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Singapore-based Digital Health Startup Plano Wins World’s Most Innovative HealthTech Startup 2020 Award

Singapore-based Digital Health Startup Plano Wins World’s Most Innovative HealthTech Startup 2020 Award

Plano is the winner of the World's Most Innovative HealthTech Startup for 2020
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Singapore, December 1st 2020Plano Pte Ltd (hereinafter, Plano ) takes home the crown as the winner of the Galen Growth World’s Most Innovative HealthTech Startup for 2020. Besting 63 other startups from the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, Plano joins past winners Biofourmis, Halodoc and Hello Health Group.

This year marked Galen Growth’s fourth annual tournament, with 64 early stage HealthTech startups picked from HealthTech Alpha, Galen Growth’s proprietary HealthTech ecosystem intelligence and analytics platform of close to 7,000 startups from around the world. The startups were assessed through factors such as partnerships, clinical trials, funding and impact in the past year. 64 startups went through six single-elimination rounds by public votes, with past tournaments reaching close to a million votes. 

The Most Innovative HealthTech tournament was created in response to the shared ambition of Galen Growth’s co-founding team – bringing visibility to the promising digital health startups in the ecosystem selected by Galen Growth unmatched analytics. By offering the ecosystem a vote, with no jury bias, decision-makers, investors and entrepreneurs get the chance to propel their favourite startups into the limelight, enabling them to continue their mission and scale through much sought-after market recognition.

“Every year, the tournament helps to bring the HealthTech ecosystem together by allowing them to campaign for support and votes. With the enormous numbers of votes received every year, the tournament also signals to an ever-vibrant and competitive ecosystem. Throughout the tournament, we saw tremendous support for Plano. The founding team of Galen Growth still remembers Mo, the Founding Managing Director of Plano, back when we were at the same co-working space not so long ago. It was fantastic to see the growth and success of Plano since its beginning in 2017. We are thrilled about their future as they continue to potentially touch millions of patients’ lives through education, awareness and digital solutions to transform digital eye care. As we head to 2021, the Galen Growth team is looking forward to continuously support the HealthTech startups that are transforming healthcare around the world,” said Julien de Salaberry, CEO and Founder of Galen Growth.

Plano’s victory was announced at the closing of Galen Growth’s fifth annual Global HealthTech Summit. This year marked the first global Summit with the inclusion of the United States and European ecosystems. This year’s virtual edition of the Global HealthTech Summit also continues the yearly culmination of the industry’s finest thought-leadership, innovators and startups aimed at addressing the future of the global HealthTech landscape. From November 11th to 13th, the Summit saw over 100 exhibiting startups, and over 1000 participants from pharmaceuticals, insurers, hospitals and more, cementing a record-high turnout.

Speaking at the closing of the Summit, Plano’s Founding Managing Director and Associate Professor, Mohamed Dirani said, “We are very grateful to every single person who voted for Plano and equally grateful to Galen Growth for bringing together and acknowledging so many HealthTech startups from across the globe. I personally see this outcome as a win not just for Plano and its team but also for Singapore as a nation which continues to lead the world in supporting and empowering entrepreneurship.”

Plano is the first spin-off from the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI)-Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) Ophthalmic Technologies Incubator Programme. Founded in September 2017, Plano seeks to address myopia, which is a major public health challenge affecting an estimated 2 billion people today and will affect a projected 5 billion (half of the world’s population) by 2050.Plano launched the world’s first science-based parental control application, planoApp, with a vision to “Keep all eyes healthy in our digitised world”. Today, Plano has an ecosystem comprising planoApp, planoEyecheck, planoShop and planoKids, that offers a wide range of eye health wellness solutions for all kids, parents and adults.

Among Plano and several notable startups was X-ZELL , another Singapore-based startup who is also a part of Galen Growth’s 2020 HealthTech Cohort. X-ZELL was introduced into the tournament as a wildcard, successfully joining the top 64 with the help of public votes. The company first made headlines in 2017 when it found a way to routinely locate tumour-associated Circulating Endothelial Cells (tCEC) in a small, 10mL blood sample. Less than a year after that breakthrough, X-ZELL was able to present the world’s first tCEC-based blood test for the early detection of clinically significant prostate cancer. X-ZELL went on to finals, finishing at the first runner-up spot.

“Thank you to the Galen Growth team for creating such a powerful, global platform for the health-tech community. It’s safe to say the competition has become a fixture on our calendar and we already look forward to the 2021 edition. Having made the 2020 Finals has been an incredible experience for us – especially now that the competition is also covering the US and Europe. Heartiest congratulations to Mo and the team at Plano – we couldn’t be more excited for a fellow Singaporean company to take home the win – and thank you to everyone who voted for us and helped a wild card entry make the Grand Final. We will take it as a mandate to keep pushing ahead and bringing our early cancer technology to as many as people as possible,” said Dr Sebastian C.P. Bhakdi, the Founder and CEO of X-ZELL.

About Plano

Plano was developed with a clear purpose; to save sight and empower lives. With a culture of disruptive thinking grounded in real scientific research, Plano promotes the use of innovative technology to provide a solution to help mitigate the public health, societal and economic issues posed by excessive device usage. Plano’s founding Managing Director, Associate Professor Mohamed Dirani, has dedicated his life to the study and research of myopia and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School and an Honorary Principal Investigator at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA). In July 2020, Plano announced its strategic alliance with the global ophthalmic leader, Santen Pharmaceutical.  For more information, visit

Media Contact: Timothy Su
T: +65 6957 6796

About Galen Growth

Galen Growth is the global leader in digital health intelligence, analytics and matchmaking, empowering global Fortune 500 companies and institutional investors to fast track their growth strategies. Galen Growth is the only trusted expert dedicated to digital health innovation across the entire value chain of healthcare: from R&D to payments. We partner with proven HealthTech ventures, leading corporations and institutional investors to empower them to execute winning strategies. We believe the fastest, most effective way to scale digital health innovation is to be the preferred innovation partner for corporations, investors and startups to enable them to re-invent healthcare and realise its full societal value. With our unmatched and unequalled Asian, USA, M. East and European coverage, we are the only innovation platform capable of bridging the ambitions of global headquarters and investor teams to enable near term tangible business results. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Julien de Salaberry


1.         Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, et al. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology 2016;123(5):1036-42.

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