Andrew Work speaks to Julianna Ko, CEO and Co-Founder of Bonnect, who was a guest speaker at the MEMSI Showcase 2017 which is a two-week long, fully immersive bootcamp for aspiring hardware system innovators from universities in Hong Kong and from MIT designed to build up skills in entrepreneurship, hardware making and product development for connected devices with an Internet of Things (IoT) flavor. In the showcase, Bonnect has brought a product to the market that monitors baby’s nutritional intake accurately, helping alongside the babysitters in Asian household such as domestic helpers or grandparents.
NEXCHANGE: Hi I’m Andrew Work with NexChange and we are outside the Node, MIT’s new headquarters in Hong Kong. They’re running the MEMSI program. This is a project where they get 12 students from MIT and they bring them to Hong Kong. They work with 12 Hong Kong University students to develop new products and new business plans in a high-pressure environment for two weeks. Sometimes those products actually become companies.
We have with us Juliana Ko, the founder of the Bonnect and what project that they worked on later became FeedieBaby which is a product that is in the Hong Kong market now. It is helping parents to track how much their children consume. Juliana, congratulations on finishing the first program getting a company going. Can you tell us about the FeedieBaby and what it does for parents?
JULIANNA KO: So FeedieBaby is a smart diet tracker that helps parents understand baby diet patterns so what we do is help them to analyze and measures how much a baby consume every single feed and helping us share this information among family members.
NEXCHANGE: Okay in a reliable way I mean because in Hong Kong you have a lot of people feeding the baby that aren’t necessarily the parents. It’s not one baby one person feeding it. Can you say a little bit about that?
JULIANNA KO: Sure so in a lot of friends family they have baby carers from domestic helpers and also grandparents to feed the baby. Especially when mothers have to go to work, two months after labor, so that’s why we rely on babysitters to help us feed the baby.
NEXCHANGE: Of course and they always want to say the baby ate, don’t worry I’m a genius with the baby. But the FeedieBaby tells you the truth. Now you got the product out into the market. It was a hit but I understand it was also a hit with people that wanted to copy catch you. Can you talk about that?
JULIANNA KO: Sure FeedieBaby has filed all the necessary patent to protect the innocents. However as an early-stage startup, we don’t have that much resources to go after some giant in the industry. So what we are doing right now is to compete in terms of speed. So we have launched a product on IndieGoGo last month and we are helping to gather more informations about our customers and how people use a product to bring better features and innovation.
NEXCHANGE: So when you get copied by the big guns, you don’t always have the financial resources to go and fight back so you just got to be fast into market. It’s great that you’re coming down here and sharing your experience as a MEMSI graduate with the next crop of MEMSI kids going through this MIT program.