Today, we speak to Frederic Llordachs, one of our ambassadors, about his journey, knowledge and experience in the digital health sector. Frederic Llordachs is a Doctor of Medicine and holds a Masters of Business Administration. He specializes in Healthcare Management and Marketing and has direct experience with healthcare insurance and healthcare management. Frederic is interested in medical tourism, innovation in medical devices and new ICT-based healthcare services. He is the Cofounder of the successful Ehealth start-up Doctoralia -now part of the Docplanner Group- the largest global platform for healthcare search and accessibility, and several other companies like ClinicPoint or Doctivi. He recently started his own consulting company, Braincats Consulting, to help companies grow or develop their digital activities.
Frederic, to start the interview, could you explain what the project of Braincats Consulting is all about?
Braincats Consulting has the intention of making the knowledge that we have gained over the last few years accessible to third parties. We are doing this together with colleagues with great knowledge and expertise from the sector, as you can see on our website. We often help startups to understand the healthcare market, as well as pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and others to understand the innovative dynamic of new technologies and the impact of innovative solutions on their sector.
What is your role within Braincats Consulting?
If you understand Braincats Consulting as a child, then I’m the father. We have tried to create a team of women and men with extraordinary knowledge and experience of the health sector and with a foot on the ground to be aware of the latest trends and innovation.
How is your expertise and experience valuable for Braincats’ clients and Barcelona Health Hub?
I am very proud of having collaborated with Barcelona Health Hub, specifically, in helping it get to the location where it is currently based, and helping it be what it is starting to become. I had the honour of putting Cristian Pascual, the mastermind behind the initiative, in touch with Sant Pau. I also have the honour of being a Barcelona Health Hub ambassador. In my understanding, this is because over the past few years we have met a lot of people and have become known in the sector through having been involved in many different projects. In the future, I would like to be remembered as the guy who helped making things happen.
What attracted you to digital health and how did you first become involved in the sector?
I studied Medicine, and became a practicing doctor. In 1998, I undertook an MBA at ESADE Business School which opened my eyes to the business world and instilled in me a seed of curiosity for what the Internet would represent for our World. I bought the domain ‘doctoralia.com’ in the year 2000, and it wasn’t until the year 2007 that we were able to build something with two partners who are more technical than I am. In 2010, I left my management job in a private hospital in order to dedicate 100% of my time to Doctoralia. It has really been something.
Do you have any predictions for the future of the sector?
A lot of what will exist in the future is already being discussed today; digital therapies, connected health, at-home sensors and monitoring of chronic patients, personalized medicine -not just based on DNA but approach and treatment for each patient- and an abundance of other solutions that we can find at Barcelona Health Hub.
What do you think Braincats Consulting can uniquely offer both to the BHH ecosystem and the digital health sector as a whole?
Our idea is to bring knowledge and help with strategy whatever the stage, size, nationality or idea of the company we are helping. Our most fundamental objective is for our services to be of benefit to the client.
You recently invested in 10 startups, what are some of the features or characteristics that make you believe in someone’s project or idea?
Above all, I have learnt that I must get to know the sector more profoundly. Right now, we are correcting our initial instinct of getting involved in everything. We are becoming more selective. But the truth is that many of the startups around us are in seed stage which means that the mortality rate is pretty high. Another important thing that I learnt is to get to know the team we want to invest in well, to make sure that it is the right fit and that we will really be able to bring value to them. That’s why right now we are only focusing on three projects that we believe are a potential good fit.
Recently, 2 of those 10 investments had to close, could you explain what it is that most often makes digital health projects not work or succeed?
In one of the two cases, there was an ongoing argument or fight within the team, which led to the resignation of some technical staff and, as a consequence, a delay in production. If you run out of fuel before time, you won’t get to the destination and thus, distractions are fatal. Bad decisions are also fatal; trusting others, decisions that seem to lead to growth can often do the opposite. Moreover, there are also fake startups which in reality are projects financed by Europe. In our sector, there are people who live off public research grants. Sometimes such people do not know this, or do not want to know this because they believe they know it all. When the grant -which is supposed to help start off a business, rather than consolidate it – is discontinued, the project ends.
Finally, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to launch a digital health startup?
I would tell them many things: First, I would advise them to think of a Plan B; something to do if their entrepreneurial project does not work. I, for example, will always be able to practice as a doctor. Secondly, I would advise them to speak about it with their family; without my wife, who is also my business partner, I would not have dedicated myself to Doctoralia. Thirdly, I would tell them that having a business partner is as intense as being married, you must be sure of your decision when becoming partners as a bad partnership can end really badly. In Doctoralia, my partners have been and are good people. However, this is not always the case for every entrepreneurial project. Fourthly, do not involve yourself in things that you do not understand or dominate. Lastly…I will save any other advice for when I see you at Braincats….