Tech4Eva meets Swiss-Korean Innovation Week
For this year’s Swiss-Korean Innovation Week on the theme of “diversity”, on June 8,Tech4Eva partnered with the Science and Technology Office and the Embassy of Switzerland in the Republic of Korea for the Seoul Roadshow. This event aimed to raise awareness on themes directly connected to the women wellbeing with a reference to the cultural context in Korea. Tech4Eva’s 2022 cohort was showcased through their pitches during the event.
Innovation & Diversity
Ambassador Dagmar Schmidt Tartagli introduced the topic and highlighted the importance of innovation and diversity. For her, respect and dialogue are key. Gender equality is developing in Switzerland, as women wellbeing and health are very essential that is why we have to support Femtech. She describes Switzerland as a Center of technology for women’s health and South Korea as a leader in Femtech.
Ambassador Schmidt Tartagli said: "Repeatedly elected the most innovative country in the world, Switzerland counts diversity as one of its unique selling points... However, there are aspects of diversity which are still debated at the political and societal level, such as gender equality, which ask for special attention.”
Youn-Chung Chung, President of Seoul Foundation of Women & Family explained that we have to boost and build new opportunities and provide support for women. She pointed at the importance of Women’s issues that affect society and the trend and evolution of Femtech. Her main goals are expending her Foundation and evolve the Femtech sector in Korea and to help the global Femtech community evolve in today’s meaningful time.
Jiwon Park, CEO of the brand SAIB & Co. shared her experience of breaking taboos in Korea. She explains that women's sexuality is not supposed to be taboo, intimate sexual wellness is a natural part of life. Sexual wellness is not only for men - high quality sexual products are very important for women too! The new generation is very open minded and wants to improve the sexual life of women. The intimate cosmetic market is very important and that is why she leads SAIB & Co. She wants the brand to create a positive impact for women's sexual wellness. The objectives of SAIB & Co are:
- Embracing Modern Femininity
- Making Women Proud
- Being Simple with No Frills
- Being Frank & Open
- Keeping it Healthy, Natural & Female-Friendly
Femtech Landscape in Korea
The panel discussion with Dr. Peter Hwanwook Chung (Obstetrician & Gynecologist), Dr. Chiweon Kim (Kakao Ventures & CEO), Ji-Young Kim (CEO, Startup Women) and Kelly Hyunjung Shin (CEO & Founder, KINSDAY) as a moderator highlighted the general environment for Femtech in Korea.
For Dr. Peter Hwanwook Chung, Women’s health is beyond the physical aspect. One has to consider all factors such as biological differences, emotions, social backgrounds and culture when defining wellbeing. Different cultures have different needs according to the cultural aspects of medicine (Holistic – Technocratic or Humanistic Model of Medicine). Dr. Chung said: “The individual needs and preferences are more important for the ultimate patient satisfaction and health outcome. The key is listening to the individual woman's voice as she is the decision maker.”
Dr. Chiweon Kim, physician by training introduces his fund Kakao Ventures which invests in seed or pre-series A stage and the digital sector. Dr. Kim gave an overview of the South Korean Health System, some of the key points to remember:
Access – Universal care with 100% coverage by mandatory national insurance system
Financing – System financed through NHIS and low contribution and low benefit model
Providers – 3 tier system but no real gate keeping system with large number of clinics and strong preference for leading tertiary hospitals in Seoul and mandatory subscription
Role of the Government – Strong influence on healthcare policies, price setting, clinical guideline review and reimbursement decisions
Digital healthcare is shifting to telehealth including diagnostics and treatment via telemedicine. For now, telemedicine is not legal in Korea – it’s been exceptionally allowed during the covid crisis, but he says that he is looking forward to more adoption and legalization in the near future.
- Only 8.7% of start-up founders in Korea are Female (2020 Born to Global Report)
- 6.6% in female start-up investments in 2020 have been noted (2020 Start-up Hub Investment Report).
- 7% Korean female VCs – 64% of start-up investments are in early stage
She described that female entrepreneurs don't choose to be frustrated in the face of obstacles, they are looking for ways to solve problems and even if it takes a long time, women keep challenging themselves until the problem is solved. She explains that the life of an entrepreneur is difficult and lonely at times. Hence Ji-Young created the largest Women-centered start-up community in Korea to open the conversation and change the situation.
Ji-Young closed with: “To all female entrepreneurs, I hope you trust yourself and continue to work together for a strong community.”
We thank all speakers for their participation and enriching talks. To watch the full recording of the event, visit our YouTube channel