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Launching an Asian MedTech Startup in the U.S.


HKA was hired for two 90-day projects to introduce and secure continued coverage for Mediwhale, a Korean AI-health diagnostics company, to North American medical, technology and business media.  The first project was to publicize the company’s first presentations at key medical conferences and the second was to announce the company’s recent acceptance into multiple accelerator programs and their $9 million Series A funding.


Mediwhale’s innovative technology uses retina scans to diagnose future cardiac and kidney disorder risk quickly and easily. The interesting technology plus a founder’s compelling personal story and medical approvals by international regulators presented opportunities to engage media, but the challenges were clear to both HKA and Mediwhale, including:

  • The company was unknown in the U.S. and a language barrier limited types of media opportunities we could pursue, especially live interviews.
  • The first project coincided with November U.S. national elections and Thanksgiving, greatly reducing media availability.
  • The technological upside required some understanding of current medical best practices and terminology.
  • Only one hard news hook, the Series A funding announcement, occurred, and it was during the final month of the second project.
  • The company’s technology was in pre-FDA application and many media outlets initially were not interested because it wasn’t further along in the FDA approval process.

Strategy & Tactics

HKA worked with Mediwhale to identify several news hooks to introduce the company to North American media to offer a diverse, news-friendly narrative to a variety of media. Press releases combined with feature pitches helped spur major media interest:

  • HKA ensured the scientific presentations release emphasized that the medical conferences were taking place in the U.S. with ties to organizations such as American Heart Association and a leading medical technology accelerator.
  • HKA emphasized the founder’s personal reasons for starting the company to help others avoid undiagnosed diseases and how the technology could disrupt the health diagnostics status quo.
  • To make Mediwhale’s innovation real to a broader audience, HKA emphasized the prevalence of heart and kidney disease in the U.S. and how the technology could save lives.
  • In the Series A funding announcement and pitch, HKA emphasized support from international investors and organizations affiliated with Stanford University and the Mayo Clinic to validate Mediwhale’s technology.
  • Throughout both projects, HKA reviewed and edited all communications with the press, providing strategic guidance as well as avoiding details lost in translation from Korean to English.
  • Although representing a small startup, HKA made sure to bring Mediwhale’s story to top-tier national business outlets.



HKA’s two short-term projects provided long-term results for Mediwhale, establishing a solid foundation of awareness and validation as the company progresses toward FDA approval.

  • The coverage in top-tier outlets reached multiple verticals and geographies, including major business outlets such as Forbes and TechCrunch, mainstream news sources such as CNBC and Bloomberg Beyond Innovation, and healthcare-focused media including BioWorld, In Vivo, and Medical Device Network.
  • Beyond our success with North American media, HKA secured additional coverage in 16 countries across four additional continents including, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.


Key Best Practices for Quantum PR & Marketing

  • Position the new company in broader industry context so media can easily recognize its significance.
  • Identify media-friendly aspects of a story through research of recent coverage and trends of similar topics and then tailor messaging appropriately.
  • When introducing a new brand, leverage partnerships and third-party validators with media as much as possible.
  • Create and communicate soft feature news hooks to build momentum before a major announcement.