USD15 MILLION FOR 500 CENTERS

Mexico 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to José Luis Elizondo López, Founder and Chief Membership Officer of Wellmedic, on the health industry's expansion, investment in construction, and OECD standards.

What opportunities did you identify in the health sector that motivated you to create a co-working center for the health industry in the country?

Wellmedic Health Centers is the first specialized co-working space in the health sector in the world. I have almost 15 years in the world of real estate, which led me to become an investor in real estate and get acquainted with different business models. This concept was conceived in the US 30 years ago and evolved into the co-working space model it is today. This model of intelligent workspaces is an ideal solution to promote business entrepreneurship and facilitate the operations of small and medium-sized businesses. It allows small entrepreneurs to focus on their business and forget about working space management. When I realized there was nothing in the specialized sector worldwide, I decided to invest my assets and invite investment partners to create the first health center in the city of Monterrey. There we established ourselves and in December completed four years of operations. We started the first unit with 30 offices in a 1,000sqm center with fully equipped offices. We currently have seven units in operation, and the model has been strengthening. Today we serve a little more than 200 specialists, mainly doctors from more than 35 different disciplines, from pediatricians to geriatricians who are specialists in older adults. And everything you can imagine.

What is the advantage of having a Wellmedic office compared to having one in a private hospital?

What we do is offer our spaces to psychologists, nutritionists, dentists and doctors of all specialties. We have all kinds of health professionals, which is something that does not happen in hospitals. While you also find medical surgeons in hospitals, it is difficult to find a clinical doctor and rare to find a dermatologist or even a dentist. Wellmedic's concept is to empower the health professional as an institution created for doctors with the intention of helping connect them with the best in the health market. As a platform for doctors, and main focus is rather than renting doctors an office, we provide them with all the tools a health professional needs to exponentially grow. That is why we are disruptive in this industry. The doctor is a professional who, unlike the rest of us, has to spend more time than average for his professional preparation and never really finishes studying. A general practitioner finishes his training and has to invest another 5 or 10 years to study a specialty. Our focus on helping them become entrepreneurs and health entrepreneurs.

What kind of investment model do you use to open centers in such a short time?

When I created the Wellmedic Health Centers brand, I knew it was a model that would grow in scale. These infrastructure units called Health Centers are buildings that are becoming the home of high-specialty doctors. We intend to have one center in each state of the country, which calls for at least 32, though states like Mexico City, Nuevo León, or Jalisco justify opening more than one. This means at least 35 in the country. In terms of health, Mexico has the penultimate place of the 35 countries that belong to the OECD. In infrastructure, we have the equivalent of 1.5 hospital beds for every 10,000 inhabitants. While in the leading countries of the OECD, they have between 18-20 beds. That is the gap we have to cover. Infrastructure coverage is a very important issue. There need to be more buildings for healthcare.

How many centers do you plan to open in 2020?

The Wellmedic Connect model gathers general practitioners. The high-end infrastructure aims to offer the doctor a decent workspace and give the patient a suitable environment, a format intended for first contact medicine. In five years, we want to have at least 500 centers, not only with pharmaceutical groups. This is actually a model we intend to have in high traffic areas and housing complexes and will replicate. They will be close to pharmaceutical points so the medicine can be obtained conveniently. These units may also be in a supermarket because supermarkets also sell medications, superfoods, and other things the doctor recommends.

How much capital will the construction of 500 centers require?

We will need USD15 million to build 500 centers. The Wellmedic model is a real estate fractional investment model to which invite patrimonial partners. Several individual investment partners become owners of a piece of property, and Wellmedic as a brand becomes the long-term tenant for these equity investors. This investment partner becomes our lessor, and Wellmedic acquires a simultaneous commitment where he sells a property or real estate that is growing in surplus value. We usually buy the land and develop it. We are a health and real estate company. Now we are in Playa del Carmen. Wellmedic has three formats in infrastructure: health centers are the second level, while the first is Wellmedic Connect, which are small units of 50-100sqm. The health centers have around 100sqm. The third consists of clusters, which are macro real estate projects. As we are doing now in Playa del Carmen, we are building 15,000sqm. It will be our first medical building with operating rooms, a hotel for patients, a shopping plaza, and health market with pharmacies, laboratories, a gym, and spa. These projects are being done with this equity investment model.