Korean startup Alyce Healthcare’s CEO & founder, Dia Kang, got interested in the world of technology when she saw the usage of ‘Big Data’ during former US President Obama’s election campaign. Her days at the Draper University in San Mateo were spent finding solutions to better the world. For her startup, she found colleagues at the university and in old friends. Soon, an AI-based personal training solution – “Weelo” was developed. Dia’s startup is now looking towards making ‘Weelo’ the best available AI-based fitness solution for the ‘Post Covid-19’ world.
Koreatechdesk.com had a chat with Dia Kang to know details about her work, the market opportunity, and the startup.
1. Please tell me about your background and What motivated you to get started with your company?
I studied political science, especially with interest in the election strategy. Former US President Obama’s campaign had used ‘Big data’ at that time. It was a very early stage for using such technology in the real industry, and then my interest moved naturally to the tech scene. I have always hoped to do something to bring change in the world. Also, I am fascinated by a startup that can help me make something new for the world.
2. What is your current main product, and can you share any previous product pivot story to the current product?
Our solution, ‘Weelo,’ is an AI-powered personal trainer solution. Based on a machine learning engine, we detect user’s motion, analyze each user’s condition, recommend proper workout program, guide correct exercise pose, and then feedback in real-time. We started a dance teaching solution for the first time but pivoted it soon to the health solution that needs more accurate pose and feedback.
3. What is the market opportunity for your service?
Everyone needs self-care and a healthier lifestyle. The fitness/health market is expected to more than $ 13 billion by 2025. Recently, Peloton’s stock prices soared more than 2.5 times, and premium athleisure yoga fashion ‘lululemon’ acquired home-fitness solution ‘Mirror’ at $500 million. So there is a scope for AI-fitness solutions and space as well.
4. What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue? What strategy worked best?
We mainly do business for the B2C subscription model, but we are also open to collaborating with other healthcare industry for bundling sales model. We already made $ 220K in revenue for bundling sales. Instead of paying a royalty to use the motion detection engine and server cost, we save costs and optimize Alyce’s engine. We also have opportunities to do motion detection API business through API marketplaces.
5. Please tell me more about your founding team?
I have experience in entrepreneurship at Draper University in San Mateo, and I met some members there. Other almost key members are neighbors. We’ve known each other for years. We hang out together, have shared woes, and eventually aligned vision and dream together.
6. How much money have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
We’ve got a $100K seed investment funded in August 2019. We have completed product development and have been testing since then, so we are looking for Pre-A round investment ($500K) for a big marketing push. After the beta test, it is expected to grow and monetize fast from the first half of next year.
7. What are the biggest challenges and obstacles that you have faced in the process of fund-raising?
Timing and lack of human resources. By raising the Pre-A round, we will push to get KPI achievements with more resources.
8. What are your milestones for the next round? And what are your goals for the future?
Finish beta tests well and launch successfully at the next first quarter. Getting more partners(B2B2C) pool to work with and advancing the technology that becomes innovative AI contents transforming solution platform.
9. How have you attracted users, and with what strategy have you grown your company from the start to now?
We deeply analyzed our Persona. We tested keywords and moods, and finally we could align target customer and branding. We hope It will bring huge and critical marketing points to grow with the J curve.
10. What do most startups get wrong about marketing in general?
Just opening/exposing products or service to massive(un-targeted) customers. It takes a lot of time, money, and resource, but its returns could not be big.
11. How do you plan to expand globally?
From the beginning, we planned a globally viable, IT-based content business—localization through partnerships and government support in each region. Not start in Korea, but directly launch at local using the local network thoroughly.
12. How do you handle this COVID-19 outbreak situation for your company’s survival in the future?
We are the company for which Covid-19 is an opportunity. The ‘Post-COVID-19’ was just a matter of timing, and we have been preparing for it. We thought that these three keywords – ‘Self – Home – Healthcare’ would be the main in the future, so we will continue to work hard for meeting with the fundamental global change.
13. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? and What advice do you have for someone interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
The quote that deeply impressed in my mind during the Draper University’s program. ‘I will Fail and Fail again until I succeed.’
14. How do you keep yourself motivated every day?
I write an affirmation note every morning. I write and reflect on my dreams and goals every day. What are the goals and the realistic ways to achieve them, and try to achieve them one by one in reality.
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