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  • Writer's pictureVentureBlick

Fast-tracked: MediThinQ’s Development Under VentureBlick's Super Incubator

Startup incubation/acceleration
The right incubator/accelerator is often a crucial launch vehicle for a startup

A startup’s journey can feel like a game of Snakes and Ladders as it encounters various setbacks and breakthroughs along the way. The objective here is the same: to quickly reach the final square (i.e. a successful exit) by avoiding the snakes and leveraging the appropriate ladders.

In this game, working with the right incubator/accelerator can be one of the most powerful ways to supercharge progress. South Korean startup MediThinQ’s experience reflects this. Within 6 months of joining VentureBlick’s Super Incubator programme, the company had successfully commercialised its products and gone global. It is also set to achieve several other milestones in 2024, which paves the way towards a potential IPO or trade sale.

Limits To Growth

First, some context: when MediThinQ reached out to VentureBlick for fundraising and consulting support, it had already developed products and obtained regulatory approval for them in various markets. They were, broadly speaking, two lines of augmented reality displays conceived for applications such as dental work and surgery.

MediThinQ ScopEYE wearable AR eyes up display
MediThinQ's ScopEYE, a wearable Eyes Up Display that changes how surgeons can access information in the operating theatre

In the opinion of Mr Seung Joon Im, the founder and CEO of MediThinQ, what his startup lacked at that time was an effective commercial strategy. To compound the problem, the company was then negotiating a sales contract with one of the world’s largest healthcare distributors; the deal could make or break MediThinQ.

There were also challenges in going global. While MediThinQ had a strong foothold in its home market of South Korea, the company faced language and cultural barriers that hindered its expansion into other markets. Finally, finances were a concern as well. Despite being on the verge of commercialisation, MediThinQ was facing the end of its runway, which meant impending cash flow issues. It thus needed additional funding for production, further R&D, as well as other sales and marketing activities.

The VB Super Incubator

Although MediThinQ’s initial ask was for ad-hoc fundraising and advisory services, its traction made it a suitable candidate for VentureBlick’s Super Incubator programme. The company was thus invited on board to receive full-spectrum support as a Growth Category startup.

Joining the programme was a turning point for MediThinQ. For a start, VentureBlick helped to rework its pitch for an international audience, then arranged investor showcase events across Asia and Europe. These efforts have translated to some US$3.6 million being raised for MediThinQ’s Series B round.

Seung Joon Im MediThinQ VB Connect Europe
Mr Seung Joon Im, founder and CEO of MediThinQ, at VB Connect, an investor showcase event held in Berlin

On the commercial front, VentureBlick’s team optimised MediThinQ’s negotiation strategy by reprioritising some key clauses that were being ironed out. The distribution deal was eventually concluded favourably, with a second (related) one signed shortly after. Together, they secured MediThinQ’s access to the US and Japan – two of the world’s largest healthcare markets.

The Super Incubator’s venture building activities extend elsewhere. MediThinQ’s marketing materials, for example, were glocalised for overseas audiences, both to increase its brand equity and to support its global expansion. In much the same way, the programme also secured various partnerships for the company. Notably, a regional CDMO with facilities across APAC has formalised a partnership with MediThinQ, thus giving it the production capabilities crucial for its ongoing commercialisation.

MediThinQ has made great strides in its progress towards profitability and an eventual exit. At the time of publication, it is just two days away from delivering its first batch of products to the US market. Large scale production is also underway with its CDMO partner. In addition, the company is exploring a potential deal with a major Chinese distributor, and has launched new, higher-value products to bolster its portfolio.

Mass production of MediThinQ's products at its CDMO partner's facility
Ongoing mass production of MediThinQ's products at its CDMO partner's facility

Leveraging The Ladder(s) 

For startups that are considering incubation or acceleration programmes, MediThinQ’s experience offers some insights. Beyond the obvious, such as joining an appropriate programme at the right time, it’s also important to consider other intangibles. 

Chemistry is an oft-overlooked one. Before MediThinQ was formally inducted into the Super Incubator, the startup had several chances to collaborate with VentureBlick’s teams in South Korea, Singapore, and Europe. This “dating” phase was what allowed the two partners to ascertain the suitability for deeper collaboration, and what convinced them to proceed. Spoiler alert: subsequent work under the Super Incubator has been smooth sailing, with great results to boot.

VentureBlick Super Incubator for MediThinQ
Shared success: MediThinQ's official induction into VentureBlick's Super Incubator programme

An incubator/accelerator is only as effective as the startup’s ability to execute on its feedback. So, it is crucial for the startup not to limit its own growth. In VentureBlick’s experience, this can happen in various ways. An ineffectual member, for instance, can stall progress by being too slow to capitalise on opportunities. Likewise, poor judgement can cause a startup to favour subpar strategies – sometimes against good advice.

MediThinQ demonstrates what an effective, responsive team with sound judgement can accomplish. From attending a trade show in Singapore with barely a week’s notice, to visiting a potential partner’s facilities over the Christmas holidays, the startup has routinely gone above and beyond to leverage opportunities and drive its business forward. This hasn’t just created tangible progress, but also instilled confidence in MediThinQ’s partners and customers.

As MediThinQ continues on its growth trajectory, its needs will change accordingly. The Super Incubator will, of course, match this with an evolving suite of support and services. If you are a founder with a healthcare startup who's looking to take your ideas into the real world, our tailored programme may just be what you need. Speak to us to find out more.


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