ÓSCAR MENDOZA SAN MARTÍN

Spain 2021 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Óscar Mendoza San Martín, CEO of MC360, on learning from Turkey, leading the Spanish market, and expansion plans for the coming years.

How has the company evolved since it was created in at the end of 2018?

Since I was 18, I have been interested in hairdressing, aesthetics, and eventually aesthetic medicine. I am the son of a hairdresser, and I gradually moved into the commercial area of aesthetic medicine. In 2017, while researching hair transplants for myself, I realized it was difficult to find a good product in Spain that had a suitable price quality relation. Prices were close to EUR8,000 in Spain, and no product offered the guarantee that Turkey did. In Turkey, I found the results that Spain could not offer, so I went to Turkey in 2017 to get the procedure done. Since then, my obsession for this business has grown further. I went to find equipment, developed a marketing strategy, and hired a team. It was an extremely difficult process. In fact, many companies have tried to implement this model in Spain and have been unsuccessful.

What are the main challenges in establishing this business in Spain?

One of the main challenges is that there is no one to copy from, so we had to go to Turkey. In Turkey, we hired the best specialists, and we combined them with the best that Spain has to offer, which is its healthcare system. We combined the Turkish technique with the excellent healthcare practice in Spain. We then improved Turkey's technique. My market study was 48 friends whom I sent to different Turkish clinics to get real feedback. Then, I went to Turkey to study the sector, and I met with doctors and nurses and learned about the procedure. We train our staff ourselves, because that provides a better result.

MC360 has become the leader in Spain in hair transplant with the FUE technique. How would you describe your services?

The surgery most commonly used in our clinic is the FUE technique. It is a hair restoration process in which hair follicles are extracted from the donor's head. The difference between Spain and Turkey is that in Spain we care greatly for the donor area, while Turkey does not. In Spain, we produce a so-called hybrid process. We do not lie about the number of hair units that we will transplant. Right now, what differentiates us from our competitors is that we have copied the Turkish model. We can perform surgeries of 4,000 units within a day, whereas with other procedures such an amount would take two days. We attempt to transplant a large amount of hair units in the quickest time possible but always with the higher quality standards.

Previously, some 500,000 people traveled to Turkey annually to undergo hair transplant. What has been the impact of the pandemic on MC360's operations?

In March 2020, when the lockdown was implemented, we thought it would last for two weeks, when in fact it lasted almost three months. The pandemic has hit our revenue forecast for 2020. We lost EUR1 million in revenue during the lockdown, and in an attempt to recover the lost market share, we have hired more staff, invested more in digital marketing, and expanded our facilities. We have now in fact surpassed our pre-COVID-19 revenue forecast. This success was due to the reduction in the number of flights to Turkey, our investment in TV and online advertisement, and our operation's expansion. Nearly 24% of our monthly patients are referrals, and that is extremely important to us. We are commercializing 200 interventions per month, and 50 of those are referrals from previous patients. Another important achievement was the agreement we signed with Tahe Group. That is important to us because we now have 1,500 partner hair salons that can help us get clients. The salons do not provide the hair transplant service, but recommend this treatment to our potential patients. We will end the year with more than EUR1 million in EBITDA, which is higher our initial projections of EUR400,000. Our projection is for 2021 is EUR3.5 million.

What are your expansion plans?

We have two projects, one in the US and another in Europe. In Europe, we want to implement the same model in Spain with the Tahe Group to find different spots in Portugal, the UK, France, and Spain to capture more clients. In 2022, we want to open a clinic in Puerto Vallarta or Panama focused on American tourists. Puerto Vallarta is a spot for medical tourism, and there are currently many Americans flying to Turkey; we believe there could be an opportunity for these services in Puerto Vallarta and Panama. Such surgery can cost USD25,000 in the US, so we feel we can capture these clients from the US and Latin America. In 2021, we want to start with the research process, at the same time also creating our own academy. This will not be a private academy for other centers, but to provide trained workers for us.

What is your main priority for next year?

The main priority is to open the European market and to capture European clients in order to turn Madrid into an important location for this business. We always seek to double our growth and increase from 12 operation rooms to 24. We have a pilot program for Murcia because it is one of the isolated cities in Spain. Murcia is an autonomous community, and we were not receiving many patients from Murcia.