In 'the parallel lives of our Independent Professionals', we speak to the a-connect IPs who are running exciting ventures outside of their consultancy work. From part-time journalists and B&B owners to music writers and shellfish breeding, our entrepreneurial IPs tell us just what it takes to have a dual-track career.
Today, Guilherme Sakajiri, who recently joined the a-connect network in Brazil, shares with us his experiences of developing and launching a healthcare app. Read the full interview here.
When you are not working as an IP, what do you do?
I am currently running a startup called TagFit. We develop health promotion programs for people with chronic diseases or at risk of developing those diseases. Our main program is called "Vida Plena" ('live fully' in translation), which was designed to help pre-diabetes users to avoid development of Type 2 diabetes.
How did you come up with the idea for the health app?
When I decided to become a health entrepreneur I started searching for a problem that was relevant, but at the same time, that was manageable for someone who had never worked directly in healthcare.
So, when I found out that 50% of healthcare costs were defined by habits, it was love at first sight. Finding out how to influence and change habits, could be even bigger than finding the cure for cancer (I am still not sure which one is harder).
What has been your biggest accomplishment with the app?
In the first three months after launching our app, we got more than 30,000 downloads. At the time, it seemed like an significant achievement, but as I matured as an entrepreneur I learned that this was just a vanity metric. Much more important, was the result of our first proof of concept with a logistics company. We only had four participants, but three of them engaged during the whole program and one of them avoided serious health complications thanks to the changes he implemented with us.
Have you been able to coordinate or utilize your app with an a-connect project?
I have not had this opportunity so far, but it is very possible. I think the most obvious way we could make this happen is by engaging in a project to reduce health insurance costs. In Brazil, those costs are growing more than 2x faster than overall inflation, making this a major concern for almost every large company.
What are your future plans with this app or are there other business ventures planned?
My app is now part of the portfolio of another company that I have co-founded with Rodrigo Freitas, who is another healthtech entrepreneur. This new venture is called Syligo Health. We define ourselves as a product builder focused on healthcare. Our main service line is called Product Lab, where we collaborate with players in the healthcare and life sciences industry to develop innovative products for their biggest pains.
Do you have any tips for other Independent Professionals who are thinking about starting something themselves?
Acting as an Independent Professional is what kept my startup alive, since I did not look for external funding when building it. Splitting time between these activities was a great decision for me, as creating a new business idea from scratch takes time and requires a complete different skill set than that of an IP.
My advice is to keep working as an IP for a while, before focusing 100% on you startup, unless you have investors who back you up or if you already have a customer.
Guilherme has a niche for healthcare projects in the digital technology space. He began his career at Gradus Consulting before moving to McKinsey, where he worked very generally across a variety of sectors and functions. Balancing his life as an entrepreneur and independent professional, Guilherme founded TagFit, which develops health promotion programs for people with chronic diseases or at risk of developing those diseases. The complete programs are only offered for business clients, but the supporting app is free and is currently available in Brazil for download.