Particularly for healthcare which can get uncomfortable at times, nothing beats the comfort of being at home – this is where start-up Jaga-Me comes in.
Jaga-Me is a digital healthcare company which seeks to smoothen out the user experience of healthcare by connecting healthcare professionals with patients, so that they can receive quality healthcare at home.Collaborating with over 20 different healthcare institutions, Jaga-Me has served over 660 patients and avoided 1,000 clinical admissions in the past 2 years. Co-founder Julian Koo shares more about his aspirations in our quick chat with him!
1. What inspired you to start Jaga-Me?
Engineering and innovation has always been part of my life’s interest and career – I’m constantly thinking of how to innovate good for others. For example, I’ve had experience building clean technologies to help people and the environment. I was also exposed to the healthcare industry while doing my thesis, which involved developing software tools to aid the precision of surgeons in the National University Hospital.
Later, through volunteer work with elderly with limited mobility, I gained a deeper and more personal understanding of the difficulties older people faced in getting the care that they needed. It was then when I recognized the need to build a ‘bridge’ to alleviate this situation through technology. Technology has enabled immense benefits to younger, internet-enabled people, but not so much to older people who lack access to a basic necessity like healthcare.
2. What is your most empowering story in Jaga-Me?
Recently, one of our clients’ daughter called me. Her father was a beneficiary of Project Going Home, a programme with support by Singtel and HCA Hospice Care, that provided free home nursing care for patients on their final journey who wished to go home. She shared that her father was really happy when he got home, because he thought it was going to be too expensive to go home but was relieved that it was all covered. She also shared that he reminded she had to give back for the kindness he received. This reciprocity and pay-it-forward mentality drives Jaga-Me forward the most and constantly reminds us of why we do what we do; to ensure we create meaningful experiences for the families we help.
3. If you hadn't started Jaga-Me, what would you be doing today?
My personal mission has always been to use innovation to bring value to people. I started my career in the USA in innovation consulting, where my team and I built new products and technologies for big brands like Disney. Upon returning to Singapore, I applied my passion for innovation to national development at the Economic Development Board (EDB) to create new industries for the country based on disruptive technology trends. I love the impact and meaning of our work at EDB, and I would certainly continue serving society, whether from inside or outside the public service.
4. So, what keeps you going today?
Being able to design better care for the patients of Jaga-Me and that of our partners, and to ease pain points in their healthcare journey. At the same time, helping to create timeless memories for our patients’ families by enabling access to quality health care in a dignified and empowering manner – that’s what keeps me going every day.
5. What advice would you give to those considering to start a social enterprise?
Think big, dream big but stay grounded. You need to have a vision for what value you’re going to create for society and stakeholders – whether beneficiaries, shareholders, partners or employees. You need to know what impact you want to have 10, 20 or 30 years from now, then use that as a goal to strive towards.
And don’t be too focused on just one beneficiary or a narrow set of beneficiaries. Think of how to scale as well. Always remember that you can’t just build a sustainable social enterprise around one beneficiary. Long term sustainability is how impact enterprises can amplify and extend their value to society.