Inside Asia Podcast

Julien de Salaberry: Innovating HealthTech in Asia

November 10, 2018

Returning to the program this episode is Julien de Salaberry, Founder and CEO of Galen Growth Asia. He and his partners at Galen Growth identify and catalyze connections between investors and healthtech entrepreneurs.

We last spoke some six months ago when he gave us the rundown on the general state of healthcare in Asia and some of the groundbreaking projects under way that will one day change the face of healthcare services as we know it.

Julien and his partners at Galen Growth are doing some stunning work to spur healthcare innovation by identifying burgeoning healthcare startups across Asia and then awarding innovators. They kicked things off last year and now are coming up on the announcement of the 2018 winner. I asked him to take us into the process for deciding which startups advanced.  

A key takeaway from our conversation: People matter. Technology is sometimes given the credit – or the blame – for whether a startup succeeds or not.  Yet, it’s people that drive the business, who unleash technology need to be part of the equation as well. Sit investors down and have a deep-dive conversation about why they favor one start-up over another and you witness a subtle shift into a discussion on the entrepreneurs themselves.

This is also a fascinating discussion about the opportunity for innovation that China represents. It’s not just vast market size or relative sector immaturity; it’s the level and intensity of government buy-in. The Chinese government is focused on supporting any initiative that might hold the promise of improving the quality and cost of healthcare in a nation of 1.4 billion people.

This is a subject we’ve touched on from various directions in previous episodes. China’s population is both aging and subjugated to a spate of hazardous environmental conditions that threaten to test the limits of the Chinese healthcare system unless something is done about it.  

What does this mean for the world of healthtech investing? Will it become the case that the biggest breakthroughs come not in markets with the best technology, but with the most open and receptive market conditions?  What’s the tipping point for data privacy in the realm of healthcare?

As always, thanks for listening.