Social effect start-ups deal with special obstacles-
Social effect start-ups deal with special obstacles-- signing up with the best accelerator is crucial
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Andrea Hak

The branded content editor at TNW, Andrea has written on a variety of topics, including gender predisposition, AI, and climate technology. She is (all programme).

The Branded Content Editor at TNW, Andrea has written on a wide range of topics, including gender bias, ClimateTech, and artificial intelligence. She is always searching for tales that examine the social and political impact of new innovations.

A increasing number of innovators are using the power of creativity to address some of society’s most pressing problems, from developing self-monitoring digital health platforms that give users greater autonomy to coming up with fresh solutions for preserving renewable resources.

Today, on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, it’s especially important to recognise the advancements that a growing number of creators have made in making innovation open, equal, and accessible to everyone, from developing tools that take into account deaf and blind communities to using AI to develop cutting-edge advancements in prosthetics.

These start-ups must contend with additional challenges because of the unusual and frequently disruptive approaches they use to address common problems. They usually struggle with developing their business and organisational structures, complying with regulations and administrative red tape, obtaining funding, and promoting their goods and services.

This is something that Zeng Xi Feng, the founder and CEO of TangTangQuan, a new platform that offers children with Type 1 diabetes professional health management, is all too familiar with. His company wants to use wearable technology and digital innovation to help diabetics maintain a normal life and fight pressing issues like prejudice in social settings and gaps in medical insurance cover.

Despite the potential TangTangQuan has to improve lives, Xi Feng and his team had to deal with a number of challenges.

Challenging the status quo

Ironically, encouraging people to change their behaviours and viewpoints is the main challenge social impact start-ups face rather than developing a new solution. As Xi Feng noted, many patients with chronic illnesses place a greater emphasis on medication and physical examinations than on ongoing health monitoring and management, which are actually more helpful for therapy.

“Creating a service design is the hardest challenge for startups in the digital health sector. Patients with chronic illnesses are accustomed to paying for doctor visits, physical prescriptions, and tests, but they have no notion of paying for digital services.

Xi Feng revealed that less than 10% of consumers willing to pay for the health service, despite the fact that the type 1 diabetic community is currently among the persistent illness community’s most concerned about continuous health management.

Acquiring financing

Many VCs continue to promote the outdated notion that social influence cannot be profitable, particularly when it is aiming at brand-new and niche consumers. This can make it difficult for many social impact start-ups to raise money from investors who are normally risk averse.

“The type 1 diabetes we are focusing on is actually a very small neighbourhood with few customers. Many of our colleagues and financial backers believed that our team would not survive the fierce competition using such a large group to serve such a small number of clients. As a result, we do not receive as much money from VCs as other businesses in the field of digital health.

Constructing a network

To obtain the effect, credibility, and network TangTangQuan needed to reach more consumers, Xi Feng and his team knew partnering with a major market gamer would be the best course of action. It would be hard to get attention.

“Company medical insurance in China is still in its infancy. Working with business insurance companies is the only way to launch the business model as soon as digital health start-ups in Europe and the US can, according to Xi Feng.

That is why they decided to enter the OPPO Inspiration Challenge, which aims to provide start-ups with creative solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing the globe.

TangTangQuan was selected as one of the top 10 ideas in the 2022 OPPO Inspiration Challenge, giving it access to the brand’s tech, marketing, and organisational experts and allowing it to forge a longer-term partnership.

Could signing up with an accelerator program be right for you?

Joining an accelerator programme is a great way to gain the support, mentorship, network, and presence you need to advance your startup. You must select the ideal candidate for your company.

1. Specify your objectives and requires

Finding the programme that best satisfies the unique needs of your start-up is essential because each one has unique strengths and areas of emphasis. Start by clearly stating the long-term goals of your startup. It’s critical to consider the stage of development a start-up is in and what it would require to go to the next stage, whether that be money, access to new markets, or innovation.

OPPO was actually chosen by Xi Feng as a partner because it provided TangTangQuan with the innovation and market influence it needed to launch its business.

Before joining this issue, we had actually been researching the OPPO watch on our own. We wanted to integrate the artificial pancreas and blood sugar tracking apps into the OPPO watch, and then have the watch upload blood sugar data to the cloud so that the client’s parents could track their child’s blood sugar remotely in real time and manage it locally.

TangTangQuan started working with the company after being selected as one of the top 10 winning bids in 2015. More people with type 1 diabetes can now receive assistance using the OPPO watch (Chinese version) and the app. Its IoT team has also worked with TangTangQuan to enhance data connection and transmission, making the app more accurate and user-friendly.

Of course, I think the value of participating in the OPPO Inspiration Challenge is still in the previously described business design optimisation. Digital health start-ups in China still find it difficult to charge for their services, but by connecting with OPPO hardware, we can physically productize the service while also having the capacity to transfer data from another location and simplify the business.

2. Evaluate network gain access to

The market impact and legitimacy of accelerator programmes should be taken into account while evaluating them. Look into the network of the programme much more thoroughly, both in terms of potential business partnerships and its media presence. A reputable accelerator can provide crucial introductions, partnerships, and support from skilled specialists who can help advance your start-up.

“OPPO’s brand effect and company awareness remain high, which is a good recommendation for us, of course. Our participation in the Inspiration Challenge resulted in a variety of media coverage, which contributed to our enhanced exposure. At the same time, we established a large number of new partnerships and created industrial capacity. We were also invited to participate in the filming of a video that would help us advertise our start-up business to a wider audience.

3. Research study previous alumni

Look for programmes with a proven track record of achievement, with graduates who have actually gone on to achieve notable turning points or had significant market impact. Programmes that have generated successful start-ups in your specific industry can also provide crucial market connections and credibility. Study the program’s alumni network, and don’t be afraid to get in touch with former participants.

2023 OPPO Inspiration Challenge now open for applications

The OPPO Inspiration Challenge may be right for you if you’re a social impact start-up creating innovative new services in the areas of digital health, accessibility, and environmental management.

By providing funding, support, and cooperation opportunities, OPPO and its international innovation community partners, including Qualcomm, GSMA 5G IN, Amazon Web Services, and LinkedIn, want to bring fresh and brilliant ideas to reality. By interacting, OPPO believes that these changes will have a positive outcome and inspire greater awareness of the issues affecting global neighbourhoods.

A reward of $50,000 (tax included) will be given to each of the final top 5 winners. The top 15 will be welcomed to OPPO’s Acceleration Camp, where they will get mentoring from industry experts and business associates. The top 45 people in the world will have access to additional collaborative opportunities.

Your proposal must be submitted by June 30, 2023. For more information, see the main OPPO Inspiration Challenge website.

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