Save your own life using Mr. Help
Written by 馬嘉駿
Translated by 半月
Have you seen your friend or family fainting in front of you? How would you save their lives within a few minutes while feeling nervous and helpless?
Pi-yuan Tang, co-founder of Azuki Beans Design Lab, was confronted with this situation when his wife was pregnant because of her low blood pressure. This incident made Tang think about the solution regarding calling for help in this kind of emergency. In 2015, Azuki Beans released “Mr. Help! ”, the solution for people with cardiovascular issues to call for help. One can start the emergency procedure via WiFi by simply pulling a plug out of the earphone jack on the cell phone.。
Pull the plug, ask for help.
Azuki Beans was founded in early 2015. The three founders were classmates in the department of Architecture, FCU, Taiwan. With their philosophy of “One design for One issue,” they focused on providing solutions in the healthcare industry. Their first product was Mr. Help!.
Users need to install Mr. Help’s App on their cell phone. In case of emergency, they can pull the plug in the earphone jack themselves. If the plug is out for more than 10 seconds, the cell phone will ring loudly. Meanwhile, the system will send data of the user’s current position to three preset contacts. If the contacts do not respond, the system will make a phone call automatically. Users can put personal medical information inside the App and healthcare professionals can make use of this when administering first-aid treatment.
Mr. Help aims at senior citizens. To make it easier to use, Mr. Help does not require charging nor extra SIM card. In addition, Azuki Beans proposed the idea of “Emergency medical assistance network”. Through Mr. Help, they would like to build a community of families, neighbors, caregivers and medical professionals. This can save patients an enormous amount of time and can be applied to women, children and seniors who need to call for help.
Lowering the threshold for seniors
Mr. Help aims at addressing medical care issues senior citizens with mobile devices. “In Taiwan, there are more 3 million senior citizens aged more than 65 years old. There are 8 million senior citizens in Korea, 30 million in Japan, 40 million in the US and nearly 300 million in China. In this gigantic market, we think that consumers care the most about safety issues for the seniors. Most digital products on the market are difficult to learn to use. People may need to pay extra money for learning. This makes most digital products barely achievable for many consumers.”
After some market and product research, Mr. Help set their target audience to be people aged around 60 with smartphones. Azuki Beans would like to use the first users to test their product, service and marketing strategy and make modification based on users’ feedback. Their goal is to begin in Taiwan and go attack other markets with senior citizens.”
“We hope to enter mass production phase and put our products on shelf as soon as possible with feedback from our potential clients. Next, we would like to collaborate with senior healthcare institutions, communities, social welfare institutions and the government to make Mr.Help more capable of saving people’s lives.”
Finding resources to overcome challenges
Azuki is a recently started company. With limited resources, they need to do everything from market development, product design, testing, production, channel to marketing themselves. They laughed and said that the biggest challenges was sampling and pilot production.
Many start-ups cannot afford the basic amount for factory production. Fortunately, Azuki beans joined a local incubator Innosquare founded by New Taipei Municipal government and NCTU. They met producers during the one year program and managed to do pilot production. In addition, Mr. Help earned a subsidy from the “Project of Subsidies and Incentives for Taipei Industry” for their product.
Last year, they were invited to “Meet Taipei” Start-up exhibition. At the time, Mr.Help was in prototyping phase. Even so, people were curious about the product and wanted to know when Mr.Help will be on the shelf. “We got feedback like ‘I want to buy one for my family!’ That was really encouraging, making us able to keep going.”
From 2016 IDEAS Show to the world
This year, Azuki Beans participated in the IDEAS Show organized by the Institute for Information Industry, Taiwan. It was the first time that APEC member representatives were present in the exhibition. In this occasion, participants can have direct contact with international venture capitalist, startups and incubators. For Mr. Help, it was a chance to broaden their horizon. “We participated in numerous competitions and exhibitions for start-ups. This makes more people see our product. We also got the chance to interact with other start-ups, judges and investors. In this process, we learned a lot and thought of solutions to many unsolved problems.”
“We will keep improving our design. In the near future, we would like to bring our product to Japan and the US, empowering seniors around the world to save their own lives!”