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Melon Health wins early and often in 2021

Melon Health has booked three wins in 2021. And it’s only April.  In the second of our Founders’ Series we chat to Siobhan Bulfin, CEO of Melon Health.

What’s happening for Melon this month, Siobhan?

So much! But continuing to support New Zealanders during this time of uncertainty is our priority.  We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal of supporting one million people on our platform in the next 12 months.

To do this, we are forging partnerships with providers. In February we signed on Marlborough Primary Health Organisation to support people with a range of chronic conditions and mental health. We also partnered with health agency APM to provide psychosocial support for New Zelanders who are recently unemployed due to Covid-19.  In both cases we’re enabling self-management through behaviour change, psychological exercises and resources (like breathing techniques and exercise videos), right through to maintaining self-awareness or progress-tracking through a health journal or connecting to a coach or finding peer support.


And you had another big win too, right?

Yes, we’ve also had our contract with the Ministry of Health extended until the end of the year to help New Zealanders struggling with anxiety or emotional distress as we experience the long tail of Covid. Our platform is designed for just this kind of support.


What market trends are helping your business?

There are several converging trends in our favour – and they’re global trends so they’re relevant to our business in the USA and Australia too. The main trend is that home is becoming the fastest growing location for healthcare. Covid-19 saw the rapid uptake of telehealth, enabling people to access support beyond the clinic. Telehealth was already a trend but Covid-19 has greatly accelerated the need to offer remote care.

Another trend is self-management. This is especially driven by the funders, such as governments, ACC and insurance companies, who are trying to keep clients from crowding the door of primary healthcare. It’s really expensive to have people in hospital or visiting the doctor or even be off work. So the more we can empower people to understand and manage their own health, through education, self-awareness and social support, and in the comfort of their home via their mobile phone, the better it is for everyone.

A third trend we’re noticing is the focus on holistic health – or whole-person care. The best way to care for people is to consider their full spectrum of needs – medical, behavioral, socioeconomic and beyond – and this is increasingly recognised across the entire health system. So we’ve built a digital platform to address the whole of patient care not just their physical injuries or conditions.


Sounds like a booming market. So what’s keeping you up night?

Ensuring the team feel motivated, inspired and supported. Without a team, it’s just a good idea.

And of course, capital. Growth is a mixed blessing. It’s very demanding on cash, so a big job for me is the focus on sustainability and mitigating the need for extra capital. I find the best way to do that is hiring great people, keeping them aligned and motivated. It’s a cliché but this really is a people business.


To that end you’ve just hired a key staff member.

Yes, we created a new role: head of product. We’re lucky to have hired Jono Elkin, who was head of mobile at Sailthru and prior to that held product roles at TradeMe. So he is not shy of scale. His role is to help users and the team optimise their use of the digital platforms and then to prioritise what’s on the product roadmap.


Thanks Siobhan and good luck for 2021.

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