Nexodata startup health tech
Photo: Nexodata/Courtesy

Nexodata: a startup that wants to digitize health in Brazil, one prescription at a time

After an investment round that had the participation of Mercado Livre and Albert Einstein, the startup's next step is the launch a drugs marketplace

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The story of needing to decipher the treatment indicated by the doctor in a prescription filled with scribbles is over. Nexodata, a health tech that created an e-prescription solution for healthcare providers, technology companies, and pharmacies, saw demand for its service skyrocket during the pandemic and is now collecting the rewards of that growth.

Today, the startup works with 200 hospitals (before the pandemic, only one hospital used the solution). The startup also has 150 other technology companies as clients and currently reaches 100,000 doctors in the country. The health tech estimates its prescriptions are used by 2 million patients a year.

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Between January 2020 and October 2021, the company’s team jumped from ten to 80 employees — and should reach 100 by the year-end. But, according to the president of Nexodata, Pedro Dias, the wave of digitalization in healthcare has yet to reach its peak. “Nexodata’s first vision is to enable the full digitalization of the entire healthcare system in Brazil, both the private market and the public sector,” says Dias, who founded the startup in 2017 alongside Lucas Lacerda — the duo also created the startup of corporate health plans Vitta, sold to Stone in 2020 — and physician Antonio Carlos Endrigo.

Wellbeing beyond the clinic

Data from a recent report by Distrito points out that Brazilian health techs raised $222 million by August 2021, totaling 39 different transactions. The sector is the fourth with most contributions, behind fintechs, real estate, and edtechs.

The authorization by the Federal Medicine Council and the Ministry of Health, in March 2020, for telemedicine (consultation through videoconference) was fundamental for the expansion of the sector. According to the co-founder of Nexodata, telemedicine and digital prescriptions are two habits that arrived due to concerns with contamination during the pandemic but will remain due to convenience — and should coexist with the traditional form.

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“It’s important for us to understand the big steps we’ve taken. Last year, the main step we took was to accept distance care, accept health outside the hospital, health at home somehow. Telemedicine was one of the great enablers of this”, explains the co-founder of Nexodata.

For Dias, digital receipts complement teleservice and open up new market possibilities.

The digital prescription feature begins to change the consumer’s journey because it allows you to have a flow of treatment adherence or medication purchase with much less friction

Pedro Dias, president of nexodata

To expand this vision, Nexodata announced a Series A round of R$35 million in June, with the participation of MELI Fund — Mercado Libre‘s investment fund —, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, Floating Point, FIR Capital, and the “family office” by XP founder, Guilherme Benchimol.

In total, Nexodata has raised R$ 40 million from investors. LTS Investments, by Jorge Paulo Lemann, Beto Sicupira and Marcel Telles, Arpex Capital, by André Street, and Eduardo Mufarej, injected seed capital into the startup.

With the capital, Nexodata plans to launch its marketplace, allowing patients with a digital prescription to buy medication without leaving their homes. The service will also feature a price comparison tool.

To keep users privacy, the health tech relies on the integrated work between development, data protection and compliance teams, ensuring that the data flow takes place in accordance with current legislation, including Brazilian LGPD.

The startup hopes to introduce the service soon but is still evaluating the strategic and regulatory aspects.

How to please digital patients

Smartphone-savvy consumers in the region push health techs to provide experiences as good as digital wallets, social networks, and others. On the other hand, creating an omnichannel experience in the industry is more complicated. Buying a drug is not the same thing as choosing a meal or home device.

“The challenge is to understand how we create an experience of adherence to the exam or treatment based on a digital document. It has to be as good as the ones we have in other daily solutions”, comments Dias.

Nexodata health tech startup from Brazil
Nexodata’s co-founder and president, Pedro Dias: the startup plans to digitalize health in Brazil. Photo: Courtesy

Another point that affects innovation in the healthcare sector is regulation, which usually happens slower than in other areas. While the Brazilian Central Bank discusses the stages of open banking, for example, advances in the health area such as the authorization for teleconsultations happened because of the pandemic.

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According to the president of Nexodata, the market is a few steps behind when it comes to an essential component in the digital experience: the integration of information.

“Health has an interoperability problem: how you link one system to another. And it’s not something that happens only in Brazil”, recalls Dias. “Speaking specifically of digital prescriptions for medications and exams, these ends can be connected in a seamless experience,” bets the executive.