To ASEAN and beyond: medtech scaleup goes global
Getting an X-ray or a CT scan traditionally meant leaving the clinic with a large envelope of films and finding somewhere to store them, often not knowing when they would next be needed.
Australian company Zed Technologies is changing that with its cloud-based service that gives patients' access to their X-rays, MRIs, scans and ultrasounds through an app.
Sharing medical images using the cloud isn't new, but what makes Zed Technologies unique is its focus on patients, rather than doctors.
Zed Technologies was founded in 2012 by Ross Wright and Ronald Li, who previously worked together in teleradiology, transmitting patient images between Australia and the UK. After getting an X-ray, Wright waited a week to receive the images from a clinic on a CD-ROM. He and Li decided there must be a better way.
In 2014, Zed Technologies participated in Telstra's muru-D startup accelerator program.
When Wright and Li began planning the company's expansion into Southeast Asia, they looked for a program that could make that pathway easier.
'That was when Austrade and the Australian Government Landing Pads program came to our attention,' says Wright.
In February 2017, Zed Technologies arrived in Singapore.
The Landing Pad is based at Singapore's largest integrated startup hub for co-working, networking and events. It's also home to several accelerators and incubators.
'At the Landing Pad, you're spending time with other startups,' says Wright. 'A lot of the events and talks are very relevant and they happen regularly, so you're always learning little bits and pieces as you go.'
For Zed Technologies, Singapore was an ideal base for expansion into Asia. The scaleup benefited from expert guidance on growing its customer base, introductions to local contacts and entry into key decision-making networks, not to mention a fully paid office space for 90 days.
'The Landing Pad Manager has deep knowledge of the startup, scaleup and investor scene in Singapore and is very well connected in the region,' says Wright.
'We could ask him anything. From questions about accommodation right through to him opening his black book and helping connect us with investors and customers. Obviously a warm introduction is a lot better than a cold one.'
One of the biggest benefits for Zed Technologies was the immediate credibility it had in the market by participating in a government selection process.
'We're able to say, "I'm in Singapore because I'm part of an Australian Government initiative to help promising scaleups in the region",' says Wright. 'And that automatically tells people that a government organisation has done due diligence on your company and thinks you're worthy of participating in the program.'
A further benefit was spending time in the Singapore market and starting to understand the intricacies of doing business there.
'When you're expanding into a new market, it can be tempting to just fly in and fly out,' says Wright. 'But being part of the Landing Pads program you commit yourself to 90 days in the market, and I think that commitment to spending time and having availability is very important.'
In its first week at the Landing Pad, the team won a large Singaporean client. The company also built a solid sales pipeline, forged valuable local connections and hired a Singapore-based business development manager.
'Our advice to other participants would be to try and get some local staff on the ground as early as possible to provide continuity through the program,' says Wright.
Looking ahead, the company's focus is on using its new base in Singapore as a launching pad into other ASEAN markets, to continue leading the way in cloud-based delivery of medical imaging.
'The Landing Pad provided us with a stepping stone into Southeast Asia and the credibility that comes with working with an Australian Government organisation,' says Wright. 'If we achieve success, we can certainly say the Landing Pad was part of that.'
Since their time at the Landing Pad, Zed Technologies have also visited Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, helping build a promising pipeline for the future.