Startup story-Health League Uses Animation for Health Education, Creating Netflix in the Medical Industry

Everyone seems to have the following experience. When waiting in the hospital, there will be videos of health education or medical related notes on the walls. These materials are important, but no one seems to pay any attention to them. "These health education videos are too boring." Wen-Li Wang, who has background in public health, deeply feels that medical education should be popularized and the method for delivering these materials must be changed.


There are many hard and special terms in medicine. Whether it is a video explained by a doctor or a general article, they are actually difficult for general public to understand, not to mention the complicated reports. However, if animation is used to interpret medical related materials, just like watching a movie or a cartoon, fundamental medical knowledge has long been popularized and deeply cultivated. After receiving his PhD degree from National Taiwan Normal University in 2017, Wen-Li Wang founded the Health League to promote health education. The following year, he was selected as the Startup Terrace 2018 award winner for the Linkou International Entrepreneurship Settlement Demonstration Project of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and stationed in the Startup Terrace Linkou, realizing his entrepreneurial dreams.


Why choose a business model that looks like a public welfare and not like a business to start a business? Wen-Li Wang served in the Medical Department of Hualien Tzu Chi Medical Center. Over the past eight years, he discovered that children in rural areas have relatively low medical knowledge. They not only do not care about the doctor-patient relationship, but also do not understand fundamental medical knowledge or rights, creating misunderstanding in communication. Therefore, Wen-Li Wang and Xuan Zhao tried to shorten the medical content into easy-to-read cards and pictures to communicate with patients. It quickly attracted the attention of patients, solving the problem of rural medical treatment and communication gap.


Leave the White Tower and Start a Business to Promote Health Education


Wen-Li Wang and Xuan Zhao, who are partners and were supposed to have a stable and well-established life in the hospital, chose to start a business together. The intention of establishing the Health League is very simple. It is hoped that through fun animated videos, the people can understand medical related materials quickly to solve the communication problem between doctors and patients. The original intention of starting a business at that time has changed the long-term shortage of health education. Today, more than 100 animated films have been produced in the cloud. The two have found meaning in life from their entrepreneurial experience and many hospitals have come from near and far to collaborate with Health League.


Although the concept of using videos to promote health education is not a new marketing method, Health League has created a barrier for entry. "There should be no one understand medical knowledge like we do." In just two years, two people with medical backgrounds have produced super cute animated films, and designed six animated characters, namely Ryan who symbolizes a doctor of medicine, the elephant of otolaryngology, the rabbit of ophthalmology, mother and baby kangaroo of gynecology and children immunity, etc. These IP roles have their own characteristics and medical significance, just like Qiaofu, they accompany children to learn about medical knowledge every day.


What is "tooth fissure sealing"? "Should wisdom teeth be removed"? At the beginning of this year, Health League collaborated with the Dr. Wells dental clinics to launch a series of health education animations in more than 40 clinics throughout Taiwan. Through the animation, children and parents are taught how to protect and take care of their teeth. The work accidentally created a big hit. Xuan Zhao mentioned that there was a dental clinic that opened during the epidemic. They worried that no one would visit the clinic during the epidemic. The video produced by Health League was played in the waiting hall, and children passing by were stuck in front of the display and watched the video quietly. There were nine patients made appointments that week.


Customers are from Near and Far away, Hoping to Reach a Goal of 1000 Clinics this Year


Responses like this made Wen-Li Wang feel more and more confident and attracted the attention of angel venture capital investment. Many overseas customers, medical clinics, pet markets and even medical material companies came to inquire about cooperation. Wen-Li Wang said that in addition to the authorization of animated characters, the business model of Health League also includes the installation of TV boxes for clinics, health education, intelligent audio-visual medical system animation production, medical marketing planning, and product endorsement, making Health League like Ogilvy in the medical world.


However, instead of like Ogilvy, Xuan Zhao hopes that Health League can become Netflix in the medical world. Xuan Zhao said that looking at the animation film market, there is not yet an audiovisual database for the medical industry. Wen-Li Wang and Xuan Zhao worked hard to produce high-quality animation with all-encompassing content, including ophthalmology, dentistry, and obstetrics and gynecology. There are currently more than 100 animated videos on the cloud. They can be rented to hospitals, clinics and health education centers at an annual fee. It is estimated to have more than 1,000 target subscribers.


With the Support of the Startup Terrace Linkou, Health League Accumulates Strength to Reach the World


On the road of entrepreneurship, it is not one step to success. There are always difficulties and challenges waiting for Wen-Li Wang and Xuan Zhao. However, there are many entrepreneurial resources supporting them along the way. The two have backgrounds in health education and decided to find opportunities in the medical market, which for sure requires the accumulation of a lot of experience and skills. The two have participated in the courses organized by the Startup Terrace Linkou including media marketing, network design, finance and laws to increase their entrepreneurial capability. In the first year of their entrepreneurship, they received NT$ 2.2 million subsidies from the government and the Startup Terrace Linkou. They also received cloud resources from the AWS accelerator to reduce the burden of entrepreneurship.


In the beginning, it may have been a business model that people were not optimistic about, but now it has tasted success in the market. Currently, Health League is collaborating with dental clinics that have higher portion of self-payment to develop projects, maintaining their revenue. In the next stage, they will focus more on the development of audio-visual platform provider. With the persistence of the two, dream of Health League being the "Netflix in the medical world" is just around the corner.

Figure: Two entrepreneurial partners, Wen-Li Wang and Xuan Zhao, turn animation characters into IP and open up IP business opportunities.


Written/Photographed by: Startup Terrace Editorial team