TALi podcast - Audio
5:21PM Feb 5, 2020
In today's newfound expansion series, we're joined by Alex Barty, who heads up international partnerships at Tali health. Tali is a really interesting Australian business that is transforming the way we identify and strengthen early stage attention deficit in young children. The platform they have developed is currently being used by healthcare professionals and schools across Australia, the US and Singapore, Tali is here to talk about the global business opportunity, and international expansion plans lining up in 2020. Thanks for joining us today at newfound Alex. It's great to have you here. So tell us a bit more about Tali and your plans to expand the business globally this year.
So Tali is a platform that's been developed to help children worldwide who have been identified with clinical attention deficit symptomatic of many different indications, including neurodevelopmental disorders as well as other other conditions such as acquired brain injury, organic brain injuries, and some other things that haven't even really been accounted for yet. We're really trying to identify and treat a very unique subset of cognitive skills related to attention. Currently based in Melbourne, we have a platform that consists of Tali detect, which is an assessment and screening tool, being able to identify and characterise the attention related cognitive capabilities of children between the ages of 3-8 as well as the Tali Train cognitive training programme, which utilises gamification to exercise essentially very unique cognitive skills that are associated with attention deficit disorders, including autism and ADHD during early childhood as well.
And tell us a bit more about your expansion plan this year.
Sure. So given I'm here in the UK, obviously the UK is very high in our agenda. So we're looking here in the UK and the US to establish a presence, a subsidiary, and a network of partnerships to be able to deploy Tali across multiple different sectors. In Australia, we focus primarily on education. We also have a network of health care providers and have a direct to consumer model. We'll be focusing in here primarily on health care as well as direct to consumer. But we're working towards a model to work with educators here in the UK to and in the future. Probably a few years down the track and the United States. we're establishing a presence predominantly in Texas, but we do have a network in Northern California as well. Again, integrating and working with partners and, and developing those networks with people who are in digital health who are working with health data may have to work with psychiatrists, paediatricians, psychologists, physician physicians, as well in the United States as well as the educators who are able to deploy a solution. across as many different avenues as possible to get in the hands of kids.
Wow. Yeah, it sounds like 2020 is going to be a bit year for Tali. With all these international expansion plans, I'm guessing the problem of attention deficit is a global prevalance. In fact, attention problems are the most commonly reported childhood issue worldwide. In the UK alone. 14% of children have been identified with learning disabilities, and 75,000 children aged between 6 to 17 have already been prescribed with ADHD medication. Would you be able to tell us more about how big this problem is on a global scale?
Sure, it sorry, if we're going to talk about raw numbers 136 million children across the globe have been identified with either ADHD or an autism spectrum disorder. That's those two conditions alone. That's what we know. On top of that, if you're talking about big markets India for example, 12% of the Indian population also has been diagnosed with the Euro developed mental disorder. You've already spoken about in the UK 14% of children have been identified learning disabilities. In combination with ADHD, and other learning disabilities, the United States that figure is closer to about 20%. In the United States alone, there are about 6.1 million children who have been identified with ADHD and almost 400,000 those kids under the age of five, there is a global opportunity basically, to help these children. We're actually in a really interesting position because we offer a tool that is able to identify and characterise Attention Deficit as a unique symptom. at that age the diagnosis is really difficult to attain. But treatment is absolutely critical really trying to capture that period of neuroplasticity and cognitive development, which to this point has been really difficult to be able to really design a treatment that's safe and non invasive, where psychostimulants seem to be kind of the first line of parch. And obviously, paediatricians and doctors for a long period of time have been kind of hesitant to give children really quiet powerful drugs at this age without really any sort of knowledge of the long term effects. If you want to talk about the extended long term impact of these things we know that attention is the predictor of graduating high school, your predictor of graduating university or college system. There're also severity ADHD symptom ology, the severity of those an indicator of smoking behaviours as well. So the probability of someone taking up smoking is directly linked to the severity of ADHD symptomology there's a lot of work that has been done related to ADHD symptomology around substance abuse DUIs and we know that mood disorders, including depression and anxiety are really really intrinsically linked with attention as well. But this kind of comes back to the idea that attention is really quite an a very specific thing that we're looking at which is a symptom deficits, of which are symptom of many different complex Polly genetic and environmental factors too. So we're talking about one thing that's common between autism, ADHD, and trying to fix that one thing that will give benefit basically to children now, the families in the future, and also reducing the impacts on society in the long term as well. We're talking about a multi billion dollar opportunity.
