Image deciphering technology and a medical engineering Ph.D. join forces
When JLK was first founded by CEO Kim Won-tae in 2014, the company specialized in display testing equipment that combined simple AI technologies and image deciphering technologies.
In order to expand the company’s business areas, an AI team was created in 2015, and the company began working in earnest to develop medical AI solutions.
Around this same time, several key people joined JLK, including co-CEO and CTO Kim Dong-min, who has a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Tokyo. Co-CEO Kim, who is responsible for MRI-related research, has extensive experience working with MRI-based brain data.
Applying deep learning to medical video deciphering
JLK has been commercializing its assets and producing business outcomes faster than any other medical AI firm in Korea. These business outcomes are being achieved by increasingly applying video processing, deep learning, and machine-learned technologies to the existing fields of medical video analysis and industrial X-ray security solutions. JLK’s portable medical devices are applied with technologies that make them as small and lightweight as possible, meaning that the results of AI-based medical video analysis can be viewed anytime, anywhere. The company is currently making headway in various international markets, including those in India, Laos, Myanmar, Kuwait, and China.
The world’s largest number of AI medical analysis solutions
JLK was the first company in Korea to develop a total analysis solution for strokes (JBS-01K). Today, the company holds the world’ s largest number of AI medical analysis solutions, boasting 37 solutions that can be used to analyze 14 different body parts. The company’s all-in-one platform, AIHuB, is associated with 85 patents and is a modularized version of traditional diagnostic algorithms.
A JLK spokesperson said, “The AI source technologies and algorithms realized through AIHuB are what set our technologies a cut above the rest.”
Proven global competitiveness as the winning bid for the CHAI tuberculosis screening project in Laos
JLK first gained recognition in the global medical AI market through its participation in an open bid conducted by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in late 2019 for a tuberculosis screening project in Laos. JLK won first place out of all the project bidders and was selected for the CHAI project (CHAI is a program associated with the Clinton Foundation, a non-governmental health organization founded by former US President Bill Clinton to help citizens of developing countries).
JLK is also currently collaborating with Intel on a medical AI device that blends worksites using cutting-edge and remote technologies. A JLK spokesperson commented that the company has high expectations for the collaboration: “We hope to create a synergetic effect between Intel’s vision for computers, its AI solution development tool, OpenVINO, and JLK’s medical AI algorithm.”
Born2Global Centre, a stepping stone for expanding into international markets
As an active participant of the Born2Global Centre program since 2017, JLK has benefitted from the Center’s services and largely attributes its successful expansion overseas to the center’s specialized consultation services. CEO Kim Won-tae explained, “Through the Born2Global Centre we were able to create a US subsidiary, which is essential for branching out into more countries.”JLK also received legal consultations from Born2Global Centre on issues related to establishing an overseas subsidiary as well as patents.
From a medical AI company to a comprehensive AI company
JLK is currently working on obtaining certifications in Korea and other countries for its AI-based medical solutions. In the future, the company will continue to strengthen its technological prowess and business value as a means of dominating medical AI markets at home and overseas. Its goal is to become a world-class company, based on its unrivaled products, and to lead the digital transformation of the healthcare industry by building global cooperative networks.
A service that makes working easier
Toss Lab was founded by four entrepreneurs who joined forces with the aim of becoming the greatest B2B startup in Asia. Kim Dae-hyeon, Toss Lab’s CEO, founded the company after gaining experience at big-name companies like LG and TMON.
Doubling annual growth year through complete and thorough localization
The collaborative tool market is growing rapidly. Sales for JANDI, which occupies a dominant position in Korea’s collaborative tool market, are doubling each year, with its number of users surpassing the two million mark in April 2019. The tool is currently used by many companies from startups such as Ziptoss, Daeri Jubu, and Zipdoc, to mid-sized and large companies such as CJ and LG CNS.
The secret to JANDI’s success in the global market, even amidst intense competition from foreign-made collaborative tools, is Toss Lab’s relentless pursuit of localization.Kim said, “JANDI was designed to best meet the needs of the Korean corporate environment in terms of function, usability, and customer management. JANDI satisfies demands that cannot be met by foreign services, such as 100 percent representation in Hangeul, the use of familiar characters/ icons, and real-time customer support, which especially comes in handy when a problem arises.” JANDI is already showing statistically significant growth in foreign markets.
Currently, 15 percent of the service’s users are based overseas, with 12 percent of total sales occurring in Japan and Taiwan. Together with the solid upward IT trend being seen in the Taiwanese and Japanese markets, the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets (Vietnam, Malaysia, etc.) are expected to grow in the coming years.
