Read the Conversation

EF: What was the inspiration for founding WeeCompany? What opportunity did you identify in the market?

JH: My first job was working at a traditional healthcare insurance company that involved a lot of paperwork and boxes, and it was there that I began seeing a need for a different way of doing things. There needed to be more efficiency, and many mistakes were made. I first talked to the CEO of that company about creating an ecosystem that people could access through their cellphones and the internet, and he responded, “No way, it is not going to happen. People are only going to use their cellphones only for calls.” That was around 2004.  

After that, I collaborated in the launching of a tech company, and we started to build and sell Electronic Medical Record systems. We saw many inefficiencies for the doctors because they needed EMR software, there were no electronic billing systems for hospitals, and these providers were not connected with pharmacies and laboratories. Detecting that need, we focused that company on providing service to six countries in Latin America. I learned about the differences between regulations, operational models, and costs between the countries in the region. I realized that we were in the Stone Age in many ways. I realized that we needed to move forward to make the leap to be at the front of the Latin American economy regarding healthcare.  

I decided to move out to found WeeCompany and create a new platform. Since then, we have created a lot of technology: software for physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies. We created our platform that connects diverse health sector actors. Traditional health insurance companies can operate with 15 to 30 different systems. Therefore, WeeCompany was created to develop a product to link everything existing.  

Our first customer was a major health insurance company in Mexico. We deployed a platform that works like an auction, and it was a success. The insurance company reduces its costs by 8-12% in prescriptions, a lot of money in terms of the ratios in the industry. We added more customers, and today, we are moving more than 250 million dollars of medical services across our platforms. We are the first real ecosystem that helps physicians, labs, and hospitals to interact with insurance companies.  

EF: Do you see 2023 as a challenge or as an opportunity?

JH: I see it as both at the same time. Mexicans are spending more out of pocket than before. Because of that, the opportunities for the private sector are huge.  

However, the major challenge is that much of the private sector needs to be connected and aligned. There are no policies to govern the exchange of medical records. There are very few government regulations. Because of that situation, two years ago, aligned with other companies, we founded the “Asociación HealthTech México” (Mexican Healthtech Association), with more than 100 companies working together to adopt international standards. We have two main goals that we created together. The first is regarding prescriptions, eliminating paper prescriptions, and allowing for contact with pharmacies like in the United States or Canada. The second goal we have proposed to some key congressmen is to pass a new regulation for telehealth services.  

EF: You have a very innovative concept and platform. How did you translate this into market disruption? How did you pitch this to companies to get into the market?

JH: You have to be very intuitive and see things that people aren’t usually able to see. We saw a lot of opportunities and capitalized on them. We say there is organized chaos in Mexico—many people are waiting in lines at the pharmacy for their appointments and at the hospital. If you are not Latin American, you probably cannot understand what we are talking about, but we commonly have this disorganization in our countries. There may be a lot of chaos, but if we combine the pieces, we can build a real business. You have to be Latin American to understand how our disorder mentality works.

EF: When giving this technology to people, how do you rate the adoption? Are people afraid of this technology, or are they willing to adopt it?

JH: Like any other technology, there is a ramp-up period in the beginning. You begin with a lot of disappointment, and with time, you start to have more adoption. We are at the point where we are beginning to reach a critical mass. We now have physicians, laboratories, hospitals, and more than 8,000 points of service at pharmacy chains integrating our product into their work. It was tough at the beginning. People said it would not work, but that is a normal part of adopting any technology. Now, physicians cannot work anymore without our technology because they do not receive their payments at the end of the appointment; pharmacies do not want to go back to paper because we are enabling e-commerce in that sector. The insurance companies that work with us have streamlined their workforce to probably 50% of its original size because the platform allows for better communication with physicians and hospitals. The adoption is similar to what you see with any other technology. Initially, it looks like a scam or might seem like a bad idea, but as a company, you must be resilient to people closing the door on you. Eventually, it hits an uptake equilibrium to make it sustainable and prosperous. The key is to understand and survive all the difficulties of the ramp-up.  

EF: Do you think that Mexico has the right resources to become an innovation hub at the Latin American level?

JH: We are the second largest country in Latin America in terms of population. We have a lot of good engineers and a lot of natural resources in the country, and we have geographic proximity to the United States, which is a world leader in these topics. We have a cheaper workforce than the US, so many big technology companies from the US are looking for talent from Latin America and Mexico specifically. Our geographic position facilitates travel to the US, which is a positive for these companies compared to other Latin American countries. These characteristics lend themselves to Mexico becoming a hub of innovation. That is the big draw of the United States to do business with our companies.  

EF: We know you are in other countries beyond Mexico. To what extent do you plan on further expanding into Latin America and beyond? Do you see a market for your platform globally?

JH: We partnered with Global Excel, one of the world's largest Third-Party Administrators in healthcare. They are in 100 countries, serving the top insurance companies. We recently created a joint venture to help customers in their regions to digitalize. We have plans to expand to new countries with the help of our partner, Global Excel.  

EF: What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs who want to impact healthcare through innovation? What will they have to go through?

JH: You will never be successful if you do not take many risks. It is widespread to meet opposition. You have to have your dream, but you also have to receive feedback from the environment. I am on the board of some startup companies, and I see many entrepreneurs who are excited about their ideas but need to realize that they will not work in the environment. You have to be very insightful, but at the same time, you have to be very open to receiving feedback from the context around you. Initially, we may have started with a bad idea, but we refined it for several years before we came to our current product. You have to be very resilient to wait for your chance. You must collaborate and reach compromises to achieve your vision and purpose. The most important thing is to create a great team of people who are aligned with the purpose of the mission and vision.  

EF: As the president of the Association of Healthtech in Mexico, how are you leveraging common spaces to advance the industry, specifically in an area like this one?

JH: If you want to make big things, you must collaborate. That is the reason that we founded the association HealthTech. I realized that we cannot do it alone. We have to join forces to encourage the industry to move forward to talk about things like telehealth appointments, prescriptions, and electronic medical records. If you want to make something big, you must move forward with other great leaders.  

EF: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

JH: Things happen, like Hemingway wrote, “gradually, then suddenly.” Things may feel slow at the beginning, but then there is a disruption that happens quickly. We must take chances, see the opportunities, and take risks.  

August 2023