Developed ‘SSP’, a low temperature sterilizer for medical devices using smart packaging
Plasmapp, a company that developed a low temperature sterilizer for medical devices using smart packaging, is emerging in the market thanks to its promising potential. Let’s talk more about the secret behind its success with Mr. You Bong Lim, CEO of Plasmapp and a ‘prodigy’ in the startup market.
“It was a network of Jewish people in the United States that played a major role in Israel’s start-up success in America. The support from Institute for Startup KAIST (ISK) and the network between KAIST alumni were of great help every time I hit the wall. ”
Applying Plasma to Industry in a Smart Way
The name of the company ‘Plasmapp’ is a compound word of plasma and smart application, representing the corporate philosophy using which it will apply plasma to the industry in a smart way. Started as an individual business in Aug 2014, Plasmapp turned into a corporation in March 2015 and, since then, it has successfully proceeded with its business plans, with a total of 4.1 billion won investment. Plasmapp’s main product ‘SPP’, a low temperature plasma sterilizer for medical devices, is now at the center of the medical device market. This is the first sterilizer in which plasma generation is applied; the core technology of this product is generating plasma inside the packaging pouch by using a special sterile packaging pouch (Sterpack) so that the sterilization can be performed swiftly at low temperature.
Betting on success with its differentiated product and advantages
There are many advantages to the Plasmapp sterilizer. First, less manpower is required since no chamber cleaning process is needed. Second, the sterilization process takes only 5 minutes. Third, the speed of the sterilization process is 10 times faster than that of existing equipment, but the cost is only a tenth. Fourth, while the existing device employs a high temperature of 130 °C for sterilization, potentially causing thermal damage to the equipment, SPP causes no such damage to the device since it employs a low temperature sterilization method (50 °C). Finally, the low cost can also be a huge merit. In general, the medical industry prefers an ultrahigh speed low temperature plasma sterilizer that does not cause any malfunction of the medical equipment. However, such a device has not been successful in market penetration due to high price, exceeding tens of millions of won, and expensive maintenance cost.
Genius startup displays itself even in its infant period.
The first investor of Plasmapp was Mr. Young Gwan Lee, CEO of Blue Point Partners. Lim met with Mr. Lee through his professor. Although Mr. Lee was an alumni who had majored in plasma physics in KAIST as well, he did not do Lim any favors just because of their school ties. Instead, Mr. Lee carefully acknowledged the potential of Plasmapp, and provided advice to Lim so that he could refine his business model and rearrange his business strategies. Not fully understanding what a business model was or how to make a profit, Lim persisted to focus on equipment manufacturing at first. However, after listening to Mr. Lee’s advice, he switched his business model from a food business to medical business.
“Repeating and redirecting the process of bringing products to market and verifying it numerous times is called pivoting, which causes excruciating pain for developers. But to have a successful start-up, you have to undergo this pivoting stage.”
Since the low-temperature plasma sterilizer was the first of its kind, there was no precedent model for its success. Nonetheless, when the profit structure was created, unwavering support from investors poured in, and so far it has received a total of 4.1 billion won in investment. “The investors have an eye for a promising business, and they do not make mistakes,” Lim said.
Entrepreneurship as a necessity, rather than an option
The Plasmapp sterilizer, which is getting good response in the market, is expected to be exported to Thailand in March next year. Starting in Asia, it will also be exported to the European and U.S. markets. Domestic sales will begin around April or May next year when MFDS approval is obtained. Since there are many investors related to the hospital sector, at least 20 to 30 units will immediately be sold upon approval. For Lim, who sleeps only two hours a day because he is now swamped by work with the launch date coming, entrepreneurship has become a necessity, not an option.