IGNite, short for Innovators Gathering Night, is a series of fireside chats with biotech and medtech innovators to find out what ignites their passion to innovate within their fields. Encouraged by the overwhelming responses we received in the two previous sessions featuring Dr. Murray Robinson and Mr. Abel Ang, we invited Ms. Jane Wang, CEO and Co-founder of Roceso Technologies to share with us what IGNites her passion in her medtech entrepreneurship journey. The chat was moderated by Mr.Chris L. Hardesty, Director of the KPMG’s Life Science Practice out of Singapore.
Our journey with Jane started with her sharing with us her dream to be a doctor. Though she ultimately chose to major in mechanical engineering as an undergraduate, her passion for healthcare has always been there, which finally led her to start a company focused on healthcare-related innovation. She mentioned while her life as an entrepreneur may appear carefree to her friends on social media, it is highly stressful. One of the greatest challenges she and many other local entrepreneurs face is fundraising in a small market like Singapore, despite the government’s efforts to build the local ecosystem. This difficulty is exacerbated by the fact that investors in Singapore traditionally focus on software companies, making it more competitive for hardware companies like Roceso to attract investors. Although securing funding is important, she advised entrepreneurs to be selective about their investors because the entrepreneur-investor relationship is not a transactional one, but a long-standing collaboration that requires aligned ambitions and mutual understanding.
Jane sharing her experiences and insights with the audience
When asked about her expansion plans for Roceso’s flagship product EsoGlove, a hand rehabilitation device that was recently FDA-registered, Jane pointed out that FDA registration is merely the first step, selling a medical device abroad requires export licenses, customer service solutions, cost and risk analysis, manufacturing capacity considerations, etc. For emerging markets like China, however, she cautioned entrepreneurs not to rush into a market simply based on its population as there may be other considerations for example market maturity and intellectual property protection. She highlighted that a strong patent portfolio is insufficient to protect one’s innovative product from copy-cats and added that “the most important thing is to establish your brand and get recognized as the market leader while keeping up the innovation. You have to anticipate your customers’ needs and keep them in the loop on how you are working on the next generation to fulfill their requirements”. Roceso Technologies is also expanding their target customers by leveraging their soft robotic technologies to make rehabilitation devices for other parts of the body e.g shoulders and wrists.
Finally, Jane shared with the audience her experience of balancing entrepreneurship with a full-time job at the early days of her Roceso journey. She met her co-founder and started Roceso Technologies while she was completing a part-time Masters in NUS and working full time. Her relatively flexible schedule as a consultant allowed her to juggle her work and her company. However, as the company grew she realized it was the time to quit her job and focus on the company. She spoke frankly about the tough period of her early CEO journey and emphasized the importance of having the right people on board – people who are willing to and capable of learning things fast. With International Women’s Day coming up in a couple days, she encouraged female entrepreneurs to be stronger and more proactive to fight for their rights.
Participants listening to Jane and Chris
The event ended with a networking session where participants had the chance to interact amongst themselves, Ms. Jane Wang and Mr. Chris Hardesty. We hope that the insightful sharing session will inspire more future entrepreneurs to embark on their journey!
CEO and Co-Founder of Roceso Technologies
Jane Wang is the CEO and Co-Founder of Roceso Technologies, a pioneering robotics startup based in Singapore, that offers wearable soft robotic solutions for rehabilitation and assistive functions with the goal to bring independence and dignity back to people’s life. It is Singapore’s first and only soft robotics company helping patients with limb motor functions impairment.
Besides managing the day-to-day functions of the business, Jane is in charge of the business strategy and growth for the company. She is also in charge of the global expansion of the brand.
Prior to co-founding the Roceso Technologies, Jane worked in several multinational companies and excelled at multiple functions including engineering, human resources, sales, and consultancy. Jane has always been an entrepreneur at heart, having started an eCommerce business when she was only 20 years old.
She has a Master’s Degree from the National University of Singapore in Intellectual Property Management and a Bachelor’s Degree from Nanyang Technological University in Mechatronics Engineering/Robotics.
Chris L. Hardesty
Director, KPMG Singapore Life Science Practice.
Chris L. Hardesty is the Director of the KPMG Singapore Life Science Practice, overseeing the practice across key clients with emphasis on growth, safety and operational excellence programs. He relocated from the UK to Singapore in order to focus on developments in the APAC region.
As a member of KPMG’s Global Health & Life Sciences Centre of Excellence, Chris supports clients in 50+ markets on topics ranging from commercial strategy, R&D, supply chain, efficiencies, workforce, technology, merger and acquisitions, compliance, audit and tax. Prior to KPMG, he had accumulated extensive industry experiences across a variety of markets and project types and had postings in Brazil and the US. He is particularly passionate about public-private collaborations to drive safe, innovative and economically viable initiatives in the healthcare sector.
Chris holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BBA from the University of Texas (Austin).