Buenos Dias de México! Jenny Chang, Albert Kim, Masha Lisak, and I are on assignment in Mexico City. Not only is this the largest city in Mexico, but it is also the third most populous area globally, with over 20 million residents. The distrito Federal (D.F.) is similar to Washington D.C., in that it’s a federal entity, separate from the 31 individual states of Mexico. With over 34% of the Mexico’s GDP, and 20% of the country’s population, Mexico City is the economic, political, and cultural center of the nation.

We have been working remotely with a local healthcare startup for three months, and are excited to finally be on the ground with the team. The organization provides specialized eye care for the large segment of mid- and lower-income population of Mexico City.The two founders, Carlos (former Haas alum) and Javier, are quintessential entrepreneurs juggling expansion, strategy, and operational challenges on daily and hourly basis. Our role is to evaluate growth opportunities in the Mexican healthcare sector, to determine possible strategic directions that the organization can take. It’s truly an experiential task, as we’re synthesizing lessons from classes such as microeconomics, marketing, operations, and of course strategy.

In the few days we’ve been here, the office has been a torrent of activity with rapid hiring and preparation for the new clinic. This clinic, situated in the Roma district of Mexico City, will be the first for the company and a major milestone towards their vision of accessible quality specialists. It will offer cataract surgery and laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy. These two services are in great demand in Mexico City, with hundreds of patients on the waiting list for government-funded care. In a few short months, this former furniture warehouse will transform into a patient testing space, operating theaters, recovery zone, and an optical shop so that those patients may have a private sector alternative.

We’re excited to work closely with the local team, and its many supporters. In the past few days our team has met public officials, industry experts, private care providers, as well as the target patients. Jenny and Masha, with their excellent Spanish, have been doing a lot…well, ALL of the talking! It is definitely a learning experience to work internationally, as business is intertwined with culture. One thing we’ve mastered, is eating well. The food here is absolutely fantastic, but I’ll let Albert (resident salsa king) comment more on that later. The next two weeks promise to be really exciting and we’ll be sharing details of our progress again soon!

—Joe Wadcan

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