Caio Ribeiro, country manager for Betterfly in Brazil.
Caio Ribeiro, country manager for Betterfly in Brazil. Photo: Courtesy.

LatAm's first social unicorn, Betterfly wants to achieve 2 million users in Brazil by the end of 2022

According to the startup's country manager, Caio Ribeiro, Betterfly has two offices in Brazil, one in São Paulo and another in Rio de Janeiro, and is at a revved pace of hiring.

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Operating commercially for just two months in Brazil, Chilean Betterfly, the first startup, and B-company to achieve unicorn status in Latin America, has bold goals for the country. In an interview with LABS, the company’s newly-announced country manager, Caio Ribeiro, said that the goal is to close 2022 with 2 million “lives” assisted in the country — a small portion of the startup‘s large medium-term dream of reaching 100 million lives across LatAm by 2025.

Founded by Eduardo and Cristobal della Maggiora in 2018 in Santiago, the startup was initially called Burn to Give (an allusion to calories spent and their reversal in donations). However, by expanding the concept beyond physical activity and diet, joining life insurance and other physical and mental well-being services, the name changed, in 2020, to Betterfly (in reference to the “positive butterfly effect” that the startup hopes generate).

The startup — which is not an insurtech but a marketplace for life insurance and wellness services — sells these services to companies that want to offer them as a benefit to their employees. For this, companies pay a monthly fee, per employee, to Betterfly. In Chile, this ranges from CLP 2,990 (or $3.68) to CLP 4,990 ($6.15). In Brazil, the monthly fee starts at BRL 19.90 ($4), but it is not openly disclosed on the company’s website yet.

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Betterfly’s experience is gamified. With each good deed or habit acquired (a walk, a therapy, a meditation session, and so on), users accumulate points (the so-called bettercoins) within a daily limit. The accrued points turned into two things: gradual increases in the insurance value, at no cost to the contracting company, and donations to NGOs and social impact actions that are partners of the startup.

“The idea is to propose a disruptive life insurance model that goes beyond financial protection for those we love. Betterfly represents a 360° look at all the support companies need to offer their employees, especially now with the gradual return to the office this year,” explained Ribeiro, noting that, as the ESG agenda progresses, companies need to find ways to engage their employees in these goals and that Betterfly is a vehicle for this.

“In other words, what we have as revenue is the use licenses that companies buy [and pay monthly] for their employees as a benefit. At an advanced stage [with more customers and users reaching their maximum level of points within the platform], we estimate that more than 30% of our revenue will be donated to social causes via bettercoins.”

In Chile, Betterfly already had more than 2,500 companies as clients in February this year, when it raised its latest round: a $125 million Series C funding led by venture capital manager Glade Brook Capital and followed by new investors (Greycroft and Lightrock, among others) and earlier investors, such as QED Investors and DST Global Partners, which led the company’s Series A and Series B rounds, respectively.

Betterfly arrived in Brazil in June last year but in soft launch mode, serving only companies that sought it spontaneously or the subsidiaries of groups it already served in Chile, such as Santander. The arrival was made possible mainly by the partnership with Icatu, the first “supplier” of life insurance for the platform in Brazil.

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“Our local commercial operation only officially started two months ago, and my arrival at the company marks this strategic moment of international expansion that the company is in. We are at the beginning of commercial efforts, presenting our solution both for small and medium-sized companies and large companies, which tend to take a little longer to decide to buy a solution. Our goal for 2022 is to protect 2 million lives,” explained Ribeiro. Locally, Betterfly offers life insurance (by Icatu), meditation (by Zen), telemedicine, telenutrition and telepsychology (by Conexa Saúde), online personal trainer (by HanuFit).

Among the local NGOs that Betterfly has partnered with in Brazil are Hospital Pequeno Príncipe, Ação Cidadania, WATERisLIFE Foundation, and Trees for the Future.

“And soon, we will provide our users with a salary anticipation service at no additional cost,” added Ribeiro. That is the solution offered by the Brazilian fintech Xerpa, acquired by Betterfly in September last year.

With over $200 million in rounds raised so far, Betterfly is also accelerating via M&A. In addition to Xerpa, four companies from the Chilean Kunder group have been acquired by the startup: HeyPay!, of digital financial solutions; ProSueños, of solidarity digital gift cards; Nesto, with a business model within the same segment as Xerpa; in addition to a part of Racional, a kind of digital piggy bank.

The offices in Brazil (yes, there are already two) are just the second step of the startup‘s internationalization, which has in its international expansion roadmap another seven new Latin American markets to reach in 2022: Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica. Next year, the plan also includes more distant flights, such as the United States, Portugal, and Spain.

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“We have around 100 employees [in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro], but we are growing fast, so much so that the goal — as a continuation of our local strategy — announced for later this year is to double the number of employees, ending 2022 with 150 positions. As we started in a period still of a pandemic, we work in a hybrid way and have employees in other states, including “, informed Ribeiro.

Ribeiro accepted the invitation to be the country manager at Betterfly earlier this year. Until February, he held the same position at the Colombian fintech Addi and before that, he had worked for nine years in the advertising area of ​​Mercado Libre.