Case Study: BRAINTRAIN – Nurturing the Cognitive Abilities of the Elderly in Vietnam
According to statistics in 2021, for every 3 elderly people, there will be 1 person who dies from Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, the rate of people with Alzheimer’s disease has been increasing rapidly over the past 10 years, and it is predicted to double by 2030. Furthermore, in 2022, the total cost of Alzheimer’s disease will be 321 billion dollars. This places a heavy burden on the country’s economy and health services. Due to the complex nature of Alzheimer’s disease and the absence of a cure, recovery for diagnosed patients becomes impossible, resulting in the high prevalence of the disease. As a group of biomedical engineers specializing in neuroscience, this has always been our mission day and night
Fortunately, after countless efforts of exploration and research, we have discovered a “window period”, which is a golden opportunity for intervention and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and occurs before Alzheimer’s disease. This stage is called MCI: Mild Cognitive Impairment. And that is the reason behind the birth of brain train.
BRAINTRAIN is an innovative cognitive training application developed by a team of biomedical engineers specializing in neuroscience. Its primary objective is to address the increasing prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) among the elderly population in Vietnam. With a mission to provide an effective and accessible solution, BRAINTRAIN aims to improve cognitive abilities and delay the onset of AD. This case study explores the business model canvas of BRAINTRAIN and highlights the key learnings acquired throughout its development and fieldwork.
Four domains that BRAINTRAIN app affect
– Short video about BRAINTRAIN app: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EPqQoFo7Oix2qOI4kA7PfBwwdroZpPYv/view?usp=drive_link
- Business Model Canvas:
Business model canvas
BRAINTRAIN targets several customer segments, including MCI patients seeking cognitive improvement, elderly individuals interested in maintaining cognitive health, healthcare professionals involved in the care of MCI patients, and sponsors and funding organizations invested in improving the well-being of the elderly population. By focusing on the specific needs and challenges faced by MCI patients, BRAINTRAIN aims to cater to a niche market and provide tailored cognitive training solutions.
BRAINTRAIN’s value proposition lies in its specific focus on MCI patients, targeting the cognitive domains most impacted by the condition: Memory, Attention, Language, and Math. By utilizing neuroplasticity principles, the app offers cognitive training exercises that enhance short-term memory, attentional control, word recall, and problem-solving decision-making. The app also provides intuitive data analysis by displaying cognitive results as numbers, facilitating personalized optimization and data-driven progress tracking. Additionally, BRAINTRAIN ensures affordability for individuals from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, promotes collaboration with healthcare professionals through data sharing, and aims to improve quality of life for its users. The app’s features, such as adaptive difficulty levels, progress tracking, data sharing with doctors, reminder mode, and long-term goal orientation, further enhance its value proposition.
Value proposition canvas
BRAINTRAIN offers a self-service model, allowing users to independently access and utilize the app, giving them control over their cognitive training experience. Personalization is a key aspect, as the app provides adaptive difficulty levels and tailors the training program to individual needs and preferences. Customer support channels are also available to address any technical issues or inquiries users may have, ensuring a positive user experience.
BRAINTRAIN is distributed through mobile application stores, allowing users to easily download and access the app. Strategic partnerships with healthcare institutions, hospitals, and neurology centers enable distribution and promotion. Participation in conferences, workshops, and seminars serves as a platform to showcase the app, generate awareness, and engage with potential customers. In addition, targeted marketing campaigns through social media, online advertisements, and collaborations with influencers in the healthcare field help reach the target audience effectively.
Customers will subscribe to BRAINTRAIN by paying a monthly fee to access the app’s features and cognitive training programs. Based on surveys conducted with the Head of the MCI Department at 175 Military Hospital and user feedback, we have determined that the market is willing to pay a reasonable monthly fee of $0.63 (15,000 VND) for the app’s services.
