Korea’s startup landscape remains partial to gaming. Demand has been growing at such a staggering clip that the industry now accounts for 90% of the country’s mobile app revenues. The government is also providing financial assistance — to the tune of $90 million — to help shoulder rising demand. But though many welcome such incentives, the figures indicate that the trend is nearing its saturation point, and suggest that it may be time for the country’s fleet of young entrepreneurs to be leveraging their talents in a slightly different direction, one that favors long-term sustainability, and a means of overcoming the alarming rate of failure that startups and small businesses have been receiving as of late.
One healthtech startup in Seoul’s affluent Gangnam district feels that product technology is not only a more beneficial direction to take, it’s a necessity for South Korean startups if they want to achieve longevity.
Headed by CEO and Founder Kiwon Lee and Chief Strategic Officer Hyonbo Sim, Ybrain has developed medical wearable devices for patients suffering early onset Alzheimer’s and is building a mobile healthcare platform for detailed analytics for disease diagnosis and personalised treatments and services. They have already been approved by the FDA for clinical trials, and have secured $4.2 million in Series A funding round last summer from several leading Korean VCs.
Ybrain’s patented technology couldn’t come at a more opportune time. The Obama administration recently set aside close to $3 billion in funding for its Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Lee is confident that their technology will allow for the study and treatment at a fraction of the cost.
Two products are to hit the market next year: a diagnostic platform that will work in tandem with the wearable to help doctors pinpoint the root of neurological disorders, and a wearable brain wave product — the first of its kind — for depression.
Despite Ybrain’s ambitions, they are not alone in the race for a cure; several other companies with similar strategies will soon have products available to patients in need. However, Lee is quick to point out that his technology provides a much more favorable method of tackling one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
The full article appears on Forbes and can be viewed here.
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