The CEO of Singaporean healthcare startup Homage shares his top tips for success

The CEO of Singaporean healthcare startup Homage shares his top tips for success
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Singaporean entrepreneur after 15 years abroad Gillian Tee decided to move back home in 2016 to be closer to her family.

It was what he called a “perfect storm.”

Three of his close relatives were living with chronic diseases and Tee quickly discovered the “pain points” of caring for people with special needs.

“Let’s say you fall and break your hip, the medical part is pretty clear. You need to find specialists, you can go… [a] a public hospital or a private hospital,” Tee said.

“But what happens when you need to go home, when you need to go back to your community and your home, what’s the care plan? What’s the right thing to think about in terms of home screening, mobility aids?”

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


That’s when she decided to start Homage, a company that matches patients with long-term home care needs with skilled caregivers.

Since the company was founded in 2017, the startup has raised $45 million, he said, citing notable investors such as Golden Gate Ventures Sheares and Healthcare Group, all from Temasek, as well as early-stage venture firm 500 Startups.

According to Tee, the tribute is now valued at more than $100 million.

However, this is not the 40-year-old’s first step into entrepreneurship. was a management consultant for to emphasize when he came across a book that changed the course of his career.

“I started out as a software developer and I was really attracted to it because I liked building things. But it was this app concept that really hit me,” he said. CNBC do it.

How can I use technology to build something that people can use and impact their lives?

Gillian Tee

Co-founder and CEO, Homage

He was referring to the book Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ 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 that affects their lives?”

And so began an entrepreneurial journey that included spending two years in Silicon Valley, where Tee co-founded. rocket launcher In 2013. This is a website that encourages business travelers to save on travel expenses for their employers.

Company collected 32 million dollars – including $15 mln Google Ventures — before being acquired by Mondee Holdings in 2020.

This serial entrepreneur shares his top tips for running a successful startup.

1. Know your market

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However, Tee said he’s “a big fan of going deep and not spreading the work out too much.”

“Focus is everything. We have a very clear idea of ​​what the markets are if we expand further [countries]. But right now, the focus is on deepening our current markets,” he added.

2. Build a good team

Business fundamentals are important, but entrepreneurs “need to anchor people first,” Tee said.

This has served Homage well in providing the best care for both their clients and Tee, who has no experience in the healthcare industry.

I try to do my best, but I also bring people who are much better than me.

Gillian Tee

Co-founder and CEO, Homage

“It’s important to rely on experts for clinical management and compliance. That’s why we have a director of nursing, for example, who has 20 years of experience in a variety of medical settings,” Tee shared.

“A big part of what we do is we have to synthesize the quality of care with the product and the technology. It’s the team you have to build—I try to do the best I can, but I bring in people who are better than me.”

3. Focus on the “100 good things.”

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

“You get offensive comments, but now it’s less because there’s an established reputation and respect.”

But things weren’t always easy in the beginning. “For example, [a director] He once said to me, ‘You know, now I know why the papers draw you because you have such beautiful eyes.'”

“That’s my mantra, like everything I’ve been through: I have to be twice as ambitious, more data-driven and very sharp. I think we [female entrepreneurs] We need to do more to prove our point.”

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Despite this, Tee has learned to take things in her stride and lean on the people who matter.

“There are 100 problems, but there are also 100 good things. You really have to tune out the noise and go through that intensity and be fine,” he said.

“It’s exciting in some ways, but it’s exhausting in many ways. Lean on your team, be open and vulnerable and transparent with them. I think that’s the most important thing.”

4. Innovation drives impact

What does innovation mean for Tee? It’s about influencing users.

“Homage’s mission is very near and dear to me. At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than building something that people can solve,” he said.

“At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than building something that people can solve,” said Gillian Tee, co-founder and CEO of Homage.


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