Brazil’s healthcare dilemma and a startup’s solution – Kat Wendelstadt

Eleanor Sa-Carneiro

In Brazil, a population of over 200 million people faced a critical need for adequate healthcare. When Big Tech executive Kat Wendelstadt met Thomaz Srougi, a mathematician who saw how to bridge the supply and demand gap in Brazil’s healthcare system, plagued by issues of underfunding and corruption, she didn’t hesitate to team up and work on what was to become the largest primary healthcare provider in Latin America.

Despite the presence of a free healthcare system in Brazil, the allocated funds often failed to reach where they are most needed. Consequently, accessing a doctor, general practitioner, or pediatrician can take up to a year. “What happens is that 75% of the people aren’t insured and they just have to wait”, Kat Wendelstadt told The Qonversation, with potentially life-threatening consequences.

In response to this crisis, Dr. Consulta, the company, was providing primary care in clinics in areas with a high concentration of middle-to-low or middle-income patients, ensuring that consultations were affordable and accessible. “That’s essentially the need they fulfil – access to doctors at an affordable price”, Wendelstadt explained.

She was the first ever chief marketing officer, and during her tenure, “we built it from 4 to 30 (clinics) in 18 months”, which she conceded was a tough pace to keep up with. Dr. Consulta reached approximately 60 clinics and serves some two million people today. “It’s become the largest primary care provider across the continent”.

When asked what the magic formula to bring her on board had been at their first meeting, her answer applies to how she chooses which startups to invest in today, as Kat Wendelstadt is now an angel investor in 20 startups.

Besides addressing a massive problem “in a novel way”, Srougi was already a successful founder, with access to talent and capital, and a proven track record, “to me, that was a pretty irresistible combination: to work with an inspirational, visionary founder solving a big problem for a population that needed it”.

Watch this insightful episode of The Qonversation hosted by Eleanor Sá-Carneiro.

More from Qonversations


Screenshot 2024 03 29 at 18.19.08

5G in Africa: What’s its potential, Selasi Ahorlumegah?


Screenshot 2024 03 26 at 01.25.35

Challenges and Joys of Being a Multi-Talented Artist with Antonia Azoitei


Screenshot 2024 03 19 at 11.17.17

Empowerment Through Mindfulness: A Conversation with Claire Thomas


Screenshot 2024 02 09 at 11.36.03

Encourage leadership of ‘credible’ young Africans – Chike Ukaegbu

Front of mind