The Entrepreneur Series – Wendy Wu, Founder & Chairman, Wonder Tech

Who is she?

As an industry leader in EQ coaching for psychiatrists, therapists, business consultants, and executives, Wendy Wu has developed a profound understanding of leveraging emotions to optimise decision-making in relationships, business and overall well-being. However, the urgency of addressing the global mental health crisis, characterised by soaring rates of depression and suicide, made Wendy realise the limitations of the traditional coaching model. To tackle this challenge at scale, she shifted her focus to coaching AI, leading to the birth of Wonder Tech.

Wendy has had the honor of leading a remarkable team, attracting top investors, industry talents, and loyal customers who are inspired by her genuine approach. Her leadership style is rooted in authenticity, and she believes in fostering an open and diverse environment where everyone can thrive and contribute their best. Wendy is humbled by the trust and respect bestowed upon her by those who choose to follow her vision.

Can you tell us why or what made you decide to enter the technology sector?

“My entry into the technology sector was driven by a comprehensive exploration of global mental health detection and intervention technologies. During this process, we unearthed the immense potential of voice biomarkers as a transformative tool. Voice biomarkers stood out for several reasons: their user-friendly nature, people’s comfort in sharing their voice, scalability through mobile phone capture without additional hardware, and their significant clinical value.

They provide a powerful means of differentiating between depression as a mental health issue and emotional issues. Over the past 5-10 years, individuals seeking coaching increasingly approached me, seeking ways to help their partners or family members detect and address mental health concerns without seeing a psychiatrist.

Coupled with the alarming rates of depression and suicide globally, it became evident that we needed a clinically validated and scalable solution for private and safe mental health detection and intervention. After two years of comprehensive mapping, exploration, and validation of various technologies, voice biomarkers emerged as the most promising avenue.”

What is a typical morning at work?

“A typical morning at work varies significantly, reflecting the dynamic nature of my role and the diverse locations I operate from. If I’m at our operational office, mornings might involve sales meetings, interviewing potential hires, or engaging in one-on-one sessions with our core team.

Alternatively, at our global headquarters, I may have investor meetings or collaborate with clinical partners. Regardless of the location, my focus is always on aligning our strategic goals with the distinct stages of our growth.”

What are some of the challenges of the job?

“The challenges I face as an entrepreneur are invigorating. Like many tech founders, accomplishing ambitious goals within tight timeframes is both intriguing and demanding. It necessitates exceptional resource management and navigating uncertainties encountered during various stages of technical development, revenue generation, and talent acquisition. Embracing these challenges with a resilient mindset fuels our drive for success.”

How do you stay at the forefront of technological advancements and emerging trends in the industry?

“Remaining at the forefront of technological advancements and emerging trends is paramount in our dynamic industry. We achieve this by attracting top talent to our team and cultivating a culture of cross-disciplinary & continuous learning.

By encouraging exploration and knowledge sharing from different technology and industry practice, we ensure that our organisation stays cutting-edge in technology.”

Can you share examples of significant technological innovations or breakthroughs that you find particularly exciting or impactful?

“While voice biomarker itself is not a novel concept in technological research, the most exciting aspect is transforming this research into a clinically validated product with the necessary certifications.

Through an eight-year journey involving technology mapping, data collection, ethical approval, model building, clinical research, productization, government certification, and commercialization, we’ve brought this innovation to life as a validated product with a thriving business model.”

What are some of the main challenges or obstacles that you perceive in the adoption and implementation of new technologies?

“The adoption and implementation of new technologies face specific challenges and obstacles, primarily related to public mindset and focus. In the healthcare industry, conservatism can hinder the acceptance of breakthrough technologies.

Overcoming this resistance requires targeted efforts, focusing on enthusiastic portions of the healthcare community, and conducting rigorous clinical research to demonstrate the efficacy and benefits of our innovations.”

Are they specific domains or areas within the technology industry that you consider to have a substantial growth potential, and why?

“In addition to voice biomarker, I believe voice assistants and other non-invasive, scalable technologies that can build trusting relationships with users have significant growth potential. These technologies have the power to make a substantial impact on humanity.”

How do you foster a culture of innovation within your organisation and what practices do you employ to drive technological advancements?

“Fostering a culture of innovation within our organization is paramount. We achieve this through several practices:

Allowing new mistakes to be made, emphasizing learning from them and avoiding repetition.

Encouraging cross-border communication, formal and informal, to facilitate idea exchange and collaboration.

Hosting engaging events like hot pot and whisky parties in winter, and BBQ and beer parties in summer, creating an atmosphere that promotes creativity and innovation.”

From your perspective, what role does technology play in advancing sustainability and driving positive change?

“Technology plays a pivotal role in advancing sustainability and driving positive change in two key aspects:

Scalability: It enables sustainable solutions to reach wider audiences by delivering scalability and cost-effectiveness. For us, this means demystifying mental health from a premium offering to population health.

Speed: The full data loop facilitated by technology allows for real-time self-supervised deep learning and continuous improvements.

Our Voice AI intelligence platform empowers personalized and precise treatment in mental health within the next five years, compared to the more than 20 years it took for precision treatment in cancer.”

What were some of the life lessons which you have learned along the way in your career?

“Throughout my career, I’ve gleaned several life lessons that have shaped my approach:

1. Be the change I want to see

Leading by example and embodying the vision I seek to create are crucial for others to grasp and follow it.

2. Understand my limits and communicate risks effectively

Building trust is often easier when risks are transparently communicated, rather than solely focusing on the vision.

3. Take care of people around me, including myself

Prioritizing physical, mental, and emotional well-being is vital in entrepreneurship, which is a marathon rather than a sprint.”

If I was not in my current company / position, I would be a _______?

“If I were not in my current company/position, I would be a Music Therapist and a Film Director.

The power of sound and energy in healing has always captivated me. Sounds and music can trigger different brainwaves and hormones, making them one of the most enjoyable and effective ways to boost physical and emotional health.

In fact, we have integrated some of the best therapeutic music into our products, catering to individual mental health needs.”

What advice would you give to individuals seeking to forge a successful career path in the technology industry?

“My advice for individuals seeking a successful career path in the technology industry would be as follows:

Explore your passion and identify the areas that genuinely excite you.

Understand your strengths and leverage them to your advantage.

Conduct thorough market research to identify opportunities that align with your passion and strengths and have long-term demand.

By aligning your passion, strengths, and market demand, you can forge a fulfilling and prosperous career in technology.”

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