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The AIA Accelerator programme is an initiative to help entrepreneurs develop smart business ideas related to healthcare.
The AIA Accelerator programme is an initiative to help entrepreneurs develop smart business ideas related to healthcare.
AIA Group Limited recently launched the second phase of AIA Accelerator 2.0, a 12-week program to support innovative businesses in the healthcare sector.
The first program was introduced in late 2014 and has garnered widespread attention within the investor community. Of the eight start-ups that participated in the inaugural program, all successfully met investors and progressed funding conversations with a majority closing funding rounds within the 30 days following the demo day. The innovative ideas of the start-ups focused on such diverse areas as biotech, wearables, genomics and applied wellness regimens.
Ten start-ups have been again selected to join the AIA Accelerator 2.0, which has started on 16 November 2015 and will conclude with an invite only Investor Demo Day in March 2016.
The program is a collaborative effort between AIA and Nest and aims to create opportunities for innovators to shape the future of insurance and healthcare industries. It brings together domain expert providers as co-sponsors, including KPMG, Microsoft, Amazon, InvestHK, Ovolo and HKSTP (for the 1st programme only) to create a holistic ecosystem to accelerate the selected start-ups.
The 12 week programmme leverages the AIA, Nest, and KPMG networks, with participants benefiting from the knowledge and expertise of key industry leaders and renowned entrepreneurs. The mentors also offer access to a wider network of contacts that would help accelerate a company’s development
As part of the programmme, AIA is on the lookout for technology-focused start-ups with a passion for innovation and creativity, who share AIA’s revolutionary vision to take healthcare into a new dimension.
The first programmme was concluded in June and all eight participants successfully met investors and progressed funding conversations with a majority closing funding rounds within the 30 days following the demo day. The innovative ideas of the start-ups focused on such diverse areas as biotech, wearables, genomics and applied wellness regimens.
Mark Tucker, Group Chief Executive and President of AIA
Mark Tucker, Group Chief Executive and President of AIA said, “In only 12 weeks, the start-ups progressed from ideas to prototypes, and from prototypes to products that are commercially viable. They have raised funds, signed partnerships and some have even taken steps to expand internationally. Good ideas need resources to become reality, and the AIA Accelerator programme has provided support to entrepreneurs who have demonstrated passion and expertise towards helping improve peoples’ lives, now and into the future.”
Steve Monaghan, Head of Edge, AIA Innovation team
“We are looking for innovative solutions and providers who focus on new ways to improve and maintain health, reward people for embracing a healthier lifestyle and help people make informed choices. Health is an area where customer needs and commercial incentives align perfectly. People today are returning to the age-old wisdom of healthy, wealthy and wise,” said Steve Monaghan, Head of AIA Edge.
Following the success of the first programme, applications have been received and assessed for the second programme, which will be delivered from 16 November 2015 to 8 March 2016.
1. Successful applicants receive mentorship from specialists in wearable healthcare, technology, go-to-market and start-ups
2. Shortlisted teams gain unprecedented access to this unique accelerator and benefit from:
a. dedicated support from the AIA Team
b. access to Nest & KPMG’s key expertise in marketing, strategy, funding and networks
c. mentorship from relevant industry experts from KPMG across business, healthcare and technology
d. Opportunity to receive extended backing from Nest and AIA.
3. It is an innovative programme that can bring new ideas to the business, and new opportunities for the organisation to invest into innovative thinking and partnerships
The 1st AIA Accelerator founders
Sensor-embedded ankle sleeves
Soft wearable sensing technology for medical, healthcare industry
Wearable device for the elderly
Hearing enhancement technology
Portable rapid diagnostic platform with Lab-On-Chips technology
Data analytics in health monitoring
3D imaging weighing scale
Next generation DNA testing
The AIA Accelerator programme is an initiative to help entrepreneurs develop smart business ideas related to healthcare. AIA Group COO, Simeon Preston and AIA Innovation Edge Team Lead, Steve Monaghan, sat down to answer questions about the future of healthcare, the tremendous potential of innovative technology and how we have learned from the programme.
Question: How has innovation changed healthcare?
Steve: The most profound change is the democratisation of healthcare. Because of all the amazing technological change emerging right now we are seeing a power shift from the healthcare industry as a whole towards the individual. So they may more actively participate in their healthcare while making it more affordable, accessible and understandable.
Question: What kinds of technologies are aiding the democratisation of healthcare?
Simeon: The fact that technology is getting smaller and more affordable is a big contributor to this development. You are now able to install tiny powerful devices into all aspects of healthcare. This can be a sensor in someone’s body or wearable tracking devices like a watch or a patch applied directly on the skin. Such miniaturisation can revolutionise how treatment is delivered, where it is delivered and to whom.
Steve: Affordable screening technologies are now entering the hands of the consumers. They enable people to engage in informed dialogue about their health, rather than exclusively depending on third party opinion if they get sick. We have for example seen emerging tools for self-screening that may prevent an unnecessary trip to the hospital or a clinic, which cost both time and money. Or they may enable a more informed discussion with healthcare professionals.
Question: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry?
“Focus on empowering consumers to engage in informed dialogue with their professional care network.”
Steve: They should focus on empowering consumers to take an active role in their health, whether it is screening, care or treatment. If you look at how we approached innovation in years past, we were very much focused on technology. Now the consumer is at the center of everything we do and technology is just a means to execute our ideas.
