Matteo Berlucchi has started and exited four startups already. Now he has raised $60M for what may be his biggest venture of all. The startup Healthily has acquired funding from top-tier investors like Reckitt, Smedvig Capital, Orkla Ventures, and Canica.
In this episode, you will learn:
- How Healthily is changing access to healthcare
- Team building
- The startup fundraising journey
- Matteo Berlucchi’s top advice when launching a business
This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Visit betterhelp.com/
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About Matteo Berlucchi :
Matteo Berlucchi is a serial digital entrepreneur with 25 years of experience launching and scaling online businesses. Passionate about helping people find what they’re looking for, Matteo launched the first internet property search website in Europe in 1995.
By 2006, he had created the first live news aggregator, followed by the first social discovery platform for books in 2010 and Your.MD, now Healthily, in 2015. Matteo is a UBS Global Visionary, Entrepreneur in Residence at ETH Zurich, and a regular speaker at international conferences.
He has a doctoral degree in theoretical physics and has carried out post-graduate research in virtual reality at Imperial College London. He’s a father of three, an expert in Italian wines, and a self-confessed hypochondriac.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Alright, hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerr show. So we have today a pretty unbelievable entrepreneur I mean he’s done it so many times that I get diy you know I’m thinking about it. But then I think that we’re gonna be learning a lot about success and then also about learning because you either succeed or you learn. So. Without further ado. Let’s welcome our guests today. Mateo Berookki welcome to the show.
Matteo Berlucchi: Hey Alejandro nice to see you thanks to ah for having me. Thanks.
Alejandro Cremades: So originally born in Italy So give us a little of ah of a walkthrough memory lane. How was life growing up there.
Matteo Berlucchi: Memory that was great. You know I was born at and the end of the sixty s 1968 so I grew up a sort of 70 s and 80 s was a great time. Um, a lot of scooters. A lot of going out with friends sitting around and going to the lakes and going to the mountains and going to the beach and no tech you know, grew up with 0 tech. No mobile phones nothing so the only tech was the scooter. That’s why you know where only italians were really into your best path and. And so on so it was great and then I went to university there study theoretical physics. Um, and because I was just curious I was always a very curious kid and you know and physics is the the subject you pick if you’re curious.
Alejandro Cremades: Ah, white physics out out of all things white physics.
Matteo Berlucchi: Because you’re looking for answers inside the you know the the rules of the universe which obviously you can’t find Obviously you cannot find a video you can, but it’s fun to learn all the math and it.
Alejandro Cremades: Not now in your case and and and in your case too. I mean being from italy and being able to eat that wonderful food that you have there I mean I mean it’s it’s similar to Spain in Spain. You know you you are kind of like close to home. Always so in your case, why did you decide to pack the bags and move to England.
Matteo Berlucchi: Yeah, because the problem with Vita is still today is that yeah, it’s a bit. It’s quite difficult for for young graduates to get into into work. Um, the system is not very. Conducive to kind of helping young people. It’s getting better but you know back then was really really difficult. So I decided that I wanted to expand my horizon and is still very curious. So I moved to England and I went to imperial college um to start to to start a ph d in computing because the other thing that happened to me as a kid when I was on 1516 the first personal computers came out you know things like the the commodore. Ztic spectrum you know and and so we were the kind of the first generation with playing video games in arcade in Europe so I always had the kind of computers at the back of my mind so I decided to go to to study computing after physics and the. The kind souls at imperial took me in for a ph d which was on virtual reality of all things in 9093? Um, so I spent a couple of years there and then I dropped out to do my first startup.
Alejandro Cremades: And also one of the top schools so dropping out I mean it was a quite a big deal. So so at what point do you say hey you know what? I’m gonna I’m gonna go at it and and do my first start because I mean back then I’m sure that you probably felt the pressure too. I mean whether you are in italy or in Spain you know, really in Europe I guess they very much the culture back then is you were either a banker a lawyer a doctor a consultant so dropping out of one of the top schools and then to start your own business I’m sure that that was.
