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Lucas Melman (Betterfly): “There Is No Other Company Doing What We Are Doing”

The "social unicorn" from Chile has just arrived in Mexico, and its country manager tells us about the success of this company that plans not only to continue growing in the region but also to reach Europe and the USA.

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Only three unicorns have emerged from Chile so far: Cornershop, NotCo, and Betterfly, which only joined the club last February when it raised US$125 million in a Series C round. At the time, it warned that its expansion would be imminent this year. And so it was: this week, it announced the start of its operations in Mexico, with an investment of US$20 million. 

The insurance startup presents itself as the “first social unicorn” in Latin America as it is the only one with a B Corp certification, granted to companies that create value not only for their shareholders but also for their employees, the community, and the environment. It is arriving in Mexico with 50 jobs as part of its first stage. 

What does Betterfly do? It gives companies life insurance for their workers, whose coverage grows as they register greater healthy habits. They must do this through an app that offers them telemedicine, psychology, nutritionist, fitness, and other benefits. They can also transform healthy activities into donations to social causes. For their part, companies can analyze their team’s data, create shared goals, and use other global features. 

Betterfly is backed by funds such as SoftBank, QED Investors, DST Partners, Valor Capital, and Endeavor Catalyst. In addition, it has partnered with insurer Icatu to enter the Brazilian market and with insurer Chubb for other Latin American countries.

To learn more about Betterfly, we talked to Lucas Melman, country manager for Mexico.

What is the opportunity you see for Betterfly?

The opportunity we see in Latin America is to provide the space for both companies and their employees to participate in social and environmental initiatives, which is a topic that is much talked about in the region. We are a facilitator for new generations to work in a company with purpose since our platform encompasses health and wellness, financial protection with insurance, as well as social and environmental responsibility.

Betterfly has had remarkable growth recently. How has this progress been in the countries where you already operate?

In Chile, we closed contracts with more than 2,000 companies in one year. Then, at the end of last year, we opened in Brazil and now in Mexico. We expect Mexico to have an impact equal to or greater than what we had in Chile. So we set aside US$20 million for the first stage of our last fundraising, and we will start with 50 employees.

Lucas Melman, Betterfly country manager for Mexico. (Photo: Betterfly).

What does it mean to be the first “social unicorn” in Latin America?

Being a social unicorn is a means, not an end. It was not a goal to be one, but it fills us with pride because we can see that the market and investors value companies with purpose. This also gives us the capital to reach many more markets to change and improve the lives of many more people. We are a B Corp, and we are also incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation, which means that beyond financial results, we have a fiduciary duty to generate social and environmental impact. We want to impact the lives of 100 million people by 2025.

What has been your differentiating factor?

Two mainly. We reward the good habits of our client’s employees, expanding their coverage. Thus, they have an incentive to participate. And we create healthy competitions. We turn people’s well-being into entertainment, generating a social impact.

What would you say is the key to Betterfly’s success?

Having purpose at the core of our business. We are breaking the paradigm that a company exists to generate results for its shareholders. While this is fundamental, we don’t believe it is the very reason for a company’s existence. The purpose is the reason for being.

How do you make what you offer accessible?

It is essential to be so in order to meet our objective and reach 100 million people. To do this, we have the task of finding the best services in the market and seeking the best negotiations with our clients.  Pricing can vary in each market, ranging from $4 to $6 per worker per month.

Betterfly’s CEO has met with the presidents of Colombia and Ecuador and had an invitation from the mayor of Miami. What is the reason for this approach to the governmental sphere? Will this happen in Mexico?

It is because we have a very innovative model. There is no other company doing what we are doing, which is why it attracts the attention of governments. At the moment, we have nothing active in Mexico, but we are happy to collaborate since the government, as a large employer, plays a vital role in the country. 

What are your next steps in LatAm?

This year, beyond Mexico, we will open operations in six other countries in Latin America: Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Panama. We also plan to reach the US and Europe in 2023.

Sandra Pérez
Periodista de tecnología y negocios. Escribí para Fortune en Español y Muy Interesante.

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