China’s cosmetic surgery industry to double in market size by 2019, reaching RMB 800 billion ($116.3 billion), making it the third largest in the world behind the US and Brazil, according to China Association of Plastics and Aesthetics‘s report released in 2015.
The problem is that not many hospitals care about the after care element of plastic surgery. The recovery process after surgery is important, because the patients might have negative side effects, and some do suffer from anxiety. Aiming to fill this niche market, Korean startup CareMind provides recovery assistance service after the plastic surgery by connecting doctors to the patients.
Cosmetic surgery is a huge market in South Korea and China. South Korea, the so-called mecca of cosmetic surgery, enjoyed a boom in Chinese tourists heading to Korea for surgery in 2014. At its peak, Yoonje Shin, CEO and founder of CareMind, used to work as a broker to connect Chinese customers to Korean cosmetic surgery hospitals. Now that this boom to go Korea has cooled, in part due to the MERS outbreak in 2015 and worsening political ties, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Korea has since dwindled.
“For patients, it’s not a choice, they all have to go through this process,” Yoonje told TechNode. “After the surgery, doctors just ask the patients to wait a certain amount of time. Plastic surgery can have negative side effects, and the patients want to check if they are recovering well.”
In recent years, cosmetic surgery hospitals in China have mushroomed, along with platforms to promote these hospitals. Guangdong-based Gengmei (更美, more beautiful), a cosmetic surgery app, has more than 15 million users in major Chinese cities. Another cosmetic surgery app, Beijing-based SoYoung (新氧), received Series C funding from Tencent.
“The surgery reviews on these apps go over 100,000. Unlike Korean users, Chinese users share their plastic surgery experiences and also boast about their transformation process to others on these apps,” he said.
CareMind’s business model charges hospitals an annual RMB 2,400 for providing their solution to patients. The solution includes a checklist of actions the patients need to take every day, a chat room with the doctor so that customers can ask questions and doctors can answer them, and Care Diary, where users can take pictures of their recovery process, and note their changes. The company incentivizes the users by giving a monetary gift—hongbao (红包, red envelope)—when they share. Checking the patient’s diary, the doctor can comment and leave medical advice for the patient. Getting the database of customers is another asset for the company. They are now targeting second-tier cities in China, and plan to expand to first-tier cities.
CareMind pitched at the NEOPLY demoday on July 14th in at Chuangyebang in Shanghai. Other fresh-born startups from the demoday include Sodatransfer, a mobile money transferring service with minimal fees, and Wizpace, a Pinterest-like job searching platform for designers. INI Studio, a children’s educational video creator, posted 35 videos on iQiyi and Youku and got 1.3 million views in total, with its highest view of 300,000.