Messenger services, the greatest rival of the collaborative tool
In a market that is always full of competitors, Kim stressed that JANDI’s biggest rival is not other collaborative tools but rather messenger services. “It’s not that people aren’t using collaborative tools.The real problem is that they are being used ineffectively because there is no dividing line between the user’s work life and private life. We feel that it’s important to convince users not to use commercial messenger services.”
In JANDI’s early days, Kim’s greatest challenge was convincing companies of the collaborative tool’s effectiveness.
“There are two different ways that can be used to show people JANDI’s effectiveness: they either have to experience it for themselves or see an example of how the tool should be used. The hardest part was giving as many companies as possible the opportunity to try JANDI for themselves so that we could accumulate positive user reviews.” Toss Lab has since gathered such reviews from roughly 200,000 companies.
Toss Lab, which was already doubling annually in size, is currently securing even more users than usual due to COVID-19. Kim hopes that the changes in work methods brought about by COVID-19 will make more companies realize the efficiency that is unique to the collaborative tool.
The company’s next goal: Becoming Asia’s No.1 SaaS
Since its foundation, Toss Lab has regularly received assistance from Born2Global Centre, including introductions to relevant investors and information/support from diverse sectors. Toss Lab’s goal is to continue receiving aid from Born2Global Centre so that it can expand overseas and become the top SaaS in Asia.
Starting with a Series A investment in January 2018, Toss Lab has received a total of KRW 13 billion from investment firms such as SoftBank Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, and the Korea Development Bank. Toss Lab is scheduled to receive Series B funding in June of this year.
Once it receives these funds, Toss Lab will be able to respond more quickly to changes in corporate clients’ perceptions of the collaborative tool.Kim feels that clients are already becoming more open-minded about using collaborative tools. In Korea, where conglomerates stand at the forefront of work culture trends, over 1,000 companies have started using collaborative tools.
Kim’s short-term goal is to secure more big-name clients so that JANDI is the first collaborative tool that comes to mind among the general public. In the long-term, Kim has the goal of growing Toss Lab into Asia’s number-one SaaS enterprise.
The Born2Global Centre has published the "Korea Startup Index 2019," which contains comprehensive information on the Korean startup ecosystem. The Born2Global Centre has been publishing the Korea Startup Index since 2014. Featuring new and exclusive content, it delivers insights on Korea's dynamic startup ecosystem and introduces companies aiming to enter the global market.
Some highlights of the report are:
Information on the Korean startup ecosystem
Trends of Korean startup investment
Born2Global annual report
Born2Global members list
In particular, the Korea Startup Index 2019 features the Korean startup ecosystem's solutions and strategies for overcoming COVID-19.
The classification of Korean startup investment trends, venture capital, angel investment, and crowdfunding is also included in this year's index, in addition to information on the Korean startup market, 208 ICT-related companies capable of evaluating the business environment, and results of a wide variety of analyses of startups' status, human resources, investment attraction, target markets, and business environments. It also presents the results of a survey that gives companies an overview of the impact of COVID-19.
Chief Executive Director Jongkap Kim of the Born2Global Centre said, "As convergence technology, which is being led by innovative technology companies, is gaining influence in response to the changes that have occurred around the world. Through this report, you can learn more about Korean startups and the Korean startup ecosystem. It contains a variety of information on Korean startups that would otherwise be difficult to access. I hope it serves as a useful reference material for many."
To read the full report, download it here:
About Born2Global Centre
Born2Global Centre (www.born2global.com) is a full-cycle service platform for global expansion. Since inception in 2013, Born2Global has been setting the standard for successful startup ecosystem as the main Korean government agency under the Ministry of Science and ICT. Born2Global has expanded and transformed startups to be engaged, equipped and be connected with the global market. Every year, Born2Global selects over 100 startups with excellent technological capacity and business potential to be part of membership, and provides them with a comprehensive range of services. This membership service is a year-long intensive program. To members, Born2Global provides a superior package of programs. Born2Global helps members improve their products, grow their business on a global scale, and find ways to expand their networks and have contributed to bringing in investments totaling over USD 593.5 million. In addition, Born2Global's in-house experts have provided consulting services on 11,724 occasions to startups, including consultations 648 overseas patent applications, 395 overseas business contracts and alliances, and 79 incorporations.
Jina Lee, PR Manager
Aiming to Become the World’s No. 1 Rehabilitation Platform
NEOFECT is a company that focuses on developing and providing smart rehabilitation solution.
NEOFECT became widely known for its smart glove when Korean President Moon Jae-in tried it on at the medical device exhibition hall in Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in July 2018, earning it the nickname “Moon Jae-in glove”.
