With around 60 percent of the world’s diabetes patients living in Asia, there is an urgent need for advanced diabetes management and tracking services. Health2Sync, a startup headquartered in Taiwan, which provides a multifunctional mobile app for patients to track vitals and factors that are crucial to managing diabetes, has been at the forefront of advancing diabetes management and tracking through technology for four years.

Since 2016, Health2Sync has been cultivating close relationships with public and private sectors across Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries in Asia to create targeted solutions that can eventually reduce the medical costs related to diabetes complications.

The startup announced on December 6th that it has raised a US$6 million Series B investment from a list of investors led by Sompo Holdings Inc., one of Japan’s largest insurance groups, as well as existing investors Alibaba and WI Harper. According to Health2Sync, they plan to use the new funding to set up operations in Japan, deepen data-driven services and create features specifically for health insurance partnerships.

“We are very excited to have Sompo join us as an investor and partner,” said Ed Deng, Co-Founder and CEO of Health2Sync. “Japan is one of the world’s largest markets in diabetes-related spending and it is crucial to have a local partner as it can also be viewed as a difficult market to penetrate.”

With close to 10 million diabetes patients being recorded nationwide in 2016, the Japanese government has created policies and allocated fundings for diabetes care and prevention. Deng thinks that such moves have encouraged the outsourcing of chronic disease prevention and management to private service providers.

To Deng, starting out in Taiwan offers a lot of unique advantages since the Taiwanese government provides financial incentives to hospitals and clinics for effective diabetes management. They collaborated with Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare to migrate diabetes care online, and with similar programs getting underway in other Asian countries, Health2Sync expects continuous growth in the next few years.

“Health2Sync is tackling the lack of resources and awareness for proper diabetes management,” said Deng. “Most importantly, we are enabling cost-effective and scalable diabetes care in Southeast Asia.”

When asked what are the key factors to Health2Sync’s rapid rise to success, Deng attributed it to his team’s tenacity and having the right investors that understand and support their long-term vision. He thinks that it’s important for startups to focus on the problems that they are trying to solve while developing a go-to-market strategy. Even though Deng thinks the ecosystem hasn’t been completely in the favor of startups in Taiwan, he believes that the situation isn’t completely bleak.

“Resources and organizations like Taiwan Startup Stadium has been of great help in sponsoring us to attend overseas events,” said Deng. “I think the ecosystem just needs a Taiwan startup to go all the way and IPO on the Nasdaq. It would increase confidence for everyone in the startup ecosystem. I believe that when there is a will and a lot of luck, there is a way.”

William Yang

William is a freelance writer and photographer based in Taiwan, with a passion for human rights and storytelling. He holds a Master of Journalism degree from Temple University, and has extensive experiences interning at global NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Mercy Corps.