Founder Spotlight: Xiayi Zhang of EasyCare
Using transparency to provide for quality homecare services
By Glacer Barnett
Healthcare is an essential facet of modern society. It comes as an end result of the socioeconomic middle-class’ efforts to break the barriers of the wealthy and the privileged. Nowadays, the government allocates part of its resources to improving its country’s healthcare system. However, there is only a limited amount of resources that the government could afford. Financial support, thus, cannot be extended to those who require more intensive help, and it eventually becomes that individual’s own responsibility to take care of himself. This inevitably becomes a big challenge as medical expenses do not come cheap.
People then begin to seek for an alternative. Instead of requesting medical assistance from healthcare institutions, people begin looking for solutions that could cater to their financial and personal situations. Most opt to hiring trained specialists to help them cope with their illnesses at the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.
With this method, however, there can be a problem regarding the quality of healthcare that is being given. In an attempt to ensure the reliability and efficiency of this system, a woman named Xiayi Zhang made it a point to establish Easycare.
Easycare globally connects healthcare-related service providers and retailers. Beginning at the end of last year, 2015, Xiayi committed herself to the startup when her co-founder, Lawrence Lui, had a father that suffered from lung cancer. Due to high cost and poor service standards, Lawrence’s family decided to give up on formal medication and opted for home services instead. Lawrence confided to Xiayi, and after seeing the need to improve the quality of home healthcare, they decided to set up Easycare.
Easycare helps families and institutions by providing them with the means to book qualified care service at reasonable, standard pricing with flexible systems that would accommodate their needs. Easycare’s target customers range from individuals with aging parents, families with sick relatives, busy working parents with children, and even to singles with home and medical care needs (cleaning, laundering, cooking, etc.)
The caregivers consist of the unemployed and underemployed workforces who are in need of help in assimilating themselves back to society. Their performance quality is maintained and upheld through the use of a rating system that clients answer. Easycare works to ensure that their standards of service are high and that clients are satisfied.
A business from created from a wish for her parents
Xiayi leads an adventurous and colourful lifestyle. She was born and raised in China. And in 2009, she went to the Philippines for her undergraduate degree. She moved to Spain for her graduate school, and right after, she took an internship in New York.
After her adventure in the west, she went back to Asia to re-explore the area with a fresh mind and a different perspective. After working on some international projects in Beijing, Manila, and Shanghai, she settled in Hong Kong where she joined a financial service firm.
Her former colleague at Groupon approached her last year and asked if she had wanted to be involved in something healthcare-related. Agreeing to take part in the project, Xiayi, along with her new partner, did an in-depth market research and went through the details for half a year before launching Easycare by the end of last year.
Xiayi has worked for all sorts of companies—private, international, small, etc. After realizing the market potential and opportunity, she founded her own venture and seized it. Despite the disapproval of her parents, she ended up quitting her job to commit to Easycare full-time.
Easycare was inspired by Xiayi’s personal experience. Having witnessed family become ill, she found the gap and need of reliable care services. Through what occurred, Xiayi figured that a lot of other people needed Easycare’s services too. She set the business based off of how she would have liked it for her own family. Clients would have no qualms regarding the quality of care provided because Xiayi imagined the services they offered as if it were for her own parents. In the Philippines, where her parents are situated, Xiayi is fundraising to train Filipino caregivers to better Easycare.
There was over 60 billion USD market potential for home care services in Asia. Being educated in the Philippines, she found it to be a country with a lot of people having their own businesses, albeit in the traditional route. There was a culture of family businesses, to be passed down by the generations.
“0 to 1” philosophy for entrepreneurship
Having a successful businessman for a father, Xiayi was a witness to the difficulties of entrepreneurship. Starting from zero with no guarantees of success, becoming an entrepreneur was a great risk.
There aren’t many cases of businessmen being able to go back to their steady corporate life. When they fail, they can only step back and reflect on what they have done wrong before doing it all over again. There is great jeopardy in this line of work.
Xiayi considers herself “lucky.” Having a solid business network across different fields, she believes the support from family and friends is the backbone to her success. It was a tough decision for Xiayi to become an entrepreneur but she knew that it was in her blood. Her ambition to build great things is remarkable. Her success is truly an impressive feat.
Collecting and reflecting on small advices we receive shapes us to become who we are today. Xiayi made use of the knowledge and wisdom she gained from people; it led her to her present success.
She wouldn’t advise people to jump ahead to the unknown, though. “The startup life is not as sexy as it sounds. You should be prepared for a never-ending challenge in your life with a well-constructed business model, good understand of the dynamic market, and a reliable support team,” Xiayi shares.
Solutions should always be flexible to modification since the market is dynamic, so it would be wise to accumulate certain financial savings before jumping into it. It will also enable entrepreneurs to focus on finding the best solution for the market problem. To Xiayi, with a sustainable revenue model in her venture, her team wouldn’t need any compromise of the direction their goal is taking. And indeed, their goals keep getting brighter and more promising.