Matteo Berlucchi: And.
Alejandro Cremades: Ah, pretty risky decision.
Matteo Berlucchi: Oh I don’t know about that you know I think you did this. It was very different time. You know I dropped out because I saw the internet being born. You know we’re talking about ninety four ninety five and and I was just very excited about the potential of the internet when I saw the first browsers and and at the end of the day while you do a ph d you do a ph d to either go into academia which I never really wanted to do or to find a good job. But you know I was not doing computing to go and work as a quant in ah you know in ah in a financial institution I always kind of wanted to push the boundary and I always wanted to to do something different and and useful and impactful.
Matteo Berlucchi: And so for made entrepreneurial coal was very natural I didn’t perceive it as risky at all.
Alejandro Cremades: Now when you went at it. You know you were definitely being able to to write the wave of the internet and then you also you know, got the exposure to deal making you know, ah and team. So yeah, so give us a little of a sense of of what was that journey.
Matteo Berlucchi: Well, it was very interesting because being there at the inception of sort of the digital revolution. It was very very different because essentially there was nothing. So all the things that are there today in terms of the ecosystem from venture capital to platforms to tech and you know courses universities ah talents incubators. Yeah, the whole thing there was nothing. So I I like it the analogy. Ah, you know it was like building a house in the old days where and there was nothing where you had to make your own bricks and build your own pipes and build your own electricity circuit so you had to do everything. From scratch you know and and it was fascinating. It was a lot of fun. It was you know and it was very exciting because there’s this palpable feeling of potential which is what actually fueled the bubble the first bubble in 9099 you know everybody was like oh my god this is just going to be huge price. It’s like a gold rush but it was very mature. You know there was very 2 you talk about dealmaking. There’s very little precedent.
Matteo Berlucchi: You know when I did my first startup 9095 there was no venture capital venture capital did not exist so you could only bootstrap your company. Basically there was no other way you know all the startups back then 95 were bootstrap just fascinating and. And there was this huge knowledge gap you know when you’re going to talk to people. They were not following the India kind of what was happening the internet it was like coming from another planet like yeah I remember my first startup we built the first website to search for homes online in the world and the business model was to charge real estate agents to. Advertise the properties right? which is high works today. So I remember going into the estate agents with the first color laptop with one of the first mobile phones because I had told a mobile connection and showing them the browser and these guys were like oh my god what is this? What is the internet. How can you do that? How can you see that on your computer so that’s yeah, a lot of fun. A lot of stories so that company yeah was called neta state yeah was called meta state.
Alejandro Cremades: So so what? what? whatever happened with the with the company you know Net state and and what was the lesson that you took with you.
Matteo Berlucchi: What I did after a couple of years we were running and we signed up all the top state agents in London and and then I I kind of tried to I went to Rupert Murdoch company news international is the news corp in in in Europe is called news international because they owned the the Sunday times. Newspaper they essentially had the monopoly for classified for real estate classified. So every state agent would advertise on the Sunday times and so when people were looking for homes back then you buy the Sunday times there were like 20 pages of classified some properties you had to go through them. 1 by 1 so I went to them and I said guys we got the platform we got the database a search engine with a system for the agents to load up the property if we do it together. You know you guys are selling the Classifieds when you’re on the phone with the agent said you want us also to be it on the web for an extract you know a couple of dollars. Natural idea so they got very interested. We started negotiating a deal spent six months working on a joint venture. Um, and then in the last minute unfortunately the deal fell through first big lesson as you call them before you learn, you know you don’t fail you learn. There was a. Big lesson. Um, and and unfortunately we the deal didn’t happen and but there was very insightful. Hope you know experience the lesson was that you need to have control of the deal.
Alejandro Cremades: What was they? what was the list on there for you to be learned.
