November 13, 2020

Bive Healthcare & Pablo Neruda’s “Sunset Factory”

Colombians often wait months to schedule healthcare appointments through their public system. When they give up waiting they too often suffer from poor health outcomes.

Three  entrepreneurs from Manizales, Colombia--Jorge Alejandro Garcia Rarmirez, Diana Carolina Quintero Giraldo and Felipe Tibocha--created Bive to give Colombians speedier, affordable access to care.

Bive offers an annual membership that costs about $50 annually which guarantees appointments with private providers in less than seven days at discounts of up 60% of a doctor visit.  Bive does this by partnering with a variety of local health providers (doctors, pharmacies, opticians, etc.)

Through the Innovations in Healthcare internship program, I traveled to Manizales, Colombia this summer to join Bive’s team with three specific tasks:

  • To help Bive better understand how their clients use their service.
  • To help map out ways to improve the customer journey experience with Bive.
  • To offer recommendations for a new customer experience approach.

Through these tasks, I helped Bive with their scale-up strategy and team structure. Together we brainstormed ways for the team to be more effective, efficient and digital. Inspired by local Chiva buses – the colorful vehicles in Colombia known for their ruggedness and adaptability, we called this strategy “the new Chiva for Bive.”

Although my time with Bive and the city of Manizales was short, it taught me a lot about entrepreneurship. Manizales--surrounded by mountains, coffee plantations and the Nevado del Ruiz volcano--is famous for its stunning light, inspiring the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, to call Manizales “Fabrica de atardeceres" ( “the sunset factory.”) I was similarly inspired by the sunsets of Manizales as well as the team from Bive.

Even great ideas and innovative startups can lack focus on their core value proposition if they are just looking at daily outputs (new sales for example). To experience all the colors of a great sunset you need to climb to places where the view is clear. Similarly, to truly understand the problems and challenges of an organization, you need to find the viewpoints of each member of your team and key stakeholders of your business. When planning your entrepreneurial endeavor, it is important to not let the urgent crowd out the important and to create a culture of transparency and active communication. As the author of The Lean Startup, Eric Ries, mentioned in his book, vision is the most important asset entrepreneurs should have.

Seeing all the colors of a Neruda--inspiring sunset sometimes requires that you embrace the long miles to reach the highest point of a mountain. Similarly, entrepreneurship requires a passion to sustain you as you pass through the different obstacles down the road.

I hope that my work with Bive has helped the organization in its continued journey in this new Chiva helping Colombians get faster, affordable healthcare.