If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to apply your gust to education, we highly recommend our new episode of Digital Health Interviews. We are still in Bangkok, Thailand, and have a guest who took on the fantastic responsibility of improving the knowledge of young parents in their difficult but best activity — Jonas Koblin, Founder and CEO at Mali Family Health.
Jonas Koblin: works in the Health, Wellness & Fitness industry. Founder and Head of Strategy in the following companies: Niche Nation, We Do Asia Co., and Sprouts. Founder and CEO at Mali Family Health. Has been working for himself for 20 years. His main mission is to make learning in Thailand better, more social, and more accessible at any stage. A father of two.
Around 8 years ago, Jonas got interested in education, mainly because he saw that many of his company’s staff weren’t very interested in learning more: “They got comfortable in status quo, making money and living their lives. It frustrated me because I wanted them to be curious about developing, finding new interests, and becoming better at what they are doing or doing something else. I started reaching into education. In this context, I got interested in early childhood education and programs for pregnant women. According to Nobel prize-winning economist James Heckman, prenatal care produces the highest return on investment in education. As a society, we should try to spend as many resources as we can to allow a healthy pregnancy.”
Jonas was inspired to work on the app of Mali Family Health when his wife became pregnant. The app is aimed to give free medical information to mothers and new families who may not be able to afford frequent medical consultations, live far from a hospital or need more resources than sometimes contradictory amateur information found on the Internet. Mali Family Health works like a feed that parents can scroll through to read about pregnancy tips and doctor-approved articles as the term progresses. It tries to focus on helping for 1000 days from the child’s “conception” to his second birthday.
As a whole, Jonas is managing 5 companies. Each of them is still operating and successful: “I also have one hobby — Sprouts YouTube channel, it’s quite popular as well. All my companies were created by myself. Three companies I’m not much involved in anymore. I have had unsuccessful businesses, too, but I’m not concentrating on some failures: they are essential. Sometimes you fail and don’t do it again because it’s not worth it.”
Let’s speak more about Sprouts. It was founded in 2018 and now consists of several parts: the Mali medical app, an offline early learning center, a YouTube channel with lots of supportive videos, and the Try Fail Do social learning platform: “At the very beginning, we started an app and wanted to build a training center for teachers. We began with YouTube, showing there all the problems of Thai education without presenting solutions — we wanted our audience to suggest them. Our aim was to influence teachers through the parents.”
So Mali Family Health came out of Sprouts and is one of its directions. It is using a mix of options on how to monetize the app: advertising banners, referral to insurance companies, selling goods, and online consultations.
Jonas Koblin: “It was very hard for us to find the right solution. Most of our users use the app for a very specific period only. For some time we tried different ways to sell the product. We have very high conversion rates. It’s not gonna be a massive company, but it’s going to be a good company.”
On the roadmap of Jonas and his team, there is making a new app concerning the time before pregnancy for families who wanna get pregnant.
At the end of the interview, Jonas told about mistakes he made as a startup founder in order to share his useful experience: “I did one big mistake when we realize we need more funding. I was looking at what happens around the world. If you’re a startup founder, you usually go to the website and look at what is going on somewhere in America: you read about these funding rounds and think that to have such sums of money, some companies should have fantastic business models. You want to use that story, that narrative for your own fundraising. A year or two later the market may crash, and the company that raised 200 million is worth 20 million now. Maybe this business model doesn’t work, and they were just good storytellers. I think we should focus more on trying to understand our own users and what business model we can use for us. Maybe we are not a startup that can raise 5 or 10 million dollars at the moment. But we work on what we have by our own means.”
Our previous episode was with Kanpassorn Eix: The Startup Potentially Saved the Founder’s Life.
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