Matteo Berlucchi: Because the reason why we kind of the whole thing went pearshaped was that I was supposed to run the whole deal as in getting the the jv components there were 3 real estate agents that were joining the jv and and news international. I didn’t really have full control of that the key player sitting around the table I didn’t have enough understanding of especially the state agents who was sitting at the table did they really have the signing powers to do the jv. And 1 of them turned out not to have it and it was kind of that’s what kind of so k boshed the deal and there was a big lesson. You know so big number 1 lesson you want to do a big deal with somebody make sure you got full control of the deal that you know everything’s going on who’s who. Who they report to do. They have the powers. Do they have the money just get as much information as possible.
Alejandro Cremades: And then in in your case after this I mean you did a few years you know working for companies I mean you even worked in one of the darlings of the dot Com ah era. But what you ended up doing was you know learning the job seeing you know, like other people doing it too and.
Matteo Berlucchi: A.
Alejandro Cremades: And obviously as they say once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur because then you go in at it and you started your second company skininkers. So what was that a journey with skininkers like at what point do you realize hey I’m going to go at it again because that was a 7 year journey too on and it was. You know, pretty different. You know in this case, you raise money from the likes of Microsoft tool.
Matteo Berlucchi: Ah, yeah, so that was very different because the the world was different because ah after the bubble there was a a period ah of sort of reset. But then like. You know it’s ah it’s like after the plague you know the the strong roots regrow and obviously a lot of the ideas during the bubble were actually really good ideas and and so kind of the the foundations of the internet. You know. Were pretty strong. So after the bubble things resurrected and I wanted to you know as you said and once entrepreneur was entrepreneur when I would did my st at working for the.com I Ah I was keeping know thinking all the time about you know I want to do my startup Again. I Joined the dot com because it was just crazy the bubble and it was too late for me to launch something that would make it into that Crazy. You know bubble and I was hoping to cash out on the Bubble. So I joined a company that was already very well financed that was pushing very hard and like everyone during the bubble we were trying to ipo and and we just missed the window missed the window and and everything then you know after that it was like a nuclear.
Matteo Berlucchi: Wasteland for pretty much everyone so because of that I decided to then just go into my company. That’s why the skinkers I started at the beginning at the end at the end of 2000 which is you know exactly? Ah the you know the peak of the explosion of the bubble.
Alejandro Cremades: And what was the business model there. How how are you guys making money.
Matteo Berlucchi: Um, so the business model so skincas was very interesting because we realized that the worlds were starting getting a bit too cluttered with emails no mobile phones obviously back then I mean yeah, no yeah Motorola so just sms no. No digital stuff or mobile. So maybe people was getting getting innundated with emails and so my idea was to create an alternative channel as a kind of a parallel channel. So if you want is probably similar to what slack is today or what’s up like a separate channel for dedicated communication. Centralized so it’s actually controlled by a brand by company that you could use with your employees like slack where you can use it with your your customers. You know if you’re a big company with your fans if you were you know a famousme a brand or a famous person. And we created the entire you know client server platform. So we did all these push notifications. We could push videos surveys and it did really really well you know we started to work with some of the biggest companies in the world. We bootstrapped it. Then in and that was 2001 in two thousand and four five we did our first raise that was my first experience raising money from venture. Ah, again, very early days for venture There were very very few venture capitals around especially in the u k.
Matteo Berlucchi: You know because UK was always a couple of years behind the us on digital. So you know you k you’re in the us you started really having the proper. You know the sequoia of this world and but u k was still quite small so we did a raise and then we brought in Microsoft as an investor and.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah.