The RAPAEL Smart Glove that attracted media attention at the time is NEOFECT’s signature product. A patient can wear the glove, which is connected to a table through Bluetooth, and play games that help with rehabilitation. NEOFECT is a company that has been attracting attention in the United States, the largest medical device market in the world, but its journey has not been easy.
After leaving the corporate world,CEO Ban founded his first startup company but failed.
NEOFECT CEO Ban Hoyoung’s first idea for a startup was not medical devices. After leaving Samsung Electronics, he focused on IPTV services for his first startup. Ban wanted to try something new instead of simply being another cog in the corporate business wheel. He left Samsung Electronics and started his own business with a partner in Los Angeles, United States. Unfortunately, two years later, the business remained unsustainable.
Ban said that his first business was a difficult but important experience. He explains that one of the most important things in a startup is experience. He emphasizes that having experience with launching or working in a startup is necessary to reduce trial and error. Afterward, Ban earned an MBA in the United States and met Choi Yong-Geun, also a KAIST alumnus and currently the CTO of NEOFECT. At the time, Choi was working on his Ph.D. in the United States for research on stroke rehabilitation, algorithms, and robotics. It was Choi who first suggested a medical device startup to Ban.
Ban recognized the importance ofrehabilitation services from personal experience.
In college, NEOFECT CEO Ban lost both his father and an uncle to stroke. Seeing the effects on the elderly members of his family, he became keenly aware of the need for low-cost products and services that help with sustainable stroke rehabilitation. This was a decisive factor in Ban launching another startup in 2010.
“I gained the confidence to run a globally-competitive business during my MBA program in the United States,” explains Ban. “The best thing I learned from competing with people from all around the world during my time in the program was the confidence that I can do it too?that I can survive in the global market.”
Seeing the size of the American market, Ban decided that he should prioritize launching his business in the United States. After four and a half years of development, he was able to open an office there in America in October 2015 and in Germany in October 2016.
Recipient of the CEO Innovation Award fortwo consecutive years,
NEOFECT and its technology have been recognized by the global market
NEOFECT aims to become the No. 1 rehabilitation platform in the world. The company has a strong lineup of products as well, including RAPAEL Smart Glove, RAPAEL Smart Kids, RAPAEL Smart Board, RAPAEL Smart Pegboard, and RAPAEL ComCog. Existing analog devices have been digitalized, and related game content helps patients suffering from stroke to focus on and have fun in their rehabilitation programs.
NEOFECT pursues more than simple fun. Data from patients in rehabilitation are collected on the platform and analyzed by AI, which recommends different rehabilitative games for the next day. NEOFECT is the first company in the world to provide comprehensive rehabilitation programs that are customized for each user. NEOFECT has succeeded in selling its smart gloves to rehabilitation hospitals around the world. They have also been approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which supports rehabilitation programs for veterans. NEOFECT has also published a number of papers on the effects of its rehabilitation programs.
Based on these achievements, NEOFECT received an Innovation Award at the CES in 2018, the largest consumer technology show in the world, for the second consecutive year. Its products stood out from those made by large conglomerates and have also attracted the attention of foreign media outlets, including CNN, CNET, and ZDNet.
Making active use of legal and accounting consultation as well as other forms of external support
Since NEOFECT’s products are medical devices, references, such as global clinical trials and approvals, are particularly important. These are aspects that require the help of organizations that support startups, such as the K-ICT Born2Global Centre. NEOFECT CEO Ban explains, “The healthcare industry is regulated, and therefore paying attention to related law is very important.”
He stresses that K-ICT Born2Global Centre’s accounting, marketing, and legal consultations were particularly helpful. Startups often have difficulty getting management support, and Ban recognizes the necessity of receiving help from supporting organizations in these areas. “When companies want to hire a lawyer, they don’t really know the specifics, like who the good ones are and how much they cost,” Ban explains. “We were able to receive advice and recommendation on such things.”
A company that gives hope through rehabilitation services
NEOFECT officially began trading on the KOSDAQ this year. Ban, the CEO, says that its debut was meaningful as listing provides stability to the employees and increases customer confidence. It also provided an opportunity for Ban to think once again about his goals. He launched this startup because he knew the difficulties people face in receiving rehabilitation after stroke or other illnesses as well as the hardships their family members experience. “NEOFECT’s slogan is ‘We inspire hope’,” remarks Ban. “I’d like NEOFECT to become a company that gives hope to people, that they can return to their daily lives by improving their movement through our rehabilitation programs.”