Homecare

Jaga-Me's mission is to make quality healthcare accessible to the world and to make a social impact.

Start-ups have been thrust into the local business limelight with increasing frequency. In the last few years, news of start-ups have been making the rounds, their entry and exit fodder for business headlines. These ventures are often the brainchild of technologically savvy millennials who have come of age to take deal-making roles in business.

Jaga-Me, is one such enterprise, and an award-winning one at that.

Jaga-Me on a winning streak – less than two years old, it has already won several enterprise awards. Co-founders Aaron Lee (second from left) and Julian Koo (third from left).

The enterprise is an on-demand platform for home nursing and caregiving services, using technology as well as healthcare professionals to facilitate professional medical care.

Thoughtful services offered include in-home care-giving services, home nursing procedures to cut out unnecessary trips to hospitals, a medical escort service to bring loved ones for their medical appointments, and doctors who make house calls.

JagaPros, as staff are called, provide caregiving aid on a range of services from administering medication and tube feeding to simple wound management, assistance with bathing and toilet, eating and dressing, medication reminders and even companionship.

Only into its second year of operation, Jaga-Me has already tucked several awards under its belt – the joint-winner for the President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Start-Up of the Year 2017, and Singtel’s Future Makers list in 2016.

Business of social impact

While hospitals have large overheads, Jaga-Me’s decentralised operations capitalise on its lean cost structure and technological ingenuity. An administration team of 12 manages about 300 professional nurses and caregivers in the community.

“God has placed in my heart what it means to be the Antioch of Asia in the marketplace and from the perspective of entrepreneurship.”

“That’s the cost-benefit we want to bring to our consumers. That’s the way we can make an impact on healthcare in Singapore,” explains Julian Koo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

That impact has proved significant. To date, they have supported more than 600 patients. That number is four times more than what they first started out with.

Projecting Kingdom values

Aaron Lee, Jaga-Me’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO), shares enthusiastically: “God has placed in my heart what it means to be the Antioch of Asia in the marketplace – from the perspective of entrepreneurship.   

“When the enterprise moves out of Singapore, we bring along not just the business, but the culture of the company into the country.

“That means, if we build the right Kingdom values into the business, we take that culture out when we expand. That’s one way in which God can use the marketplace to deliver the promise of the Antioch of Asia for Singapore.” 

“The three co-founders are believers and friends as well. Since we are very open about our identity as believers, it is important that we project Kingdom values in our DNA.”

Jaga-Me wants to empower communities, and it all begins with having the right values.

Koo elaborates: “The three co-founders are believers and friends as well. Since we are very open about our identity as believers, it is important that we project Kingdom values in our DNA. It could be how we interact with one another, make decisions, and how we set the tone for certain things and our worldview.

“For example, one of our values is to honour one another – it’s from 1 Thessalonians 3:12 which says to extend brotherly love to each another. One of the key values that Jaga-me brings to the community is really to bring care to the people who are not able to care for themselves. That is a form of doing good.”

The Jaga-Me team is open about their identity as believers and conscious about projecting Kingdom values.

While its mission is to make quality healthcare accessible to all, there’s a bigger vision in the founders’ minds.

Lee frames the picture: “Fundamentally, there are a few levels that we bring in Christian values. First is in the service we do. God has placed in our hearts the desire to serve His people. Many people see healthcare as medical care. I have the opportunity to look at it from a different point of view, in terms of spiritual capital.”

He goes on to share how he had the opportunity to pray with fellow believing clients who used their services.

“That is the unusual part about our enterprise. It is not just caring for medical needs, but to show that God is there to support the clients. That is the angle we want to bring forth – even if that may not necessarily be possible for every client, whoever we can touch, we will try to touch.”

Investing in spiritual capital

At work, the core team starts weekly office meetings with prayer, but they are mindful of having an inclusive culture among those of other faiths, as Lee is quick to add. “God placed in my heart that we should give staff the option to step aside if they feel uncomfortable.”

So far, so good, “the staff are actually okay about opening the meeting with a prayer”.

“Many people see healthcare as medical care. I have the opportunity to look at it from a different point of view, in terms of spiritual capital.”

The founders make sure they take time to explain to their staff what the start-up stands for.

Koo elaborates: “It answers the whys for what we do. It also explains the bigger picture as to why this team should exist, and Who is sustaining us. We are not perfect and may fail but through the successes, they will hopefully get to know the God that we believe and have faith in. It also keeps us humble. When we do not hit our benchmarks, it shows that, hey, this is a Kingdom of grace, so we too should exercise that to one another. We also make known to the bigger team that the culture is not meant to be exclusive.”

It is this culture that Jaga-Me intends to take with them when they activate expansion plans in the region.

Scalable and profitable

Although one of Jaga-Me’s core key performance indicators (KPI) is to have a social impact, they are not neglecting the business side of things.

Being scalable and extending its reach into the community and beyond, are also targets. Therefore, much time is also spent on building systematic processes to iron out the kinks.  

Unlike most young start-ups, Jaga-Me is already a working model, earning revenue from the start. Its client base is growing in a fast-ageing society looking for quality medical care in the comfort of the home.

Bigger plans are on the table for this start-up. Koo details: “We are at the stage where we are looking at the scale. We are building capacity, doing more aggressive hiring as well as growing the business in terms of marketing and business partnerships. This business is what all people need, and we want to bring it to all who need it.” 

About the author

Karen Tan

Karen was a producer at Asia Business News (Singapore), Bloomberg News and CNBC Asia. She subsequently joined the Far East Organisation to oversee corporate social responsibility. Karen is now Associate Editor at Salt&Light.