Program Operation Performance
On November 27th, Neofect, a company developing digital neurorehabilitation devices, joined us for Startup Ting. Neofect is a company that leads the innovation and changes the paradigm in rehabilitation therapy through an at-home rehabilitation platform, Neofect Connect. Due to COVID-19, the Startup Ting was conducted online.
CEO Hoyoung Ban, CTO Young-Geun Choi, Hyungjun Park, head of the Global Strategy Center, as well as KAIST seniors joined the Startup Ting. CEO Ban and CTO Choi are also alumni of KAIST!
Introduction to AI and at-home rehabilitation – CEO Hoyoung Ban
Due to the aging society, the global healthcare market is one of the fastest growing industries. United States has the largest healthcare market, which takes up 43% of the global market, as well as the largest total health expenditure per capita.
Digital health and senior health are emerging as major trends, and active investments are being made along with the rapid growth in the healthcare market. The demand for remote healthcare is also increasing, especially due to COVID-19.
Compared to the large scale of the rehabilitation service market in the U.S., the market maturity is rather low, and homecare and home-visit services are provided, making it extremely labor-intensive. In the market, there is no monopoly and it is very divided among companies. However, due to the aging population, the rehabilitation service market is growing rapidly. Neofect targets the problematic market with its at-home rehabilitation platform service and aims to provide the world’s first remote therapy AI-based rehabilitation solution and service. The service uses its rehabilitation platform, hardware, and data to provide an AI-based specialized service and allows for remote medical care by sharing data to doctors and therapists. Neofect has three business types:
- for clinic(B2B)
- for home(B2C): a self-diagnosis application service
- clinic to home(B2B2C)
Neofect’s goal is to digitalize America’s rehabilitation service market. After acquiring Community Rehabilitation Clinics (CRC) in the U.S., Neofect will create a treatment process that combines digital technology. There are high regulatory barriers in Korea that prevents Neofect to service the solution. However, due to Corona, the perception on an untact healthcare service has changed. Rehabilitation service is now possible with the regulatory sandbox exception being made, and Neofect will begin an at-home rehabilitation service in Korea next year.
Following the introduction Neofect, a Q&A session was held. Below is an overview of the questions.
Q) How did you start Neofect?
A) I started this business in 2010 with CTO Young-Geun Choi. While pursuing my Ph.D degree, I studied rehabilitation robotics and algorithms and realized the need for stroke services. That’s when I officially started this business.
Q) How did you enter the overseas market?
A) I established corporations in the U.S. and Germany and entered the market.
Q) Any advice to students who are considering starting a business?
A) There are a lot of talented students at KAIST. I recommend building experience at a small company before starting a business to reduce risks. In my case, while I was working at Samsung Electronics, I started a business and failed. At times, the experience of working at large corporations might help but also become barriers. So, I recommend working at small companies or startups.
The Mechanism of Strokes and AI-based Smart Rehabilitation – CTO Young-Geun Choi
As mentioned above, CTO Young-Geun Choi started Neofect while studying strokes and looking for a solution. In the case of strokes, it is not only important to perform surgery, but also to train the body through rehabilitation training.
Neurorehabilitation: medical training process to improve mobility and strength of the patient.
- Motor learning & Control
- Robotic approach
- Computational approach
Because it is difficult to alter the brain and go back, it’s necessary to train the brain through another reward to apply it in daily life. Neofect aims to create a rehabilitation solution that can bring out and maximize Neuro Plasiticity.
Rehabilitation Robotics- A solution can be made using various methods like motor adaption.
Computational Model-Sensory Motor Activity/Plasticity & Learning Model/ Functional Outcome Model etc->Functional Improvement & Neuroplasticity
Neofect currently provides products like Smart Gloves and Smart Boards, as well as Soft Wearable robots for SCI Patients. The wearable robotic hand enables people with hand paralysis to perform daily activities. In addition, Neofect and Miami University are developing neural chips that reads the patient’s signals and sends it to the robotic hand.
Please refer to the Startup Ting video on Youtube for more theoretical information.
How to Connect Data to Global Strategy – Hyungjun Park, Head of the Global Strategy Center
In this session, Hyungjun Park, head of the Global Strategy Center, explained business cases that are based on general data.
Collecting data requires high technology, and once data analysis is done, the data must be deleted.
* Data Analysis Principles
Data- Insight – Modeling – Performance – Customers
– Case of data-based pricing: Walmart vs Tesco -> Analysis of why Walmart failed in U.K.
Walmart: Low prices on all items
Tesco: Low prices on elastic goods only
– Royalty Management
In the first three days, the tasks are easy and repetitive, then users can freely select games and adventurous games are opened. Usually at the settling stage of data analysis, contents and algorithms are developed to match the goal of expansion and challenge stages. However, Neofect starts from the initial settling stage (retention algorithm) and moves on to the expansion and challenge stages (rehabilitation algorithms). Thus, it is important to realize what the customer sees.
– What is Data Science? Data Science requires convergent skills like business, humanities, IT, statistics, etc.
The summary of the lecture is as below.
– Analysis based on data always fails
- Must not focus on statistical tools or the data itself
- Data analysis is necessary to achieve goals (find solutions)
- Must understand people’s principles of conducts
- Requires talented people competent in humanities, programming, and statistics
Next, a Q&A session followed.
Q) Due to the nature of medical devices, I believe patients will buy the product only if the doctor recommends it to them. In this case, the product is more likely to compete with prices rather than its value. What is the real market situation like the responses of doctors, and what strategies are Neofect taking to compete in the price competitive market?
A) The price is important, but it doesn’t matter if there is enough demand. Currently, there is a high demand for rehabilitation but not enough labor, so it is important to use digital technology to increase the supply. We are trying to use inexpensive and various software to find a balance between costs and supply.
Q) What work do you do at the Global Strategy Center?
A) We establish enterprise-wide business strategies. We also hire data analysists as well as developers.
Q) How do you overcome barriers in the U.S. market?
A) The regulatory barriers in the U.S. are also high, so it is important to develop the brand to enter the market.
Ask the Seniors – Head of Product Planning Team, Seo Jeong Jan & Data Analysis Team Member, Do Kyeong Ha
The product planning team plans products, manages development, researches the market, and manages customers. The data analysis team analyzes data collected in the service, and develops the service and algorithms. The capabilities required of product planning members are communication skills, because it is important to communicate with developers, executives, and consumers to successfully promote products. The reason why the senior members selected Neofect was because they wanted to enjoy their work. As a result, they were able to show their full potential and even get promoted at a young age. Working at a small company is different from large corporations in that you have more responsibility and authority, as well as opportunities.
Neofect’s Startup Ting was a time to realize the trends in the healthcare and rehabilitation market, as well as the increasing needs of remote therapy. We were aware of the growing interest in healthcare and the industry due to the aging society, but not of the rehabilitation market and remote therapy. There are high barriers in Korea, but due to COVID-19 the perception on untact therapy is changing. We now look forward to Neofect’s at-home rehabilitation service and solutions in Korea with the regulatory sandbox in Korea! We hope Neofect’s Startup Ting was a beneficial time to learn about Neofect, global strategies, and data management.
The number of places that use Neofect’s products are increasing worldwide. We wish Neofect’s product help those in need of rehabilitation in the new COVID-19 era. In addition, we also hope that patients who need rehabilitation can afford devices at a reasonable price and that the home rehabilitation market expands so that all patients receive medical benefits!