Betterfly: Monetizing Social ChangeBy Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Wed, 08/10/2022 - 11:45
Q: How did Betterfly’s become a “purpose-driven benefits” commercial proposition?
A: Betterfly was founded four years ago as a B2C platform where users can “donate” their calories burned through exercise to malnourished people. The concept was well received in Chile but it was not a business model that could be scaled up into a multinational corporation capable of generating the impact we originally envisioned.
Betterfly’s guiding principle motivated us to seek certification as a B Corporation, which demands that we follow the highest standards of social and environmental impact. This is enshrined in the language of our company constitution, which characterizes Betterfly as a public benefits corporation that produces a fiduciary obligation to generate a positive impact. We are not an NGO so financial productivity is still important but we aim to demonstrate to other companies that it is possible to generate social good and profitability simultaneously.
Q: How has Betterfly’s value proposition continued to evolve since 2018?
A: Switching the focus of our business model from the final user to businesses forced Betterfly to reconceptualize its value proposition. Ultimately, we arrived at a corporate benefits platform sustained by three pillars: prevention, dynamic life insurance and digital currency, which is meant to gamify people’s motivation to take care of themselves. The platform itself offers companies an avenue to disseminate information uniformly and enable access to all of their offered services from a single access point.
Prevention requires engaging in exercise, mental health and telemedicine applications. We incentivize users to be consistent in the use of our platform through our dynamic life insurance policy, which effectively changes the underlying logic of insurance coverage. As opposed to receiving a fixed and static insurance coverage plan from their employer, contributors are given the opportunity to augment their insurance coverage through good habits recorded through our platform. In other words, companies enable their contributors to grow their insurance coverage at no additional cost for either party, a completely new approach to insurance coverage that benefits all. Finally, banking on the realization that people are more motivated to help others over themselves, we issue digital coins called Better Coins that people can exchange for a social and environmental donation of their choice.
Holistically, these supporting pillars help create a cycle called the Betterfly Effect: the accumulation of small changes to generate a big transformation.
Q: What does Betterfly mean when it says it has become a “social” unicorn?
A: While being recognized as a unicorn has never been a stated target, it is a nice validation of our business on behalf of the market. Our emphasis on generating a social and environmental impact is what makes Betterfly a social unicorn, the first of its kind in Latin America. With this achievement, we hope to serve as an example to the market, demonstrating to companies and entrepreneurs alike that they too can adapt or build their business models to include social impact initiatives.
This is in contrast to how people thought we would be received by the market as a public-benefits corporation. People thought we were crazy and seriously doubted our ability to raise funds. Contrary to expectations, we have raised the capital to become a unicorn and we have started to expand internationally.
Q: What is the primary focus of Betterfly’s US$20 million strategic entry into the Mexican market and what role will your partner Chubb play in that?
A: Betterfly itself is not an insurance company; that is not our line of business. As part of our business model, Betterfly needs to seek out partnerships with the best insurers in the market. Chubb was a straightforward choice because it is one of the largest insurers in the world and fully compatible with our commercial proposition. Chubb truly shares our ambition to create incentives to improve the physical and mental health of people in Mexico who suffer from multiple chronic diseases, such as stress, hypertension and obesity.
Our strategy is to target big corporations that want centralized platforms for their people but we also target SMEs that do not have the conditions or budget to offer many benefits to their employees. An SME would have to find these benefits through several different providers and pay much more for them. It is easier for them to use a platform that is fully digital.
We now have 4,000 corporate clients. Just last year, we acquired 2,500 in Chile. We really want to replicate these results in Mexico, which is a much larger country.
Q: Considering Betterfly’s rapid growth and expansion ambitions, is the company prepared to scale at pace?
A: We have a great advantage because many want to work for a company that has a purpose. Our service has been highly attractive, allowing us to grow our team. About 15 months ago, we had 60 employees; now we have 700.
Q: What objectives would Betterfly like to accomplish before the end of 2022?
A: Within the Mexican market, our central priority is to continue growing our team, which is increasingly supporting international expansion efforts given the country’s strategic importance. In parallel to this, we aim to ramp up our marketing campaign in Mexico, highlighting, in particular, our accessibility. We also aim to continue strengthening our brand and our value proposition through at least 10 more NGO or conservationist partnerships.
Betterfly is a purpose-driven benefits platform that rewards a team’s healthy habits with charitable donations and no-cost life insurance coverage. It was founded in 2018 in Santiago, Chile, and began operations in Mexico in 2022.