Matteo Berlucchi: Grew The company. We got a bit unlucky there with and there was a lesson that unfortunately didn’t teach me anything after they do what I what have basically in 2008 there were credit Crunch. We were very focused on financial services companies. Because essentially our platform was really good for banks to communicate with all their employees and their staff and so on so we had a very very strong pipeline in financial services with the 2008 crisis All the financial institutions stopped all new projects like literally. One day with the other and we got hit quite badly because of that and the lesson is that there is no lesson because there was very little we could do about it because you know you could argue that we should have had a more varied pipeline. Ah clients. But hey you know you go after the clients that you know that there is traction and they pay you well and you know financial service was the best channel for us so we were doubling down on on the low hanging fruit and so that was kind of quite painful but we managed to to salvage the company despite the big hit on the pipeline. And we ended up selling it for you know it was a decent Exit. You know we didn’t become rich was okay and ah yeah I was okay.
Alejandro Cremades: But that’s what your first takes it I’m sure that felt good. Yeah, yeah.
Matteo Berlucchi: I didn’t feel as good as I would have hoped because as an entrepreneur you always think youre writing a unicorn right? all the time So there is a little bit of bitterswee. But that’s you know that’s the other big lesson of having done lots of startups now and have we been involved not to start up.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, yeah.
Matteo Berlucchi: You shouldn’t do it for the end result because if you put all your hopes on the end result you probably are all always or most times be disappointed even if it goes well even if it goes Well, you might be disappointed. It’s all about the journey.
Alejandro Cremades: I Hear you now.
Matteo Berlucchi: I Think that if you choose to be an entrepreneur you have to do it because you enjoy doing something you know from scratch on your own without without a boss that does your management reviews every quarter.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah.
Alejandro Cremades: Ah, hundred percent and also when you’re able to be completely unattached to the outcome is when you can really succeed because that’s when you have more leverage to in the negotiations too. So in your case after you know the chapter here with skinkers you win at it again.
Matteo Berlucchi: No.
Alejandro Cremades: With live station. You know which you guys say fully bootstrapped obviously different here. You know with the with the capital racing side but you know in this case for you guys. You know like it was it was obviously you know a very competitive segment tool.
Matteo Berlucchi: That.
Alejandro Cremades: With streaming and and things like that. So how was how was that experience for you all. So.
Matteo Berlucchi: Yeah, that was ah that was interesting because there was actually a spin out from skinkers. We carved out a piece of tech and we just launched a new company. It wasn’t actually the competition came after because the only idea way life station was that we were essentially. Masters of streaming from a technical point of view to the point that we were the first in the world to live stream on iphones a good eighteen months before Apple themselves started supporting live streaming on iphones. And I can prove it There’s a video me on Youtube showing Bbc News live in 2008 and Apple started supporting live streaming in 2010 so that was an edge so we had a technical edge that obviously. The key value back then was to do I mean if you do live streaming. There’s only 2 things you can stream sports events or news sports was very difficult to do. There are lots of issues around rights and. Systems were not that sophisticated or should the payment systems went all there. They were. They were starting some of the first proper you know, plug and play payment stuff. So it wasn’t really easy to use this for sports and.
Matteo Berlucchi: And they were not really streaming sports that much because they were all scared of piracy. So the the people that did the events they didn’t really want to stream them online because it was kind of they were scared so we ended up doing lots of news and we signed up essentially every news channel in the world that you can name. There are on 50 news. Channels. Put them all in 1 platform. It was really cool because we had a desktop client and a mobile client on the desktop client. You could run 16 news channels live on your computer. It was like a Tv studio you can watch all the news from around the world live and you could just switch the other by clicking on any of this stream. Super cool. We also chat. Can chat with our reviewers and that was good. We made some money we did a lot of work with Cnn with Al Jazeera with ah Bloomberg Cnbc but then streaming became commoditized. It became very easy to just dream. Um. And so that kind of after a couple of years to 3 years we made some good money spaun met some great people stream some great ah news events from around the world. We stopped the war in Israel between Israel and guys in 2009 earlier because of our ability we streamed. The events from the war from Al Jazeera into the united nations in New York there was the only way they could see it because they saw what was going on there. They passed the resolution to stop Israel from pushing into Gaza which was pretty cool. Um, that is success to me.
