First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Danilo Meth: We are all doing very well. Children busy most of the time with school homework, as my wife and I work from the home office. She is a lawyer specialized in data protection. Although strictly following the rules of social isolation, the fact that our businesses were positively affected and we live in a house in the suburb of Barra da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro, facing the ocean every morning, mitigates the problem.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you Founded or Joined PLANIUM
Danilo Meth: I am a young serial entrepreneur with 60 years old, I have already created three successful ventures before and my first contact with PLANIUM was as an advisor in 2011. The company had two different businesses and, after a spin-off, the largest one was sold to one of the largest software companies in Brazil. I bought the remaining business that was embryonic and, after some changes, became the company of today.
How does PLANIUM Innovate?
Danilo Meth: We have recreated the process of selling health insurance in Brazil. The process was based on paper requiring a manual signature, with excessive bureaucracy and subject to numerous frauds. As it is a heavily regulated market, we worked with the federal agency to obtain authorization to implement a 100% digital process, which happened in November 2016. As we were pioneers, we had the opportunity to rethink the entire process and bring a competitive advantage to our customers. Four years later, we have 25% of the market using our platform, while another 25% have developed their own solutions or are with one of the competitors that emerged last year. Half of the market still uses paper.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your Business and how are you coping?
Danilo Meth: The coronavirus pandemic has positively affected our business. The digitalization of the health insurance sales process, which was a competitive differential to our clients, became an imperative factor for survival. Our company is facing strong demand from new customers who need to adapt quickly.
The main drawback was the need to postpone for the first half of next year some new features planned for this year, such as the launch of our version 3.0. On the other hand, we are on track to reach our 2021 sales target later this year.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Danilo Meth: The most difficult decision was to reallocate the resources that were being used to implement version 3.0, which was already a demand from our current customers, to support the unexpected entry of new customers in an amount far greater than we had projected. The difficult lesson we are still learning is to maintain our culture with many home office hires.
How do you Deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you Project yourself and PLANIUM in the Future?
Danilo Meth: The stress that our team is going through now, with work overload and expansion of the team, ends up alleviating the pandemic problem. We have celebrated all these anticipations with happy hours at Zoom and with cash recognition for employees (this always eases stress).
We have just been selected for Endeavor Brazil’s Scale-Up program and the main plan is to bring the Brazilian health insurance purchase process to the best level in the world. Obviously, as market leaders.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Danilo Meth: Most of our competitors are management software (ERP) companies like Phillips Healthcare and customer relationship (CRM) like Vlocity. Some large health insurers have developed their own platforms and two new competitors, who have copied us emerged last year.
We are very specialized and focused on our market. We use our in-depth knowledge of our customers’ business and the primary advantage of being unique in the market to create a solid customer base that guarantees resources for research and development that translates into competitiveness for our clients.
Your Final Thoughts
Danilo Meth: We are experiencing an unprecedented pandemic that has accelerated the spread of several behavioral changes that were already underway, in addition to creating others. The new consumer style coupled with available technologies, will push large corporations towards innovation in customer relations as a survival factor.