How Labi is helping to make Brazilian healthcare more affordable

In this #MeetTheMB100 interview, Marcelo Noll Barboza, Marcelo, CEO of Labi, explains how they are supporting insurance companies by providing multiple healthcare services at small patient centres, drugstores and the patient homes.

This interview series is sponsored by EY, Hogan Lovells and Babson College.

Meaningful Business (MB): Can you tell us a bit about the issues you are trying to solve and why you selected them?


Marcelo Noll Barboza (MNB): Brazilian health insurers cover 50 million people and are struggling to break even because of high medical inflation. A big driver of this is related to hospital costs, which are increasing at a fast pace and already represent 45% of health insurance costs. In this challenging scenario, our goal is to help insurers save costs by moving services out of hospitals and into small patient centres, drugstores and patient homes.



Marcelo Noll Barboza, CEO, Labi


MB: How is your work tackling those problems and what impact are you having?


MNB: Labi has created an omnichannel platform that is helping insurers control costs. 


We operate 35 small and efficient patient centres located in high pedestrian traffic areas in regions that have 20 million insured patients. The centres offer lab tests and also provide logistic support for home healthcare services.


We provide several at home services: lab tests, vaccines, medications administered by nurses, telehealth consultations and even home hospitalisation.


At the 3,000 stores of our strategic partner RD Saúde, we support point of care testing and telehealth consultations.



MB: What support do you need in order to scale your business and increase your positive impact?


MNB: Our business has evolved and our biggest growth avenues are home services and services inside RD Saúde’s stores. Therefore, we can have strong growth without requiring capital for new stores.


However, we are investing more and more in technology to be Brazil’s best and most efficient provider of home healthcare services. And we need capital to achieve this.


MB: How do you work with partners and the wider ecosystem to achieve your mission?


MNB: We are honoured to have RD Saúde as a strategic investor. They are the largest drugstore chain in the country and serve over 50 million customers. Our relationship is mutually beneficial as they reduce our customer acquisition costs and we help them execute their strategy of expanding the scope of their stores to become a healthcare service provider.


MB: What is your ambition for the future of your business?


MNB: Our ambition for Labi is to serve at least half of the 680 insurance operators in Brazil, helping them save costs and therefore become more affordable to a wider number of individuals.


MB: How do you measure success?


MNB: When we started Labi in 2017, we had three major goals: 


1) To provide a good return to investors

2) To create a company our employees enjoyed working for and

3) To positively impact the Brazilian healthcare system. 


We will only be successful if we deliver on these three commitments. 


We measure goal #2 by analysing metrics such as employee turnover and by running employee surveys. Goal #3 is related to results such as number of insurance operators served, combined with customer net promoter scores. And goal #1 is a long term one, since we will be able to evaluate it when we provide liquidity to early investors.





Quickfire questions:


MB: Tell us a mistake you’ve learned from


MNB: Entrepreneurship is my life long passion and I  started my first company straight after finishing college. If I had a chance to go back I would have started my career in a structured company with a strong focus on leadership development where I could learn from more experienced professionals and also have the opportunity to have mentors.


MB: How do you spend your time away from work? 


MNB: I love spending time with my family, reading, travelling and playing golf. I find that golf has many similarities with being an entrepreneur asin a few hours you have to make dozens of decisions assessing risks and probabilities. In addition, you learn to accept that sometimes luck plays a role in the results you get.


MB: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 


MNB: I am not sure it was the very best one, but one advice I heard from a Harvard professor is that ambiguous messages are always interpreted negatively. I try to remember this when I am communicating with team members and investors.


MB: What is something you wish you were better at? 


MNB: I like working with people and I always struggled when I had to spend long periods of time working on individual projects such as preparing presentations and reading reports.


MB: What is the one book everyone should read?


MNB: Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes,” by Morgan Housel. The book has plenty of very useful insights about how the world really works.



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