Easing the challenges of Healthcare access across Asia

Justin Fulcher, Founder & CEO – RingMD

A technologist most of his life, programming since very early on, Justin stumbled into business when he was creating websites for his friends. One of his friends’ mother ended up seeing the website and she asked if he could do the same for her. This made Justin realize that actually he was adding value to people’s lives and that kind of sparked the business side of things.

Since then, building products and doing the service industry part of things wasn’t really fulfilling because he felt that these were making an impact for a small amount of time, not for a long period. He found his passion turn into reality with RingMD where the impact is actually changing people’s lives through their health, which is incredibly vital to everything we do. Passionate about trying to bring affordable health care to everybody and using technology to solve some of the world’s greatest problems, Justin chats with team ABT to divulge more about his endeavour & plans in engaging healthcare solutions.

Who has been your Inspiration and why?
Inspiration is interesting. Inspiration comes from within, actually. But, people around me have contributed to my desire to try to bring affordable health care to everyone. I think a big part of that stems from early childhood experience where seeing my father struggle with cancer for a couple of years. Thankfully he survived and got through that but that’s something that I wouldn’t want any son or any daughter to have to witness one of their family members or one of their friends have to go through and suffer from that experience. There are more than three billion people on earth have zero access to health care. Even just bridging the gap: bringing healthcare to their doorsteps through very basic means like an online video call, you can actually affect substantial change in the lives of all these people.

Did you know as a kid, that you’d become an Entrepreneur?
No, I’ve always just been curious to learn. I was a voracious reader. I always had a book in my hands: always interested and trying to understand the things around me, the people around me. It wasn’t some grand scheme to be an entrepreneur. I kind of stumbled into a business doing what I love which at the time was building websites and just using tech and programming, and just exploring and learning.

The business aspect of things came later. I didn’t even realize that you could actually create value by doing the things that you love in the lives of others. I always knew that I wouldn’t go down a very typical path. From early on I was just trying to learn as much as I could and trying to explore the passions that I had, which was that technology was super intriguing and programming was very intriguing. And these were things that I just loved to do. And that thankfully led me to the path that I’m on today.

Your views on affordable access to healthcare in future
I think that lack of access to healthcare is one of the greatest challenges that the world currently faces. So many socio-economic issues stem from not having access to healthcare. For example, the infant mortality rates in the developing world are so high. The death of a child is one of the most traumatizing things I’m sure that anyone can experience. Additionally, in many of these societies, having family members pass away early can have a big economic impact on top of the already traumatic and horrible emotional impact. There’s so much untapped productivity all over the world.

And if people are suffering from a lot of basic conditions that can be fixed with just getting the right medication or just getting the right medical advice you can unlock not only creative potential but also major social and economic potential as well.

Are employers now more willing to see entrepreneurial experience as valuable as compared to before?
I think one of the most important aspects of hiring people is trying to hire people and bring on people to the team that share a similar vision for one, and number two step up to the plate by owning what they’re responsible for. You need people that actually use a problem-solving approach rather than coming in and just doing what they’re told. So, of course, entrepreneurial experience is a positive in many cases because as an entrepreneur you’re faced with hundreds and hundreds of challenges each and every day. And especially if you’re starting out as an entrepreneur there’s no one else there, it’s only you. You’re the only person that you can really rely on because you’re the only person in the company at first. So going through those experiences I think are really valuable.

But I think what’s more important and not strictly limited to entrepreneurial experiences is going through challenges and how did you actually use your mind to overcome those challenges. How did you use the limited resources or the people around you to actually overcome any of those obstacles? That can be expressed in other ways, perhaps in an athletic sense or perhaps a personal fitness challenge or some other form of personal quest. It’s not strictly limited to entrepreneurship but entrepreneurship exhibits all those same characteristics.

What are the biggest hurdles for entrepreneurship in Singapore?
Access to talent. Talent and people are the most important part of any company. You live or die by your team. You live or die by those that are actually all contributing and hopefully working in the same direction to accomplish the mission that you are pursuing. Singapore being a smaller country in terms of population size has smaller talent pools then say the United States, China or India, just by sheer mathematics. In recent years the honing down on the ease of getting employment passes and being able to invite outside talent has been a bit of an obstacle as well. But I’m optimistic that in the future that will change for the better.

What’s your proudest Career Achievement so far?
Working every single day to try to bring affordable healthcare to everybody is a never-ending and satisfying type of focus. That’s something that despite so many different aspects and so many different things going on in the world, it’s something that is so critical to each and every one of our lives. And with healthcare, especially in each of our individual lives, it’s something that can turn on a dime so quickly.

If that’s not top of mind or a big focus for all of us it can be a severely negative experience. We need to extend the blessings that we have in terms of simple access to care in Singapore. We need to bring that similar level of care to the rest of the world. It’s only going to make the world a better place.

What Advice do you have for other aspiring Entrepreneurs?
Fall down seven times, get up 8.