Welbe raises with Brazilians to digitize occupational well being in Mexico
- December 14, 2022
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Round of R$ 25 million in healthtech attracts funds such as Kortex, Nazca and Volpe
Brazilian Eduardo Medeiros was still warming up as chief digital officer at Mexico’s largest retailer when covid-19 shook everything. In a group with more than 60,000 employees and dependent on physical stores, nobody knew what to do, how and who could be on the front line due to lack of knowledge about the profile (and illnesses) of the employees.
The situation was not unique to Office Depot. In Mexico, a country with high rates of diabetes and obesity, HR departments often lack minimal information about the health of employees. The disability kept hammering in Medeiros’ head until he became a startup.
Alongside fellow Brazilian Marcus Paiva, the duo who met at ClickBus — a bus ticket marketplace controlled by Rocket Internet — founded Welbe, a startup that is digitizing occupational health in Mexico and has just attracted capital from other Brazilians.
To gain traction in that market, Welbe raised a $4.1 million seed round. The contribution was co-liberated by Volpe Capital — in the first investment by André Maciel’s manager in a Mexican startup — and the local firm Nazca, which had already participated in the pre-seed last year.
The startup also brought other health-savvy investors to the cap table. Kortex Ventures, a corporate venture capital funded by Fleury, Sabin and Bradesco Saúde laboratories, also invested in Welbe. Green Rock, a Brazilian family office also specializing in health, was another to invest, as was the American SVLC.
“We took all that paperwork bureaucracy out of HR’s hand to turn it into data. With this, we create benefits, generating value for preventive treatment”, said Miranda. In the basic product, Welbe provides software for companies, with a dashboard that gives intelligence to health data about employees.
The startup doesn’t stop at the data. To improve knowledge, the company partners with laboratories and clinics to carry out a check-up on all employees, which improves prevention — helping to reduce absenteeism — and providing companies with more intelligence to understand the profile of employees. Companies do not have access to the individual health profile, but to aggregated data.
“We are integrated with the telemedicine services and with the laboratories”, says Marcus Paiva, co-founder of Welbe. With less than a year of operation, the startup already serves 22 companies in Mexico, including Red Bull, Heineken and the Soma shopping group.
The first customers of the business were the Mexican startups Tul (distributor of construction materials) and Justo (online supermarket), which coincidentally expanded to Brazil and asked Welbe for help to have a similar service for employees here.
For now, the startup is still focused on a single market, but envisions expanding to Latin America (including Brazil) in the medium term. In the meantime, the company already has a considerable market before it to compete: US$ 10 billion in Mexican lands alone.
“We have three funds from Brazil, so it has everything to do with it. But investors are super comfortable with our presence only in Mexico”, pondered Paiva, already vaccinating the speech against unbridled expansion (especially in times of restricted liquidity).
Source: Pipeline Valor