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Like many good ideas, the idea behind Ed Deng’s diabetes management app began at home.

The University of Virginia alumnus, who graduated in 2000 and now lives in Taiwan, has watched his parents and grandparents painstakingly navigate the daily challenges that come with Type II diabetes, knowing that he, too, is at risk for the disease. He saw firsthand how important it is for patients to track their illness throughout each day and how cumbersome and inefficient that monitoring process could be.

“My grandmother, who is 86, measures her blood sugar every day. Based on that data, she and my aunt and uncle control what she eats,” Deng said. “That told me that those with data and proper knowledge could avoid complications and live longer.”

Deng also knew that his family was far from alone. More than 422 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, and more than half of those patients are Asian. As those numbers grow, there is also a growing shortage of diabetes educators and other caregivers who can provide patients with daily and weekly feedback between doctor visits. 

“That is scary – and at the same time, an opportunity,” Deng said. “I realized that a cloud-based solution, along with a mobile app, could help alleviate that shortage and provide more real-time feedback that patients are lacking.”

Deng was well-equipped to create that solution. Growing up in a family of physicians – his father and brother each attended UVA’s School of Medicine – he was familiar with the medical industry. His own studies at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce led to a career in Lehman Brothers’ Silicon Valley office, where he was involved with several companies developing mobile technology.

In 2013, he used those skills to found H2 Inc. and launch a free Health2Sync mobile app for diabetes management. The company grew steadily, and this summer earned its biggest coup to date, when China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba, decided to invest millions in the service.

“That investment definitely generated a lot of buzz,” Deng said.

Read Caroline Newman's full story at UVA Today.