Considering the demand for cognitive training among MCI patients, we estimate that in the first year, with the first six months offered for free, we will generate revenue of $1,875 (45,000,000 VND). This projection takes into account the expected number of subscribers, factoring in the daily influx of at least 10 MCI patients at 175 Military Hospital.
In the second year, as the app gains more recognition and usage, we anticipate a significant increase in revenue. With an estimated user base and a monthly fee of $9 (216,000 VND), we project a revenue of $9,000 (216,000,000 VND) for the second year.
Military Hospital 175, as our key partner, plays a vital role in the success of BRAINTRAIN. They provide us with specialized knowledge on Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), ensuring the validation process of our app. Their expertise and support enable us to approach potential customers within their network of healthcare professionals. Additionally, they assist us in conducting marketing campaigns and workshops, helping us reach a wider audience and create awareness about our solution.
Our collaboration with International University and the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) has expanded our network and provided us with valuable financial and strategic support. Through this partnership, we have gained access to resources such as PR on social media platforms, which has significantly increased our visibility and reach. Furthermore, the university’s laboratory facilities have proven invaluable for conducting research and development to further improve our app’s effectiveness.
Sponsors also play a crucial role in our journey. Their financial contributions not only provide the necessary funds for app improvement, marketing activities, and workshops but also help us secure additional resources. In addition to their financial support, sponsors actively promote our mission, raising awareness about BRAINTRAIN through their own PR efforts.
These partnerships and collaborations with Military Hospital 175, International University, the Department of BME, and sponsors are instrumental in supporting our activities and driving the success of BRAINTRAIN. Together, we are able to continuously improve our app, expand our reach, and secure the necessary resources for our ongoing development, marketing, and crowd-funding initiatives.
The core activities of BRAINTRAIN encompass research and development, app design and programming, data analysis, user experience testing, continuous improvement based on user feedback, marketing and promotion, collaboration with healthcare professionals, and forging strategic partnerships. Ongoing research ensures the app remains up-to-date with the latest scientific findings in cognitive training, while data analysis helps optimize the app’s effectiveness and track user progress accurately.
BRAINTRAIN is equipped with a range of valuable resources that enable us to effectively develop and deliver our cognitive training solution. Our resources encompass three in-house core teams, an in-house laboratory, a network of healthcare experts, mentors, and financial support.
The three in-house core teams form the foundation of our operations. These teams consist of talented individuals with diverse expertise in biomedical engineering, neuroscience, and software development. Their collective skills and knowledge are instrumental in designing, developing, and refining the BRAINTRAIN app to ensure its effectiveness in addressing the needs of individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
Our in-house laboratory provides us with a dedicated space for research and development. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and tools that facilitate data analysis, app testing, and continuous improvement. This resource allows us to conduct thorough research, gather valuable insights, and enhance the performance of the BRAINTRAIN app.
The involvement of healthcare experts further strengthens our resource base. We have established connections with more than 15 specialists in the field of MCI and Alzheimer’s disease at Military Hospital 175, who contribute their knowledge and insights to ensure the medical accuracy and effectiveness of our app. These experts offer guidance and feedback throughout the development process, helping us align our solution with industry best practices and scientific principles.
Mentors play a crucial role in supporting our growth and development. They provide us with valuable guidance, advice, and industry insights based on their own experiences. Their mentorship helps us navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and refine our strategies for reaching our target audience and achieving our goals.
Lastly, financial support is a critical resource that fuels our operations. We have secured funding from various sources, including sponsors and crowd-funding initiatives like ITR, ADAI, IU, and BME department. These funds enable us to cover operational costs, invest in research and development, conduct marketing campaigns, and expand our outreach efforts. The financial resources at our disposal ensure the sustainability and continued progress of BRAINTRAIN.
