W.ingK CLUB, with its accelerating program, is getting ready to wink at startups. While startups are usually in the grip of a painful drought due to a lack of management ability and funding, such a booster is expected to be the welcome rain that will water the dry land, eventually making the flowers bloom. Over 100 accelerators1 emerged since the implementation, according to the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS). Now joining them, Korea University (KU) is here to foster medical device startups.
“Today the role of hospitals is broadening into the cooperative research hub,” said the Director of Korea University Hospital Medical Device Innovation Center (KUMC), Professor Park Kun Woo (Department of Medicine). Active participation of medical experts can eliminate the current hindrance of the medical device industry. At present, the manufacturers long for networks with medical personnel to have the clinical trials, while the doctors lack the technology to realize their ideas. For the interests of both sides, KUMC has carried out win-win business cooperation projects.
▲ Professor Park Kun Wook. Photographed by Oh Ju Shin
“We are connecting, boosting, or anything with KUMC,” states the center. Surprisingly, the sentence is abbreviated to the program’s name, W.ingK CLUB, a new accelerating program provided by KUMC for medical device or health care startups. Twenty teams are going to be qualified for the monthly educational sessions in which lectures are provided by KU professors and the representatives of the related enterprises to materialize their ideas.
Aside from the education, inspections of the startups’ status are carried out in collaboration with MAPS, an intellectual property law firm, to check technical competency and marketability of the ideas of the startups. The specific checklists ask whether they possess intellectual property rights and whether they are capable of attracting investments. These status reports are used to provide customized advice in the mentoring sessions, which consist of two stages.
In the first stage, KUMC provides the basic mentoring program which consists of “networking day” and “demonstration day.” On the former day, the startups will have opportunities to visit the hospitals and on the subsequent demonstration day, they receive the evaluation and feedback on investor relations (IR) strategy. Through this process, startups can develop concrete plans for their ideas. The plans are then embodied with the advanced mentoring program that also deals with non-technological fields.
KUMC not only widens the opportunities of medical device startups, but also helps doctors speak up about what instruments they specifically need. It is able to do so by providing the startups with assistance at various levels and the network where all interested parties can gather. Thus, W.ingK CLUB is expected to be the foundation of win-win development. Jung Jae Bum (Manager of KUMC Commercialization Team) empathized that “KU has great inner human networks that are willing to help each other, so the future of W.ingK CLUB is bright.”
▲ Professor Jung Jae Bum. Photographed by Oh Ju Shin
1 Acceleration: comprehensive help for start-ups that lack business management ability and fund