Alejandro Cremades: That is success that is success and also you were you? You were able like you were saying to make money to you know out of something that you that you literally build yourself now. 1 lesson you know that I like to ask you here. You know, especially there’s a lot of people that you know probably are wondering to you know in? whatever you know? ah.
Matteo Berlucchi: It’s not money but that is success because that is it dont maybe can.
Alejandro Cremades: Say phase you know there are with their companies because there’s always you know you go through the desert now with your company until you reach product Market fit and stuff like that I guess in this case at what point do you realize with a project and I guess you know this is probably what happened here too. Ah, what point do you realize? it’s time to move on.
Matteo Berlucchi: um ah god what a question um I think that probably if I to summarize it in based on my experience. The probably 2 drivers for this decision. Um. The strongest one is financial. You know if you start seeing that you know sales are not growing or they’re stolen or they’re going down and you the market gives you quite so clear signals generally. So if you see that you know is going down then. Then it’s probably a good time to stop and just move on. Um, the problem. There is the emotional bit because entrepreneurs are obviously irrational people because you wouldn’t rationally launch a company because the odds are completely against.
Matteo Berlucchi: Setting up company or any guy in any space so you clearly have to be a little bit cuckoo to do a startup or any type of startup in any sector so that that comes with a dose of of irrationality and. Unjustified passion or attachment to your idea. So Essentially you love your idea in a similar way. Do you love your partner or your children If you have any and so it’s very difficult to to let go because you convince yourself that things are. Better than they actually are so that the so it’s a difficult one but you know it’s probably is like when you you know if you had a girlfriend when you’re younger and you realize she wasn’t the right one or or boyfriend and you you know how do you decide to stop the relationship while you just wait until you wake home while you see like that’s enough.
Alejandro Cremades: I I love it I Love it now now now after after this experience with life station. You started the next one annobi and in this case I mean it was a little bit easier because you know you got literally put in this place with the right type of players with the right type of financing.
Matteo Berlucchi: Ah, but.
Alejandro Cremades: So maybe a little bit easier than starting something from nothing without any type of help what happened there Matteo.
Matteo Berlucchi: It was yeah a hobby was really interesting because essentially it got it was a little bit flipped because generally the entrepreneur has the idea goes to the investors and say this one I do give me the money. This is kind of the otherary way around what happened was 3 very the 3 largest publishers in the world were a bit worried about what Amazon was doing we Kindle and old kind of. Things shifting online. We’re talking about 2011 here 1112 and just when the ipad came out and so they were concerned because the trend which actually then changed but the trend was that bookstores would disappear first. And so everything would be online and then online everything you know is winner takes it all online. So if bookstores closed then it would mean they will only be Amazon that’s pretty simple equation right? So publisher or wo it. Because you know in a world where only Amazon exists then you know if you’re selling books. It’s not a zoi. Great world. It’s not a very pleasant place to be so they they they look for somebody who could come up with the strategy to create something and build it.
Matteo Berlucchi: That could provide sort of I used to call it like a a live raft. You know like a some sort of place where publishers could go if things went really badly in terms of market share and so. I was approached by head hunter and because I was really you know at that point I had 20 all the years experience and I’d pretty be for a track record and they said you know what would you like to breakfast with the ceos I was very you know one of those kind of crazy moments in live when you had breakfast with the 3 ceos of the largest publishers in the world in the. Same room and they say what would you do and I said well this is what I would do and they said oh wow, that’s pretty cool so you know how much money you need just I would give me two weeks I’ll come back with a business plan and I came back and said here’s the business plan and I said wow we love it here’s the money I do it.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow Now now now the journey here was a pretty interesting now. One of the things you know on the outcome is one of the questions that I wanted to ask you is instead of being the typical deal where you get everything acquired you know by by a larger player.
Matteo Berlucchi: So that was kind of yeah.
Alejandro Cremades: In this case, what you guys did is you split you know the parts and you sold those parts. So why are you selling the parts.
