Juan Manuel Contreras
CEO
Ámbar Capital
/
View from the Top

Encouraging Creative Ideas for Healthcare Business Concepts

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 04/02/2020 - 17:36

Q: What growth opportunities have your identified in the area of specialized clinics?

A: Ámbar Capital has always been interested in exploring specialized clinics because these are the easiest way to provide support to communities and to larger hospitals. In Mexico, specialized clinics remain mostly unexplored due to the high fragmentation of the market and high demand. All public security systems are making an effort to provide health coverage but they have fallen short for different reasons. That is why we believe that within the segment of specialized clinics there is an enormous amount of services that can be offered and it is up to us to find those that are in greatest need. Today, we are testing our business model. The challenge with this model is to determine the kinds of services to offer. We want to avoid offering all services to all patients.

Q: How does Ámbar Capital help private hospitals provide services that are both affordable and profitable?

A: We have experience operating in a very specific business segment known as out-of-pocket payers. We believe that between 70 and 80 percent of the population pays for their own healthcare and we have learned how to target this market, which gives us a comparative advantage over other hospitals that produce their profits from insurers. The essential element is to keep the past-due portfolio contained and manageable. This allows the business model to absorb the capital from patients paying out of pocket. Now that we have learned how to do it right, we are going to continue to expand this model to the other clinics that we will be opening soon.

The other issue that we must address is the location of our clinics, which must have the support of a nearby hospital, within a radius of 4km. If we introduce a business model that is oriented to out-of-pocket patients and also creates ideal conditions around the geographical location, we can ensure that it will be a successful specialty clinic.

Q: What characteristics helped you identify Onko Solutions as a successful venture?

A: Onko Solutions is a technology company led by Mexicans whose focus is detecting cervical cancer among the populations of rural and hard-to-reach communities. In Mexico, the reliability of the traditional Pap smear test is 50 percent and it is a test that must be performed every year throughout a woman's sexually active life. These tests are costly and offer no certainty of diagnosis. In comparison, the Onko Solutions test doubles the reliability of the Pap test. It also is non-invasive and painless. Furthermore, as it uses technology linked to artificial intelligence, the more people who receive the test, the better its diagnostic capacity. This method still requires a gynecologist, but we want to evolve to the point, perhaps in a few years, where patients can administer the test themselves. It is a product with great potential for growth due to the scale of demand in Mexico and the deficiencies of traditional tests.

Q: As the Mexican healthcare sector transforms, which areas has Ámbar Capital identified as the most promising?

A: Evaluating the ventures of entrepreneurs who have exceptional ideas is an intense task. However, our reputation within the industry for encouraging creative ideas has provided us with the necessary spotlight to bring new projects closer to fruition. We have encountered a variety of opportunities for business concepts, products and services at various levels. Our market studies and expert evaluations help us to make faster decisions about the viability of a business idea, coupled with an analysis of the competition to evaluate the viability of the product to determine if there are investment opportunities in other countries. For example, we discovered that a company in Israel provides a similar service to Onko Solutions , but after a careful analysis we determined that Onko Solutions has a much promising future in the global market.

 

 

Ámbar Capital is a private equity firm specialized in the education, technology and healthcare services sectors. Ámbar Capital is a shareholder of Monterrey-based Hospitaria, a 50-bed hospital for middle-income patients

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst