Tuesday Mar 30,2021 | Incubator News
In this article, BIG interviews a brother-sister duo, Maryann & Bryan Se To as they embark on their entrepreneurship journey. Together, they are working on Calibrate, a pain relief solutions marketplace: https://www.calibratesg.com/
Introducing the sibling duo:
Maryann is a final year marketing student in Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Co-founder of Calibrate. She oversees marketing and business development - from strategizing content to creating collaterals and putting on her thinking cap for areas of improvement.
Bryan is the Founder of Calibrate (and the elder brother!). He oversees technology, business development and handle product discovery, delivery and the business strategy. Before focusing on Calibrate full-time, he was a tech consultant at Accenture and attributes his working experience to developing his passion in product delivery and discovery.
In January 2021, Calibrate was awarded funding by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) so Bryan took a leap of faith and decided to quit his corporate job to focus the start-up.
What's your startup story?
Bryan: At 24 years old, my chiropractor told me that I have a body of a 40 year old. I remembered how I was in shock because it means that I have not been taking good care of myself for the longest time ever. I’ve been experience lower back pain and numbness in my fingers despite in my 20s.
However, both Maryann and I realised that our friends and family around us were constantly complaining about their lower back, neck or shoulder issues too. When we started digging deeper, common reasons included:
- “Long working hours”
- “Bad sitting posture”
Up to 80% of Singaporeans suffer from back pain at least once in their life. In today’s fast paced society, this issue is even more prevalent amidst the long working hours.
Maryann: That marked the start of Calibrate. Our goal is to digitalise the wellness industry and effectively recommend users to the most suitable practitioner for their body pains. It may be difficult for users to choose the most suitable type of practitioner due to lack of information across the wellness industry. We are working to create a pain assessment form to route users to the most suitable practitioner based on their body pains and we strongly believe that this is what users need.
In January 2021, we were awarded $50,000 SG Founder Grant. Since then, Bryan have been working full-time on it and I would be as well once I graduate from SMU. We have also recently participated in NUS UNICON’s pitch competition and came in as one of the top 6 finalists. Though we did not win, we are motivated to participate in more competitions to challenge ourselves.
Currently, we aim to have our new website launched in a few months' time but bookings are still available at our current minimal viable product(MVP).
Mobile version of CalibrateSG
What excites you most about your industry?
In the wellness industry, we are currently in the pain-relief space and we aim to solve body problems related to back, neck or shoulders pain.
We are excited to be working on creating personalized recommendations for users.
There are currently no companies attempting to create personalized recommendations in the wellness industry. To be frank, it is a tough process - we have to gather practitioners from different practices to discuss scenarios why one practice may be more suitable over the other. This involves lots of discussions and respect across practices due to different schools of beliefs.
We believe this is a good direction because many users are unsure of which practice type to go and has even wasted money, effort, time on trying many alternatives.
How is working together like?
Maryann: a sibling-duo sounds like a recipe for disaster, but we have learnt to compromise and understand that even if we hold differing views, we have our best interests for Calibrate.
What would you do differently?
It is definitely to talk to at least one customer everyday from the start. The main point is to constantly take in new information, understand users' pain points and we may just discover new 'AHA'moments.
Agility is key and I love how in a lean team like ours, we could gather customers’ feedback, and communicate to our tech team for them to work on immediately. Our turnaround for our new MVP was literally less than a day after a user interview ended!
Learning and failing fast is the beauty of a startup and we have learnt to embrace that as founders.
BIG was our first choice among the other 26 Accredited Mentor Partners (AMPs). We were fortunate to have 1-on-1 mentorship sessions with industry experts at Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR), Shirley Wong and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Christina Lim. They have many years of experience and provided feedback which were crucial in setting our path right. It was a pleasure working with our account managers, Summer and Chin Lim who provided us guidance and support.
We are grateful to be part of BIG Sep'20 cohort and will recommend it to other founders!
How does Calibrate bring value?
Maryann: Body pains may seem manageable at first, but it could eventually cause disruptions to your daily life and even result in long-term complications. We are solving an important and urgent issue which concerns our physical well being which has an effect on our mental state as well. With our deep empathy for users, Bryan first hand’s experience with back pain, and lastly, bold vision, we believe we can effectively recommend users to the most suitable practitioner and solve problems in the wellness industry.
We are pleased to offer 1-on-1 assessment for your Back, Neck or Shoulder pain: http://calendly.com/calibratesg
How can readers contact you?
Whether you are a user who needs help with your back pains, or a wellness practitioner who is keen to learn more about how Calibrate works or even an aspiring Founder who wants to chat, we can easily be reached via LinkedIn: Maryann Se To & Bryan Se To.