Yeah, that's really interesting. And just as you mentioned, the current treatment that is existing in the market and in the healthcare industry, do you see any trends or changes in the future like in the way that this will be handled by both the public and private sector?
Look, this is the holy grail for a lot of mental health issues is basically early intervention, and figuring out exactly how to provide treatment for very specific disorders. The thing that we're really trying to do is be able to provide targeted treatments so, children who have not been misdiagnosed are getting the correct treatment and the Sorry, we're not just talking about like in terms of drugs, behavioural interventions, but also just getting treated for the right thing. misdiagnosis is a common issue particularly when it comes to ADHD, sorry, we're encouraged by the excitement in the industry, both from an education perspective as well as from a healthcare perspective about finding ways to treat Attention Deficit during early childhood. Digital health as a whole has come a long way in the last year particularly, and that's evidence by the big companies. So we're talking about big tech, Big Pharma, health insurers globally who are being involved in trying to find ways to save money and provide targeted treatments to give safer interventions for for children. At an early age. We know that early intervention is the best, the best treatment really. I mean, the term cognitive prophylactic is a really interesting one, this paint thrown around recently that that's pretty accurate, and one that is becoming more and more used across the industry like prevention is often the best form of treatment basically made the say so digital health is coming along why here in the UK, there are a lot of initiatives being started across London across northern England, particularly Manchester, seems to have a lot of opportunity. And in the United States, there's a lot of people who are investing a lot of time and money in trying to find solutions to be able to help not just in the neuro space, but generally across the board to find better ways of providing targeted treatments and monitoring patients. Yeah,
you can definitely see a lot of activities going on in terms of digital health market in the UK and in London in particular. And so with all these locations that you're looking to expand into what's important to your business when assessing a new market
Lots of things really, I mean, obviously we were people need to want us to be there. I think, I mean, in terms of maybe a better way to sort of think about it as why like the UK might be an attractive place or why why we're looking at specific marketplaces in the US. First of all, we've got to identify demand for the product. We know that there's a lot of attention being drawn to learning disabilities, the cost for treatment of ADHD, the cost of treating autism and and the ways that we can find better ways treating it Learning Disabilities, and autism is a hot topic in in the UK, we want to be able to help with that. To us the UK is also a very attractive market because it's quite similar culturally. It's something that we can transpose from from what we're doing at Australia across quite easily. London has this benefit of proximity and being a global capital. It's a world city and the ability to be able to say, we're here but we're based here. We've got supporters world class institutions here at King's College, UCL impaired College places like that, who are world leaders in cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, be able to find those those key ambassadors, these champions within that system. But then beyond that, and in UK, there's an incredible charitable sector. So registered charities who have vast resources very professional, not unlike in Australia as well, where we can basically find people who are able to support us as well as being able to implement our solutions in the communities that sort of need them the most,
So like the whole ecosystem,
We have to think about this as a holistic activity is not just one thing, but we need to obviously identify demand, we also need to identify an infrastructure that's going to be supportive. And that goes all the way down from the parents of the children who are trying to implement solution, all the way up to the people who are actually going to invest in the business as well.
So it seems like you have done quite a lot of research on the UK. Could you tell us a little bit more about how you went about doing that you do it while you were in Australia before you came over from market visit
there were so there's multiple channels and I think for your to due diligence we need to be able to employ multiple channels obviously, right here because Newfound has done an exceptional report and us to give us an insight on the market opportunity for digital intervention like ours. And it was enormously beneficial and will craft the way that we enter the market for sure. we exploit as many opportunities as you can three different government agencies, the Victorian state government, VicTrade - global Victoria, it's called the institution there is extremely supportive and have an office here. Australia, the Australian Trade Commission is extremely supportive too and have been supportive throughout our endeavours throughout the world. Not only sort of directing connections through their investment but also being able to identify opportunities as well. So we're extremely grateful for the services government provides. The UK Government is also showing A lot of interest in digital innovations in particular comes to health care and education. And part of this market visit was upon invitation from DIT who are able to help sponsor our visit and be ambassadors for us, I guess, advocates for us at the BET global event that just passed last week big education exhibition at the ExCeL centre. There are lots of people who are helping, obviously, through our networks as well, homes and through academia, through business through tech, all these people were and we're trying to engage as many people as possible.
So it's just reaching out to gain more local insights and opportunity. So tell us a bit more about your UK market visit so far? And what's your experience been like? Did you learn something new that you didn't learn before while you were doing your research in Australia?
