly fast accessibility. But there is stress with healthcare.”

Homage is striving to resolve that challenge by enabling family members to seek the services of element- and complete-time caregivers for periods ranging from one particular hour to versatile prepaid packages of up to 200 hrs that it delivers at released prices. Its application has above 15,000 downloads on the Google Participate in retailer and the corporation claims to have provided a lot more than 1 million hours of provider to consumers. In comparison with Singapore’s Medical professional Anywhere—a well-liked telemedicine application with in excess of a million downloads in Southeast Asia that guarantees movie session with a health care provider in less than 5 minutes—Homage claims it can prepare these kinds of digital appointments inside 30 minutes, additionally residence calls inside of a working day. It sends caregivers within two times.

“During the pandemic, we identified that several stroke sufferers needed telemedicine providers,” says Tee. “So, we have [telemedicine], which is an ancillary because it adds to the perfectly-becoming of patients.” Homage’s shift into advertising health-related and healthcare merchandise this kind of as blood stress screens is meant to also provide a have to have. “We will always concentration [on] the care recipient,” she claims. “For instance, what does a stroke individual need? We will constantly seem at what can be a superior solution for the affected individual.”

“I definitely considered in the strategy of undertaking perfectly by performing fantastic.”

Gillian Tee, CEO of Homage

Tee’s also been hectic elevating cash. There was an undisclosed “double-digit” collection B spherical in January 2020, led by EV Growth, a joint enterprise between Southeast Asia-centered East Ventures, YJ Funds (a subsidiary of SoftBank-backed Z Holdings, now section of its company venture capital arm Z Venture Capital) and SMDV, backed by the billionaire Widjaja family’s Sinar Mas conglomerate in Indonesia. That followed a $4.15 million sequence A funding in 2018, led by Golden Gate Ventures and HealthXCapital.

In September past year, the corporation accomplished a $30 million collection C spherical, led by Temasek’s Sheares Healthcare, which invests in and offers healthcare solutions in Asia. Homage suggests the money will be utilised to scale up its platform and double down on its overseas functions in Malaysia and Australia, which are its vital growth drivers. On the other hand, Homage may well be hitting speed bumps. In late Oct, a spokesperson for Homage reported the corporation “is earning a number of important strategic alterations in reaction to the macro surroundings,” later on including all those changes are in relation to its Australian expansion designs. When questioned to clarify, the spokesperson did not answer.

To hold Homage on a development trajectory, Tee must get over clean issues of an unsure financial ecosystem and recruiting health care experts fast sufficient from a dwindling expertise pool. “We’re not doubling nursing schools each year,” she claims. “So [supply] is linear, but the desire is expanding exponentially simply because of the growing older inhabitants.”

The shortage of caregivers for the aged is especially acute in Australia, Homage’s most recent market place. “The pandemic has escalated burnout and reduced retention charges,” claims Sharon Hakkennes, vice president analyst at Gartner’s healthcare apply. “Clinicians are leaving the profession.” Australia’s aged care sector could facial area a shortage of at the very least 110,000 employees in the up coming decade, according to a 2021 report by the Committee for Financial Improvement of Australia, a nonprofit organization.

Hakkennes claims electronic technologies this kind of as Homage’s platform can assistance reduce the scarcity by letting healthcare experts to access and deal with individuals a lot more effectively. “[Digital technology] is going to enable scale,” she says. “And when we’re struggling with the scientific workforce, which is going to be vital.” In addition to enabling aged treatment facilities to faucet into a “vetted pool of certified care experts,” Homage claims on its Australian web site that its platform allows users from varied backgrounds to accessibility caregivers who can talk 93 languages, such as indicator language.

Meanwhile, Tee is performing all she can to incentivize health care gurus to be part of her company’s platform. In March 2020, Homage partnered with Singapore-based mostly coverage engineering organization Gigacover to offer health care advantages to all its healthcare professionals and their dependents. A thirty day period later, Homage launched a fund to offer them with financial guidance for the duration of the peak of the pandemic. “Our treatment gurus are our key clients—they are our treatment recipients, if you want to set it that way,” says Tee. “We must get treatment of them. Why? So that they can get care of other people today.”

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