Matteo Berlucchi: Yeah, no, there was yeah the problem was that unfortunately things didn’t turn out as we hoped as ah as life is generally so that’s why you shouldn’t do it for the outcome before the journey because one of the shareholders and we’re not gonna make names here. Because we’re on red card. But 1 of the shareholders. Um, when bused and the problem was that the shareholder that when bust was the one that had the access to the market because they owned the largest books chain in the Uk. So the idea was to create this great digital platform and then use the retail channel to get it in the hands of people which made a lot of sense. But these guys went bust and so we suddenly found ourselves without the route to market. Because the publishers couldn’t publishers couldn’t themselves get this stuff out into the hands of people because they had no contact with people because publishers sell their products through retailers. They don’t sell them directly. So they essentially asked me to find an alternative I went around to look for alternative routes to challenge. We found a large supermarket chain here in the Uk that was investing in digital and they they came in basically and they took over the operation. Um, this.
Matteo Berlucchi: System had basically an ecommerce component to sell ebooks it was like an Amazon perkin if you want but what we built on top of it. There was a distinctive thing which was really cool was a social network. So that you can actually socialize with other people that like the same books that you like so it’s like a community that was connected by what books you read and which books you liked and that acted as a discovery channel because by. Finding people that had similar taste to yours you could then discover books that you may like to read and that was the whole idea was to create a kind of a social discovery channel for books to then create a community and then plug the ecommerce at the back of it. The supermarket chain didn’t understand the social bit not surprisingly and so we sold that to another company. It was actually a big publisher in italy that because we had a quite large user base in italy so we kind of we split the tech. The ecommerce went into the supermarket and then the social network went off to a publishers in italy.
Alejandro Cremades: Now after this, you did a few years in corporate you know also guest lecturing and things like that which you still do. But again hey you know the ball keeps coming to you. So so then you got started with your latest baby now a rocket ship healthily. So.
Matteo Berlucchi: Um, yeah.
Alejandro Cremades: Tell us about how the the idea of healthily come about because as they say you know ideas they are doorrmant. You know they take time to incubate. But then all of a sudden you know there’s like an event that really pushes you over the edge to take action. So what? what? what? what happened there.
Matteo Berlucchi: Um.
Matteo Berlucchi: Well, that was a combination of a couple of years core doing corporate and obviously as an entrepreneur you kind of you get your eachch. You know your hands start itching you got ah so was itching and. Then I I had I kind of ready to cost my job. There. The corporate was to basically rebuild their digital infrastructure. So all the platforms and which we did very quickly and quite well. So my job was done fairly fairly swiftly. So I was looking for the next idea and and. And like you know ideas don’t necessarily have to come from you. Yeah, this came from um from a friend was ah, having dinner with this guy and he said look you know why healthcare hasn’t really changed one inch because of the internet and it’s 2015 at this point and it got me really thinking because. You know as a physicist you know I like problems I look at problems I analyze the problems because that’s my training and I started thinking about healthcare consumers. You know everything was changed by the internet. The internet has basically introduced self-service for everything. From finding your next date to your next restaurant the next or yeah, it’s all self-service. Basically it’s a way to think of it which the why the way explain to my kids so what? What can you? How you do self-service for healthcare.
Matteo Berlucchi: And and I looked at all the data and I started studying and I realized that you know obviously you cannot transplant your own heart. But there’s a bunch of things that you could do on your own which you called self-care that you don’t do because you don’t know that you can. You don’t know that you’ can self- care because unfortunately today even for self-care. You need to go through a healthcare care professional to be told that you can self-care which is absurd right? is I going to the banks speak to guys said you do need to come here. You just doing your phone. You’re like okay well. Thank you but I didn’t know. Okay, now you do it’s doing the phone and so that’s what happened today 30% of visit to doctors are for self-caable reasons right? And as pure say huge cost on society you know healthcare is slam there’ not scaling. There’s too much the demand on that supply. And that’s what I kind of started working on and we were lucky enough to crack the problem technically because it was an absolute nightmare. Technically how to do it which essentially where to build artificial intelligence that can understand. Every person situation from sort of a healthcare perspective and then give very safe personalized guidance. Basically so you need actionable insights. Music. So that’s what healthyly.
