Hello Health Group, a Singapore-based startup that builds healthcare information portals for the average Southeast Asian, announced today it has raised a US$1.5 million in seed funding led by CMG.ASIA.
The round also saw participation from a number of strategic angel investors based in Thailand, including Charles Toomey, the former Global Head of Healthcare DKSH.
The startup plans to use the money to expand across ‘key frontier regions’ in Southeast Asia over Q3 and Q4 2016. It will also invest in product development.
Chris Clarke, the Entrepreneur In Residence at Hello Health Group, told e27 that the constant challenge for the company is conveying accurate medical information in an editorial style that is appealing to a wide audience.
“Ultimately we are writing for medical professionals as well as for consumers, and so defining the best formula for our content has been a mix of art and science,” he said.
Clarke went on to explain that one strategy is leveraging medical professionals — a traditional industry — to engage with and contribute to digital tools.
Randy Dobson, the Chairman of CMG.ASIA, will join the board of Hello Health Group.
“The impact that Hello Health Group can make on improving the quality of life for people living in this region is truly transformational, so to have the chance to lead the investment round for this incredible business was something I just couldn’t pass up,” said Dobson.
Hello Health Group creates healthcare information portals similar to the global brand WebMD, except the company localises the products for countries in Southeast Asia.
In October 2015, it launched HelloBacsi.com in Vietnam (Bac Si means ‘doctor’ in Vietnamese) followed by its Indonesian HelloSehat.com (Sehat means healthy in Bahasa Indonesia). Readers will notice, despite the company being Singaporean, the two websites are entirely in the local language and the content is different between the two platforms.
The company is trying to stand out online by branding itself as the most accurate source for medical information in a given market.
To do so, it uses the Health on the Net Foundation Code of Conduct (HONCode) certificate to legitimise itself as a provider of accurate information. The certification agency does not rate the quality of the site, but it provides ethical guidelines as well as clarity about the information the site claims to provide.
“Platforms like Google are absolutely fantastic in connecting consumers to the best possible information. The trouble in the context of healthcare in emerging markets is that often time the information is not complete or accurate,” said Hello Health Group Co-founder James Miles-Lambert in an official statement.
CMG.ASIA (California Management Group) is one of the largest lifestyle and health companies in Vietnam and it owns 18 brands including the well-known California Fitness & Yoga.