Interview with Min-Sung Sean Kim

Venture Capitalist and Fund Advisor

"There is an enormous potential for the health of our society in digital health start-ups!"

About Min-Sung Sean Kim

Min-Sung Sean Kim is an expert in venture capital and digital health and acts as a fund advisor. As a former company founder, he knows the challenges and difficulties of building a business. As an investor, he has invested in both early stage and later stage companies, as well as in venture capital funds. As part of his investment activities, Min-Sung was a partner of a Berlin-based venture capitalist specializing in digital health investments and later participated in the successful establishment of the strategic growth fund. All this makes him a real industry expert. Min-Sung sees the opportunities offered by digitization in the healthcare industry in particular in the positive effects for society - he always keeps an eye on the trends and innovations in Germany and overseas.

Magnus

As an investor, you focused on the digital health industry very early on. How did it come about? When did you realize that it was worth investing here?

Min-Sung

I am a big fan of social responsibility. In the healthcare sector, two worlds come together that have a great attraction for me. On the one hand I can work in the economic sector and on the other hand I can get involved in social activities. When the opportunity arose to invest in the healthcare sector with XLHEALTH, I saw the enormous potential that start-ups can have for the health of society. That is why I have chosen this path.

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

From the pioneering work in Germany as an investor in digital health to the present day - what has changed?

Min-Sung

The teams are no longer "first time" founders. Many of them have good experience from other verticals (e.g. operational experience or experience with investors). In addition, the number of investors dealing with the topic of digital health has increased. Likewise, more and more corporations understand that digitization is becoming more important and that they need to open up a little.

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

In view of the Digital Supply Act (DVG), which will come into force at the beginning of 2020, the industry will undergo a number of changes: What does this mean for startups in the digital health sector?

Min-Sung

For high-quality Digital Health Start-ups, the DVG simplifies the assumption of costs by the statutory health insurance - a long overdue step. Really exciting and a world leader is the quality assessment provided for in the process, in which providers can prove a positive effect on care for the first time with real application data outside clinical studies. The amount of reimbursement depends on the actual outcome of the treatment - an issue that is becoming increasingly important for all care providers. I am convinced that continuous evaluation and individual adjustment of treatment is a key element of the healthcare of the future - which is why I have invested in Thryve, among others, a specialist in comprehensive health measurement.

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

Also with the Digital Supply Act (DVG), health insurance companies may now - in order to promote the development of digital innovations - use up to two percent of their financial reserves for investments, e.g. in start-ups. Are the health insurance companies already in the starting blocks? How will this change the market for Digital Health in Germany?

Min-Sung

In the past, many health insurance funds had already created opportunities to cooperate with ventures and to invest in individual cases (Barmer, Healthy Hub). The DVG is now creating far more precise possibilities and incentives to expand this and health insurance companies are showing great interest in using these possibilities.

It is too early to say whether and how this will shape the market for Digital Health. This is because the detailed framework conditions for direct investment are still unclear - for example, how the risk of loss for the funds can be limited and to what extent this will limit the ability of a venture capital vehicle to act. Investments will probably work best in those areas where cash registers are also a natural strategic partner due to their business model. This applies, for example, to the field of chronic diseases, the costs of which must be borne by health insurance funds, or to the area of the anonymised use of data from digital health records, which health insurance funds must make available to all insured persons from 2021. 2020 will therefore be a very exciting year for our scene! I'm looking forward to it!

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

You have made worldwide investments in Digital Health for Allianz. With your international outlook: What trends are emerging for the digital health industry? Are there differences between Germany, Europe and overseas?

Min-Sung

In America we are further ahead with telemedicine than in Europe. Although companies like Doctolib and Kry have also raised considerable sums of money. Increasing digitisation makes it possible to move from a fee-for-service culture to an evidence-based reimbursement system. It will be no different in Europe.

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

How do you determine whether a company in the digital healthcare industry is worth investing in? What criteria do you pay particular attention to?

Min-Sung

The market dynamics and revenue are important indicators for me. I also always pay close attention to the team and their integrity, competence, compatibility and humility.

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

Are you annoyed about investments that have not been made?

Min-Sung

Definitely. In some cases, however, one is glad not to have invested.

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

You are also co-founder of digitalhealthVC. There you will regularly report on the news and insights of the digital health industry with your newsletter "15min Digital Health Briefing". In your opinion, what has been the most exciting news for you in the last few months?

Min-Sung

Clearly - four Digital Health IPOs! It was about time ;). In general it is fun to see what happens, even if it is sometimes really frustrating. Digital Health is still new territory, not only in Germany, but also in America and all of Europe. If you want to read more about it, feel free to subscribe here: https://bit.ly/2LRaFh3

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

You travel a lot. What are your top 3 things to recharge your batteries after a day full of appointments?

Min-Sung

Walks with my Labrador, a good breakfast with my wife and learning something new every day. This is how I charge my batteries.

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

As a digital health enthusiast - which modern digital gadgets do you use and for which sport?

Min-Sung

I am a big fan of the Apple-Watch, because it measures all activities (including swimming). Furthermore, one of my Laterstage Investments has a cooperation with Apple!

Min-Sung Sean Kim

Magnus

And outside of the health industry, digital media and the start-up world: What inspires you?

Min-Sung

I would very much like to find back to my piano passion. I have been playing the piano since I was 6 years old. I have lost this passion for about 5 years and I wish to get it back.
Min-Sung Sean Kim

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