Matteo Berlucchi: Is and that will be built over the last seven years it’s an actionable insights platform completely personalized free of charge using Ai that we developed all internally and it’s been a really interesting journey 7 years we raise $60,000,000
Alejandro Cremades: But here I mean as you were saying I mean this is your fifth company now and I’m sure that there’s so many things that you’ve done differently and I guess the first one that comes to mind is how did you go about building the team.
Matteo Berlucchi: Yeah, absolutely right? I mean it’s the experience. You know it’s it’s very useful for these things because you hopefully you learn from your mistakes and so the team. Ah. I went about building it based on all the teams I built before which is just trying to be extremely selective. So one of the things I’ve learned was that the quality of your team is one of the biggest determinants for success. And so as a founder and Ceo you should spend a lot of time on forming the team while a lot of founders I think that just focus on the product and funding but you have to do the team as well and it’s a super important priority. So for still today seven years I have done always the last interview for any person with a hired because I want toure that we hire people that have the right mindset and. Because I’m the founder. Obviously the company takes the Dna of the founders. So. It’s very important for me to make sure that we have people of a certain type. Um.
Matteo Berlucchi: You don’t always get it right? So obviously you have people that come and go you know? Yeah, but you know it’s a constantly evolving thing your team. You know it’s like ah it’s like your product. You know your product keeps them getting. You know you do product market feed and you you get user testing the same is with the team.
Matteo Berlucchi: Continuously adjust the team and as the company grows but it’s very difficult. One of the things I did I strongly recommend to anyone doing the wrong company is that as soon as you get to around sort of 15 people. You need to start investing in human resources. You need somebody to start thinking about the culture of the company and all kind of the h r stuff and and because it makes a big difference. Big big difference I in the same way you would hire chief product officer pretty early. You also need to hire chief people off superior I think.
Alejandro Cremades: And and as we’re talking about people too I mean how did you think about bringing you know the right type of investors that had the right type of agenda and that would align too with the way that you were visualizing things for this company. So.
Matteo Berlucchi: I Mean that’s a the very difficult question I handle because you unfortunately the reality is that you try to bring the investors you want but you end up with the investors you get.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s right, that’s right? So so what has been the experience then because you guys have raised over 60000000 so what has been the experience going from one cycle to the next.
Matteo Berlucchi: And.
Matteo Berlucchi: It’s been It’s actually been probably the most complex thing for these companies been the funding history because on the product. It was challenging but we knew it and we tackled it and we built their best ai in the world today. You know? and and whoever is listening. Please go to leavehealthly.com and use the website. There is very smart search but there is a symptom checker that is the best in the world being tested by all the big organizations and it tells you what to do when you have a medical concern. Um, so the funding was difficult because. In a way we were was such a pioneering company healthily you know were the first in the world to do Ai symptom checking completely focused on consumers not doctors in a space. There’s kind of. Very early very unclear regulatory frameworks which very important in healthcare so it was really really kind of futuristic as a company and so what we did is we raised money a little bit of the time right instead of going boom big check. 100000000 we went kind of almost year by year because the journey was very zigzagged. You know I was like because we didn’t know what we had to do you know and this is a complete going on into darkness in a dark forest.
