Name: Kenneth Wong
Graduating Year: 2005
Years at GSIS: 1994-2002
University College & Degree: Georgetown University, Baker Scholar
Current city of residence: Hong Kong
Could you introduce yourself a bit (background & profession)?
I left GSIS after Form 4 to study in the US (St. Paul’s, then Georgetown University). After graduation, I worked as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York, then invested in Internet and Technology stocks at Ziff Brothers Investments, before leaving with my boss to launch a hedge fund called Aravt Global. After 7 years working in New York, I moved back to Hong Kong to be closer to family, and now run a health tech platform called Evercare.
We see that you have launched your own company, Evercare, in Hong Kong. Tell us more about your company?
I never planned to start my own company. Like many startups, my entrepreneurial journey began from a personal experience. In 2015, my 95 year-old grandmother slipped getting out of bed, leaving her bedridden and in a lot of pain. None of my family members had caregiving experience, and it was hard to find professional support for her at home. That's when the concept of Evercare began. Without any healthcare or startup experience, I launched Evercare shortly after moving back to Hong Kong in 2016.
At Evercare, our goal is to reinvent the caregiving experience. Our parents and grandparents deserve to age with dignity and independence. We begin by sourcing and training professional caregivers in Hong Kong, including nurses, physiotherapists and speech therapists. We then add transparency and accountability by creating caregiver profiles with verified certifications and ratings. Today, Evercare has thousands of professional caregivers delivering care wherever needed: at homes, hospitals, elderly homes and corporations.
When COVID began to spread in Hong Kong, we realised we had a responsibility to contribute. We trained thousands of caregivers to become COVID swabbers. Since 2020, we have helped test over 2 million people for COVID-19, including all of Hong Kong’s taxi drivers, ESF school teachers, domestic helpers, travellers, kids and the elderly.
What do you like most about your work?
What excites me is tackling a real-life problem that many of us are facing. The truth is, each of us will likely assume the role of a family caregiver at some point in our lives, whether it is for our parents, grandparents or a loved one. Our roles will reverse as we transition from being their child to their carer. This is a huge inflection point that many of us are not mentally or emotionally prepared for.
With that backdrop, I see our work at Evercare as taking a complicated, multifaceted personal and societal problem and breaking it into sizable chunks for us to solve each day. Without a proven roadmap, we have to experiment, and it is this process of iteration that energises me. After all, I am building Evercare for my own parents, and for me and my siblings, so that we will all be much more prepared for our own caregiving journey when the time comes.
What is your advice for any alumni looking to start their own company?
The entrepreneurial journey is not linear. More often than not, especially in the early years, you will be stuck in the troughs. When progress seems slow and nothing seems to be working, the way you respond will define your trajectory. I’ve learned that growth almost always lies in the plateaus. The question is whether you can stay committed to experience the inflection points.
What has been the biggest challenge setting up your business?
Evercare is a two-sided marketplace model. That means we have two sets of customers: our caregivers and our patients. Building a two-sided marketplace from scratch is extremely difficult as you face a chicken-and-egg problem. Without caregivers, you cannot take care of patients, and without patients, caregivers have no reason to join your platform. The first few years were challenging: I personally scrambled to source and interview our first 100 caregivers, which took many months. Once you reach a certain scale, the network effects kick in, and growth becomes exponential.
What are your plans for the future?
To reinvent the caregiving experience, we have to successfully combine technology with human touch. Caregiving is unlikely to be fully automated, but it can benefit greatly from the transparency and efficiency that comes from digitalization. This is why we will continually invest in our technology platform while enhancing our caregiver training efforts. We also plan to expand Evercare geographically. After all, aging is not a problem that is unique to Hong Kong.
To accomplish this, we are busy recruiting new team members across our operations, product, partnerships and data teams. If anyone reading this is interested, please reach out to me directly at: email@example.com.
Tell us about your time as a student at GSIS. What were your most memorable GSIS moments?
Hiking Kota Kinabalu was incredible. Looking back nearly 20 years later, and especially now amidst COVID, we were all too lucky to share this experience together.
Which friends or teachers that you met at GSIS have you stayed in touch with?
The friends that I made at GSIS have been my friends for life. They were at the airport to send me off to boarding school, stood next to me at my wedding in El Nido, listened when I contemplated leaving my finance career, and supported me at the launch of Evercare.
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