5 minute read
Startup Story

Wellbe saves companies money on employee health insurance

The Wellbe team

Brazilian startup uses Google Cloud Platform and TensorFlow algorithms to analyze and predict health employee benefit use

Healthcare benefits cut both ways. Employers can burn through a quarter of their annual revenue supplying healthcare benefits–even as healthcare remains the single most attractive non-salary perk for hiring talent.

“Wellbe helps companies reduce health insurance costs, which are, on average, 20% of the payroll and increasing by 20% every year,” says Guilhermino Afonso, co-founder and CEO of Wellbe. “We collect data from different sources and analyze it to reduce healthcare insurance costs through a health analytics solution.”

Founded in Curitiba, Brazil, in 2016, Wellbe is a corporate health management platform designed to automate the management of corporate health plans and ensure savings. Wellbe's platform gathers and analyzes data from healthcare programs and provides metrics to measure their efficiency. The resulting information offers companies more effective ways to help their beneficiaries and employees improve their health and reduces companies’ health insurance costs.

Using Google Cloud Platform and TensorFlow

Wellbe uses Google Cloud Platform for data storage, analysis, and privacy. Data on two million patients is updated daily, weekly, and monthly, and Google Cloud Platform ensures it is kept secure. The Wellbe team uses BigQuery for internal data analysis. “Google Cloud helps us offer solutions at scale,” says Afonso.

Wellbe’s technical team also leveraged Cloud technology to help their data indicate the condition of an individual user’s health in real time. During Google for Startups Accelerator, they developed an algorithm that uses this data to analyze and predict which users are most likely to develop a disease or health condition in the coming months, so it can be treated preventatively. “Our algorithm can forecast that a person might have a seizure in a certain number of months,” says Afonso. “We train the algorithm with TensorFlow to help us build predictive algorithms of health insurance in the future.”

Participating in Google for Startups Accelerator: Brazil

During Google for Startups Accelerator: Brazil, Wellbe tested their tools for predicting a health plan's cost and risk. With the help of their Google mentors, they were able to increase the F-score from 0.64 using Scikit-learn to 0.78 using TensorFlow, where they changed the network model. They changed the data handling before training the model, using scikit-optimize, imbalanced-learn, and Bayesian optimization. “Mentorship from Google experts was so valuable,” says Afonso. “The Google team are the best people in the industry to work on technology problems.”

Wellbe’s mentors included Google Developer Expert Vinicius F. Caridá, Beatriz Alonso, Lucas Venezian Povoa, Arnaldo Gualberto, Giorge Caique, Richard de Jesus and Gustavo Gorestein.

Before Wellbe participated in Google for Startups Accelerator, 64% of the customer support tickets that were filed by users had to do with system latency (slow loading of web resources). Their mentors taught them how to use certain techniques to reduce their latency by 16%, helping web pages load faster and improving their Net Promoter (NPS) score, which measures customer loyalty, from 176 to 185. “Users get a response more quickly, which impacts user satisfaction,” says Afonso. “That reduces the costs of Cloud, too.”

The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, which helps Black-led startups in Africa, Brazil, Europe, and the United States secure funding, strengthen communities, and create generational change, also supported Wellbe. In addition to equity-free cash awards, Black Founders Fund recipients receive ongoing Google mentorship, Google Cloud credits, and product support to help them navigate every stage of their startup journey. Afonso says the Black Founders Fund provided an additional runway for them to focus on developing their KPIs before fundraising. “We very much appreciate all the support Google has given us, from the very start,” says Afonso.

What’s next for Wellbe

Wellbe is doubling down on growth: They want to double their KPIs from year to year; double their revenue, double their employees, and double the number of people they support. They decided not to fundraise yet, thanks to early VC investments, and are close to breaking even. “We’re in a good spot where we don’t need more capital, but in the next year, we want to double our revenue, employee numbers, and fundraise,” says Afonso, adding that Wellbe technology supports two million employees. “We have data from 5% of the entire healthcare market here in Brazil.”

Afonso advises aspiring startups and founders to take care of their teams. “Take care of the people who work with you, and they will take care of your clients and bring in revenue,” he says. “Bring the best talent to your startup and take care of them. Remember that your employees are more important for you than anything else, because they help you to grow.”

Learn more about Wellbe