We had the opportunity to interview Rachel Hong, the founder and CTO of Meracle Health, a medical devices company working to address chronic respiratory conditions.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION IN FOUNDING MERACLE AND HOW HAS THAT INSPIRATION CHANGED OR GROWN?
The inspiration is to bring technology directly to the people. Our focus has always been patients and never changed, but the journey has been unpredictable. Every day I wake up in the morning, there is this thought that whatever comes in my way, it will be an opportunity for growth. You’ll be surprised with both pleasant and unpleasant outcomes, so it’s a matter of changing your perspective. With regard to motivation, I’ve had the privilege of actually working on a medical device that directly impacted patients’ lives. Knowing that my effort made a difference, even if it’s just one person, drives me to do more.
HOW WERE YOU PULLED INTO THE MEDTECH FIELD? WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A FOUNDER?
I didn’t really decide that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. It was more like, we have this really awesome technology, so how can we get it out? One of the most obvious answers was to actually do it ourselves, bring it out to the market and grow it. It’s more of a drive than simply wanting to be a founder. The focus is on the product and seeing how far can I bring this and how can I positively impact the lives of others?
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN R3I AND ITS HOUSE OF MEDTECH? HOW HAS IT HELPED YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
Since we met her, Leesa has been a great supporter. She encouraged us to participate in Luxinnovation’s Fit 4 Start program, which we were pleasantly surprised we got selected for. We wanted to have that continuous relationship with her, and the R3I team has been helping us with soft landing in Luxembourg. It’s not just about understanding the ecosystem here, but it’s also the small things like getting a bank account and starting a company there. The team, especially Ian and Leesa, provided valuable guidance and advice. It’s good to have people we can trust and have worked well with to guide us along the way, and I think it’s been really helpful.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED FOR WHEN YOU CAME ONBOARD?
It’s exciting to explore a new market. Every day is a new day with a new set of challenges, so I’m excited about what we can learn and understand and explore along the way. Europe is very different from what we initially thought, but through the program, we’ve gained a lot more insight and knowledge, which has helped us a lot. The learning experience is something that we are always looking forward to.
HOW DID LANDING IN LUXEMBOURG BENEFIT YOUR COMPANY?
What we learned about Europe has helped us plan what we can and cannot do. Being in Singapore, we had preconceptions about Europe but found later that we needed a different strategy. Don’t look at Europe as one big block with a one size fits all approach but rather as a group of very different countries that we need to approach differently. We are in a stage where we can still develop and improve, so we’re taking it seriously and working to be the right fit for the market when we are ready for it.
WHAT ARE THE TOP TWO REASONS YOU BELIEVE IN THE HOUSE OF X?
The people, like Peter and Leesa, have the experience, expertise, and on the ground knowledge. I feel that it’s very important to learn from them and have support from people with real world experience. They’ve been through it before and are the best people to guide us.
Secondly, I like the location because Luxembourg is thriving and has many policies and initiatives that encourage digital health technologies to grow. I think it’s important to be in the right place at the right time with the right people, and I think we are there.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF & R3I VENTURES IN THE NEXT 5-10 YEARS?
Hopefully we’ll be able to grow with the team. As we grow, we will need more investments and funds. I hope we meet the milestones to get to a point where we reach our seed round, so from there we’ll grow in Europe as well as in Asia.
WHAT ETHICAL PRINCIPLES DO YOU VALUE THE MOST?
Hard work. When you start each day, you commit yourself to doing your best and have the discipline to put in the work. Some days, you might not see the outcome of your efforts, but everything you put in will have some outcome in the future. Don’t be discouraged by the short term results; look towards the long term goal. For me, putting in the effort every single day no matter how you’re feeling is very important.