Simeon: When shaping their ideas they should focus on improving three things: quality, access and cost. By creating solutions that focus on these three factors you are doing a lot more than helping individuals. You are changing the dynamics of society, enabling access to quality healthcare that is not yet available in many markets today.
Question: How has this come to play in the AIA Accelerator programme?
Simeon: Most of our participants were driven by real human issues. It is incredibly refreshing to work with people that are driven by that instead of purely financial motives. One of our participants had a grandmother who fell and passed away. He is now developing a sensor that detects when someone falls and can’t get up. And all three participants working on a tool to detect cardiac arrest have relatives with heart disease.
“It is incredibly refreshing to work with people that are driven by that [real human issues] instead of purely financial motives.”
Question: How has the programme impacted AIA?
Simeon: We have been able to work closely with entrepreneurs and learn how they remain agile and what is driving their innovation. I would recommend any large corporation to do this once in a while to get new and fresh perspectives on the key issues in their industry.
Steve: The passion and drive we saw in play was amazing. These guys are personally very motivated to change the world and inspiring large companies like ours to do the same.
Simon Squibb, CEO, NEST Investments
Nest is the leading full-service innovation accelerator platform in Hong Kong with offices around the globe including New York, London, Shanghai, Singapore, San Francisco and Nairobi.
Simon Squibb, CEO, NEST Investments said, “Entrepreneurs often try to develop solutions to problems that are most relevant to their daily lives. Since healthcare and lifestyle are big on the priority list for people in Asia, we believe startups in this region are particularly well-placed to disrupt the future of industries like healthcare and insurance.”
Question: How did the 1st AIA accelerator go?
We are delighted with how well our first cohort of the AIA Accelerator has been received by investors and the wider start-up community. Not only did AIA give these eight start-ups access to new clients and great minds from within the business, but they also helped connect them to partners, strategic investors, and potential acquirers. Each of these businesses has emerged from the Accelerator having received support that money cannot buy. With the healthcare and wellness space evolving so rapidly, we are delighted to announce the second phase of the AIA Accelerator so we can continue to support companies at the forefront of healthcare technology.
Question: How does the Accelerator work?
The Accelerator Programme is a mentor-driven, 12-week intensive session designed to propel early stage startups toward pre-Accelerator or Accelerator round funding.
It is a low risk, 3rd party executed innovation programme that can bring new ideas to the business, and new opportunities for the organisation to invest into innovative thinking and partnerships.
The AIA accelerator programme, will look to solve all sorts of problems faced by folks in the wearable technology and healthcare sector, ranging from marketing woes to production issues to difficulty securing funding for scaling purposes.
Question: Is it designed to bring in foreign companies as well?
It’s open to Hong Kong startups as well as regional startups. All are welcome to apply! We will be promoting this across the region and so it’s not restricting to any one market. We are expecting thousands of applications, so we know it might be harder to get into our programme than it is to get into Harvard, but once in the programme, they will get support some startups can only dream of.
Question: How do you select the founders?
The criteria for selecting the eight startups is simple: the entrepreneurs should be passionate about improving lives through medical, lifestyle and health monitoring technologies, and “believe they can bring in a new era of healthtech innovation. The idea can be B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer) and we need people to bring passion and focus to the table. We will bring a huge helping hand with this platform.
Egidio Zarrella Clients and Innovation Partner, KPMG China
Question: What is KPMG’s role as sponsor of the AIA accelerator?
KPMG, as the key partner, is providing support over programme management and execution. KPMG’s mentors are providing feedback and support to the shortlisted founders, through 1-1 mentoring sessions, workshops and speaker series presentations.
KPMG is providing a team of dedicated mentors with extensive experience in working with global technology companies, across many different competencies, including corporate finance, tax, data & analytics, people & change and innovation.
The panel of KPMG mentors offer knowledge and expertise of the industry and provide ongoing guidance for start-ups to nurture and grow their innovation. Our mentors have continued to support the start-up teams in ensuring their products and propositions are commercially viable, and aligned with the sponsor’s innovation focus.
Generating insights into the impact of innovation, we can advise on how to unlock the value of these start-ups for sponsors to avoid being disrupted.
Question: Is Hong-Kong a place for entrepreneurs?
Hong Kong is well placed to be a major startup center. As one of the world’s leading financial and trade centres, it possesses many of the important preconditions for being an innovation hub. Technological advances have opened up alternatives to many traditional ways in which financial services and all industries are provided. Investment by both the government and the private sector in tech startups, incubation and accelerator facilities is encouraging new firms to establish themselves and test new ideas.
There is a growing and now vibrant start-up and entrepreneurial community in Hong-Kong. Angel, venture capital, private equity and other investors are starting to take stock of what is happening here. It is still early days, but it bodes well for the future if Hong Kong can continue to provide energy and passion to growing this future platform for transformation and change.
KPMG’s High Growth Technology and Innovation Group started in Silicon Valley, now we are in London & Hong Kong… and wherever the next start-up ecosystem is going to emerge. In Hong Kong and China, we have noticed a wave of activity in the market helping start-ups with their funding or helping them grow their business.
KPMG China has been in the middle of a thriving start-up eco-system, hosting a number of events including the Changing Face of Commerce series and Global FinTech Forum.
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