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CEO of Singapore healthcare startup Homage shares top tips for success


After 15 years abroad, Singaporean businessman Gillian Tee decided to return home in 2016 to be closer to her family.

It’s what she calls “the perfect storm.”

Her three relatives are living with chronic illnesses and Tee quickly discovered the “pain points” of caring for individuals in need of specialized care.

“Suppose you fell and broke your hip, the pathology part is pretty obvious. You have to find specialists, you can go to… [a] Public hospital or private hospital,” said Tee.

“But what happens when you need to go back home, when you need to transition back to your community and your home, what’s the plan of care? The right thing to think about, in terms of proving home. home, what is a means of transportation?”

Homage offers a wide range of home care services, including assistance with daily living, nursing care and home therapy.

The respectation

That’s when she decided to start Homage, a company that combines patients in need of long-term home care with qualified caregivers.

Since 2017 when the company was founded, the startup has raised $45 million, she said, naming notable investors such as Golden Gate Ventures Sheares and Healthcare Group – a wholly-owned subsidiary. wholly owned by Temasek, as well as the early-stage venture company 500 Startups.

Homage is currently valued at more than $100 million, according to Tee.

But this is not the 40-year-old’s first foray into business. She used to be a management consultant for Voice mark when she came across a book that changed the course of her career.

“I started out as a software developer and I was very drawn to it because I love building things. But what really caught my eye was the concept of this app,” she said. CNBC Make It.

How do you use technology to build something that people can use and how does it affect their lives?

Gillian Tee

Co-Founder and CEO, Homage

She is referring to the book Founders at Work: The Story of the Early Dayswritten by Jessica Livingston, co-founder of seed stage investment firm Y Combinator.

“How do I use technology to build something that people can use and how it affects their lives?”

And so did Tee’s entrepreneurial journey, including spending two years in Silicon Valley, where she co-founded Rocketrip in 2013. This is a website that encourages business travelers to save their employer money on trip expenses.

Company raised 32 million dollars – includes $15 million from Google Joint Venture – before being acquired by Mondee Holdings in 2020.

This serial entrepreneur shares her top secrets to running a successful startup.

1. Know your market

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However, Tee said she is “a big fan of going deep and not expanding” the business.

“Concentration is everything. We have a very clear view of what the market is, if we should expand [countries]. But for now, the focus right now is on deepening our existing markets,” she added.

2. Build a good team

Business fundamentals are important, but entrepreneurs should “anchor first in people,” says Tee.

This has served Homage well in providing the best care to its clients and to Tee, who has no prior experience in the healthcare industry.

I try to do the best I can, but I bring in people who are so much better than me.

Gillian Tee

Co-Founder and CEO, Homage

“It’s important to rely on experts for clinical management and compliance,” says Tee. “That’s why we have our chief nursing officer, who has 20 years of experience in settings. different medical,” said Tee.

“A big part of what we do is we need to combine quality care with products and technology. That’s the team you need to build – I try to do the best I can, but I deliver. who are much better than me.”

3. Focus on ‘100 Good Things’

Being an entrepreneur can be isolating, says Tee, especially when you’re a woman.

“You get harsh comments, but of course, less now because of the reputation and respect that has been built.”

But things are not always easy in the beginning. “For example, [a director] once said to me, ‘You know what, now I know why the newspapers mention you, because your eyes are so beautiful.’ ”

“This is my mantra like everything I go through: I have to be doubly assertive, more data-driven, and super responsive. I think we [female entrepreneurs] Much more must be done to prove our point. ”

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Despite this, Tee has learned to take things on and rely on the people that matter.

“There are 100 problems, but there are also 100 good things. You have to really tune in to the noise and be able to overcome that intensity,” she added.

“It’s exhilarating in some ways, but exhausting in many other respects. Rely on your team, being open, vulnerable, transparent with them. I think that’s important. best.”

4. Innovation drives impact

What does innovation mean for Tee? It’s about making an impact on users.

“Homage’s mission is very close and dear to me. At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than building something that people can find a solution to,” she said.

“At the end of the day, there is nothing better than building something that people can find a solution to,” said Gillian Tee, co-founder and CEO of Homage.

The respectation

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