Matteo Berlucchi: And so it was very difficult to say oh yeah, we’re going to do this and that and in 3 years we’re gonna be a bit that positive blah blah blah and all those pump stuff. This was like hey here will you know this is the real moonshot. You know what building a rocket to put people on Mars so don’t ask me when how much is going to cost how many people gonna put there much. We’re going to make. Because you don’t know right? and so it was really difficult so we raised money every year we raised a bed to get to the next milestone then we did a big thing in 2019 we had enough results to bring in ah, a corporate investor. A company called rackkit benkier which are one of the biggest over- the counterer companies pharmaceutical companies in the world. You know in the us they make Muinexlysol and lots of other famous brands and they came in. They give us pretty good hand. You know and getting to the next stage but you know we’re not there yet, you know we’re still building. We kind of. We’re halfway through the journey still um because it’s a big big opportunity. You know healthcare is huge. It’s a huge opportunity and is really really behind.
Alejandro Cremades: So as you’re thinking about Healthily and the future and we were talking about vision earlier. We touched on that really quickly imagine if you were to go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision of healthy is fully realized what does that world look like.
Matteo Berlucchi: And.
Matteo Berlucchi: Well, it’s a world where healthy is the website or the online thing used by everyone for health information instead of web and d or Healthline or Google is basically is Google for health. I got a question got a problem go too helpfully because the technology behind it understands you and gives you clear actionable insights what you need to do and that company would be worth tens of billions of dollars because it would be the Google for health. And it would be the gateway to healthcare you know and it would help a billion people have very high quality advice for you of charge and in seconds something that today costs a lot of money and is a luxury because a lot of people half of the world population does not have access. To a healthcare professional. So it’s a world that is more equitable but there is more health equity. There’s more people that can learn about their health and how to stay in control of their health so you’ll be healthier world and it would be a nice very nice thing and and I would be very happy if that happened.
Alejandro Cremades: I love it now. Imagine you had the opportunity of going back in time I put you into a time machine and I bring you back in time to that moment where you were at imperial doing your ph d and thinking about dropping out to start your own business. Imagine you were able to have a sit down. And be right next to that the younger Mateo and give that younger mateo 1 piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why 5 companies in as you are right now.
Matteo Berlucchi: Ah god it’s said this the big is ever difficult one because there are two things that I could tell that younger must tell one is I probably tell him something that always had in the back of my mind you know back then at imperial. Ninety Four ninety five I would sell to that mateo ma in 9097, there’s going to be a company called Google go and get a job there in 9097 but so that’s one. Because if I go gone to Google in 97 I would probably ended up. You know having a lot of fun because one of the things that I suffered the most from I think is that for my creativity and in you know the fact that I’m very novative that. The ecosystem in europe has always been a little bit more difficult for innovators than the us in the Us if you’re an innovator you got a lot more. Yeah, go come on whoa is some money in Europe is like ah yeah, are you sure this is going to work. Not really sure you know we done the discounted cash flows and the ltvs don’t v be workout and and he’s like oh my god so one of is one of red is you know I would probably tell him go to the us go to the us maybe get a job at Google for a few years
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, yeah.
Matteo Berlucchi: In terms of startup stuff. Not really because you know it’s like there isn’t a formula for success. It just you just do what you you think is best every day. You know every day you wake up and you do what you think is the best thing and sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn’t there isn’t there isn’t a playbook you know so the only things that you control as you said I do some lectures or tell they aspi in Trippa I would tell them. There’s 2 things you can control. 1 is how you spend the money you have and the other one is who you hire everything else is complete out of your control. The only decision where you can really decide is yes I want to spend money on this and yes, I’m gonna hire this person. Everything does is like not really in your control. So just make sure you work with nice people and f fun. And don’t spend money stupidly. That’s the playbook I said.
Alejandro Cremades: Ah I love it I Love it. So so my tale for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.
Matteo Berlucchi: They can email me [email protected] or they can connect on Linkedin I’m think the only matil but Loki on Linkedin as far as I know I’m definitely the one that comes up first if you look me up.
Alejandro Cremades: How many say amazing well hey, myo thank you so much for being on the dealmakerr show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Matteo Berlucchi: Ah, thank you. It’s been a real pleasure. It’s my honor to be on the on the podcast. Thanks aleandro.
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