When you come to a place and you meet people and shake hands, there's only so much you can via email , and on phone calls that everyone is very polite in their emails. But to really get a good idea about what the opportunity is you need to really eyeball people sometimes. You really need to shake their hand and naturally just going to say, Come on, tell me exactly give me the full 1-1. What exactly is the opportunity here? Sorry, for us, for me to come over here. And for us last year to come over here and explore the opportunities is really about for us ascertaining exactly who's for real, who's not for real, what what really we need to do and what we don't need to do. For us, we've kind of identified certain aspects, models that are working in Australia won't work here. Certain go to market strategies. What we've identified is our two biggest areas are going to be probably how to work here, but then we're also going to explain it now and you probably that we haven't really explored as much in Australia to have the opportunity to work directly with families here is huge. One of the really great things about London, which, I mean, this is probably something we probably should have known London in the UK as a whole, I should say, really offers and opportunities to uses as a focal point for the business around the world. So we can, you know, we will explore the UK market, and we can also utilise the global nature of the city to be able to see and identify other opportunities in different jurisdictions around the world.
Yeah, so yeah, so you definitely mentioning a lot of market opportunities here in London and it would actually be interesting to hear more about challenges. Do you anticipate any challenges in your UK market entry journey?
A lot of the challenges that can be similar to Australia, where we have to kind of I mean, it's arrogant to say that we're going to come out and completely re educate people in how they should treat attention deficit or how They should look at cognitive development during education so it does behove us to be able to sort of figure out a way to frame that content in easily approachable way be culturally sensitive as well. From I guess a business perspective there's a lot of compliance and regulation that we need to oblige by. We feel pretty good about the position we're in we're updating to but that doesn't stop the bureaucracy and the red tape that we need to wait through as well. Yeah. In addition to that, I guess we just have to be conscious of the fact that this is not going to be a battle that we will conquer in day 1, but we can work towards a strategy where we can generate revenue sooner rather than later. But just make sure that we're putting the eggs in our in the right basket.
Yeah. So um, with the information that you have gathered through your research and your UK market visit, what would be your future plans next steps from today
There's a couple of things that were really pressing. We think it's absolutely critical that we have people in market, boots on the ground working for us. So the very next thing for us to do as part of setting up the business here is to have those boots on the ground, from an executive level to a sales and support level that's really, really critical. The other thing is also being able to gather data, being able to get those early adopters, those champions, so we'll be looking to register charities, advocacy organisations, research organisations, to help us with that, to be able to deploy the solution and be able to help those kids are really, really needed and in turn sort of discover exactly what works in Australia, what doesn't work in Australia, and what will work specifically in the UK and nowhere else. Those are kind of the priorities right now. I mean, there are other other aspects of the business we need to consider. But really, it's just about getting boots on the ground and just getting users as soon as possible.
Yeah, sounds exciting. So Finally with the world that Tali is doing to help young children around the world, what has been your most rewarding moment working on helping these children?
There's really boring business things that you know, where you just kind of high five yourself in the office, which, which is probably nowhere here often. There're moments where you're at an event or you're at a school, and then you immediately see the impact that product could have. That's when it's finally like when it suddenly just dawns you that we've got an opportunity here to help really like a lot of people around the world. That's part of it. Also when you actually speak to parents who actually see tangible evidence, you know, we have some really great supporters back home where, you know, kids who live in rural communities who have used the products and their families at home, not just the children of same benefits their families as a whole where the children have been able to retain focus in school, they're getting better grades, that behaviour is improved, surprising things in a certain way where children have shown more empathy towards their siblings and their friends. You know, there's stress on these families is just so much more. It's just alleviated really and you know, when that makes life easier for for one child that makes life easier for the entire family, and they're able to go about their business and live happier lives. Like that's, that's really the core of what we're trying to do. It's not just about, you know, trying to reframe the way we treat children and trying to limit or change the way we think about targeting interventions, whether they be behavioural or pharmaceutical, right. It's basically the crux of it is about making sure kids that are just happier, really,
yeah, yeah. And transforming their lives.
Basically, yeah, attention is such a critical part of the way that we live, we've got to kind of think about attention being really that core cognitive skill that everything else is dependent upon. And once everyone kind of starts thinking about that, then we can start thinking about how this integrates into other ways, that we actually look at health care as a whole. Rather than just thinking about everything being so isolated, everything's connected. And I think that's a really great thing. And we've got this opportunity with digital health to be able to look at that.
Yeah, that's amazing Alex, thank you so much for joining us today. With all the international expansion plan that Toby has in place, I'm sure it will go on to transform the lives of many more children globally. And we at a newfound wish you the very best of luck. Thank you, Alex.
Thank you. Appreciate it. Thanks, guys.