In the first year of operation, the total operational cost for BRAINTRAIN amounts to $10,000, equivalent to 240,000,000 VND. This includes various expenses such as salaries, research and development (R&D) costs, and maintenance expenditures. Of the total budget, $4,166 (100,000,000 VND) is allocated for salaries to ensure the dedication and expertise of our team members. Additionally, $4,667 (112,000,000 VND) is designated for equipment and fees related to the IT team, ensuring the smooth functioning of the app and its infrastructure. A further $541 (13,000,000 VND) is allocated for maintenance costs, with $417 (10,000,000 VND) dedicated to maintaining the laboratory and $125 (3,000,000 VND) for maintaining the server for the Android app.
Furthermore, we allocate $417 (10,000,000 VND) for validation and testing costs. This involves providing support to 100 users of the BRAINTRAIN app, allowing us to gather valuable feedback and track their cognitive condition over time. We provide a subsidy of $4.17 (100,000 VND) for each user to ensure their engagement and participation.
For marketing purposes, we plan to host three workshops on neuroscience at Military Hospital 175, with each workshop estimated to cost about $333 (8,000,000 VND). These workshops will serve as a platform to raise awareness about MCI and BRAINTRAIN, engaging medical professionals and potential users alike.
Moving into the second year, as we launch the BRAINTRAIN app on the iOS platform, the maintenance cost will be $667 (16,000,000 VND). Additionally, we plan to open four workshops and increase our marketing efforts, with an estimated cost of $1,333 (32,000,000 VND).
BRAINTRAIN has implemented a crowdfunding strategy that consists of two distinct phases: Phase 1, which took place in October 2022, and Phase 2, initiated in March 2023. These crowdfunding efforts have played a pivotal role in our mission to bring our cognitive training solution to individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in Vietnam.
During Phase 1, we focused on engaging strategic partners and fostering relationships with key stakeholders. Through compelling proposal presentations, we successfully garnered support from esteemed organizations such as 175 Military Hospital, ITR, and ADAI companies. Additionally, we solidified our partnerships with long-term collaborators, including International University (IU) and the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME). Leveraging our extensive research experience and strong branding, we presented ourselves as a solution to alleviate patient overload, enhance brand recognition, and promote overall well-being. Thanks to our efforts, we surpassed our crowdfunding target in Phase 1, demonstrating the viability and appeal of BRAINTRAIN to our supporters.
Crowding strategy phase 1
Building on the momentum and data obtained from our Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Phase 2 of our crowdfunding strategy is geared towards expanding our reach and impact. In addition to maintaining collaboration with our existing partners, we are actively seeking to engage new relevant parties, such as the 30/4 hospital and the University Medical Center. These partnerships will not only provide us with additional avenues for deployment and user acquisition but also enhance our credibility within the healthcare community.
Our primary goal for Phase 2 is to secure $5000 in funding from sponsors, enabling us to further enhance our app, conduct extensive user testing, and refine our cognitive training programs. Moreover, by deploying BRAINTRAIN at hospitals and medical centers, we aim to increase awareness and attract a larger user base from various communities. Through these efforts, we are determined to solidify our position as a leading provider of cognitive training solutions for individuals with MCI in Vietnam.
Crowding strategy phase 2
- Lessons Learned Throughout Our Fieldwork:
Throughout the development and fieldwork of BRAINTRAIN, several valuable lessons have been learned. Collaboration with healthcare professionals and incorporating their expertise is crucial for validating the effectiveness and practicality of the app. Continuous user feedback and engagement are essential for improving and refining the cognitive training program to meet user needs. Overcoming barriers to access, especially in rural areas, and addressing financial and technological limitations are significant challenges that require innovative solutions. Data collection and analysis play a vital role in understanding user behavior, optimizing the app, and demonstrating its impact. Partnerships with academic institutions, healthcare organizations, and sponsors provide support, expertise, and resources for successful app development and distribution.
In conclusion, BRAINTRAIN has demonstrated its potential to make a significant impact on the cognitive abilities and well-being of the elderly population in Vietnam. By offering an accessible and effective cognitive training solution, collaborating with healthcare professionals, and promoting affordability and personalized experiences, BRAINTRAIN stands as a valuable tool in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment.