On May 21, POSCO hosted the 17th Idea Market Place (IMP), a unique program that offers a nurturing growth opportunity for startups. POSCO has been hosting this bi-annual event since 2011 discovering 173 distinguished startups thus far – 87 of which the company made direct investments of 14.2 billion KRW.
During the event, 16 startups exhibited their prototype products and presented their business plans – these companies had been shortlisted by POSCO last February. Since February, the companies had been perfecting their products and business plans through 1:1 coaching and mentoring sessions.
Health and Medicine, a self-proclaimed ‘pet tech startup’, took home the ‘Best Idea Award’ amongst the 16 shortlisted contenders. POSCO Newsroom sat down with the CEO of Health and Medicine and discussed the company’s journey through the process.
l Veterinarian Surgeon for 20 Years, Now a CEO of ‘Pet Tech’ Startup
Q: Congratulations on receiving the ‘Best Idea Award’ at POSCO’s 17th Idea Market Place. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your company, Health and Medicine.
A: Thank you. My name is Hyun-Wook Kim – my company, Health and Medicine, is what we call a “Pet Tech (Pet + Technology)” startup. We are all about taking care of companion animals with proper medicine and health regimen. We identified a role technology can play in improving the current animal health care system. We want contribute so that both the animals and their human companions can live healthy and happy lives together.
Q: Where did you get the idea for your company, Health and Medicine?
A: I am a veterinarian. I opened my practice back in 2000 and have been taking care of animals for almost 20 years. Over the years, I believe the general awareness of animal care has definitely matured. What I’ve become acutely aware during my practice is how technology can help advance animal welfare. I come from a family of veterinarians. There are six vets in my extended family whose work ranges from clinical practice, digital medicine, to startups. This allows us to bounce ideas off of each other. We had many opportunities to collaborate, and this was a major catalyst to start my own company.
Q: What was your expectation coming into the IMP, and what do you think helped ‘Health and Medicine’ become the winner of the ‘Best Idea Award’?
A: The idea we entered for POSCO’s IMP was VACE (Veterinary + ACE). It’s a web-based EMR (Electronic Medical Record) service. The number of companion animals in Korea surpassed 10 million –we used to call them pets in the past, but these days, they are our companion animals, especially cats and dogs. There is an added demand for proper medical care for these new human companions.
Nowadays, most vets are familiar with electronic charts. There is a program to run these electrical charts. To install and run the program, however, we need a computer, which is incredibly inconvenient for the practice. Through VACE, we demonstrated how we could help improve the current electronic chart system. VACE can also help standardize medical information, guarantee open access through the cloud. What really worked for the IMP was our ability to draw a specific picture of how cutting-edge technology can transform the landscape of current veterinary practice
<‘VACE’ Simulation (in Korean)>
l Towards the Environment Where Animals Can Thrive
Q: What sets your company apart from others in the current industry?
A: Exclusively from a technological perspective, our system is capable of standardizing and analyzing animals’ bio-data and medical records. We also have an EMR solution system as well as a medical monitoring system for animals. Health and Medicine provide more convenient EMR system, but ultimately we aspire to establish a holistic solution for a veterinary practice – from distribution, accounting to human resources.
If we can bring innovation to the current labor-intensive veterinary practice where data sharing and analysis are more readily available, we can help alleviate the workload for the medical professionals so that they can solely focus on the job they are called to do.
Q: How would this help improve the daily practice of the veterinarians?
A: The current EMR system requires installing a program in all the computers in the clinic, whereas the web-based electronic chart we provide can be accessed from anywhere – from smartphones, tablet PCs as well as from desktop computers. Such a wider application and accessibility simplifies the tasks for medical professionals as they can access and record medical information from various devices. Free from distraction, they can solely focus on taking care of animals.
Q: And for the owners?
A: Imaging having to change a doctor for your animals, be it emergency or else. Currently, medical records are not shared across animal clinics, making it difficult for vets to make an accurate diagnosis. With our web-based EMR, essential medical records are readily available, and inter-clinic data transfer is made simple. As a result, we can help establish a more convenient and better health care system for our animals.
Q: Quite an improvement from the current system, correct?
A: Oh yes. For animal welfare, regular check-ups and preventative care are crucial. Our EMR system enables just that. We can constantly communicate with the medical professionals on the conditions of our animals. Ultimately, such establishment can create an environment where animals can thrive – with their human companions.
l Animal Health Care, Synergistic Cooperation
Q: Where is Health and Medicine headed to, and how do you plan to achieve that vision?
A: Once we compile sufficient medical records, we want to venture into follow-up services like medical insurance for animals. We also want to help provide preventative care. Rather than competing in the existing market, we want to pioneer a new market. The ultimate goal is to establish a sustainable ecosystem for the mutual benefits of different industries.
Q: To that end, do you have any specific business ideas at the moment?
A: On top of VACE, which is a web-based animal care solution, we are thinking V2-Solution, a smart interactive solution designed exclusively for veterinary clinics. There is also ‘Weedle,’ which is a health and lifestyle service for both the animals and the owners.
What we showcased at the POSCO IMP, the next-generation EMR system, is slated to launch in Korea this October. It’s currently undergoing rigorous testing. We’ve been also preparing for the global launch, especially in Asia – Taiwan, China, and Japan. We have been networking with clinics across Asia for years.
Q: Please share memorable moments from the 17th Idea Market Place.
A: When I first workshopped the business idea, I realized I had to go back to the drawing board and start all over. It was three nights of non-stop research and analysis – feedback after feedback. This painful yet rewarding process gave me an opportunity to deliberate on the business model. It also clarified the vision of our company. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all my mentors, especially Do-Young Chang. I also want to thank everyone at the POSCO Venture Valley for their utmost support and encouragement.
Hyun-Wook Kim had been dedicating all his professional life to improve animal health care. Just three months after starting his company, Health and Medicine, his 20 years of dedication was rewarded at POSCO’s 17th Idea Market Place. POSCO applauds Kim’s persistence and endeavors to create a system that can help deepen animal-human companionship.