High-Impact Entrepreneurship

eMBA Field Report: Halfway into my Brazil endeavor

By Anna Bae

Anna is an MBA student at Harvard Business School and is spending her summer as an eMBA with Minha Vida in Brazil.

I can’t believe it’s already been five weeks. And I wish I had more time left here in Sao Paulo. Roberto Lifschitz, one of the two founders of Minha Vida, and the team couldn’t make my life any easier, safer, and more delightful since the day I arrived. They sent an English-speaking driver to pick me up at the airport, put me in a hotel that’s in 3-minute walking distance to the office (and a bit too nice for a lowly intern), showed me around the city in the weekends, let me try some authentic Brazilian restaurants (there’s so much more than barbeque in Brazilian cuisine!), translated Portuguese conversations into English for me during lunches, drove miles to have a weekend brunch with me in my neighborhood, invited me over to their homes and even offered me a chance to travel with them. Encouraged by their hospitality, I’m trying my best to contribute to Minha Vida’s business as much as possible.

Minha Vida is an online health/wellness company that aspires to protect and improve Brazilians’ health by making medical and wellness information easily accessible, especially to mid/low-income population. Its revenue comes from the ads on the site and fees from its signature weight-loss program, “Deita e Saude” (D.S..) Because the online ad market is still fairly immature in Brazil, DS’s program fee is responsible for almost 70% of the revenue. For my Endeavor eMBA project, my own focus is making this cash cow more successful by improving DS user engagement.

DS has been growing very strong, meeting its aggressive revenue goals. But it recently started seeing a slight drop in the active user number and a rise in program cancellation.

Because I worked on several projects to improve online user engagement before business school, this task was not completely new but still challenging. I started by setting milestones for myself –- e.g. first week to understand the product, user, and the market; second week to diagnose the problem and benchmark against the industry leaders in the U.S.; and so on, to finish with the plans of actions. However, with the cooperation of Roberto and the DS crew, we managed to come up with some action items already, got them approved by the management, and are now in the execution mode. Beauty of a start-up.

Last week, we started an internal program that aims to spur user activity in the DS community space. DS has a blog space where its users can motivate each other, and data has proven that once a user participates in the community, s/he becomes much more engaged to DS overall and likely to extend her/his membership. This week, we are working with a designer, web architect, and a nutritionist to improve the “onboarding” experience of the new users — to wow the new users within 3-5 minutes after their registration. And more to come in the coming weeks…

I also had the pleasure to visit the Endeavor Brazil office by the invitation of staffmember Leticia Queiroz, and attend the welcoming event for newly selected Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Most of the new entrepreneurs’ businesses were related to security in the tech space (mobile, online), which is very important for a country where Internet usage is growing by over 10 million users a year. Located in a university building, Endeavor’s Sao Paulo office was still very busy and active even around 8pm. In the midst of the busyness, everyone was kind enough to get up from the chair to greet me with a customary cheek kiss. Many of them have just returned from the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco.

All in all, my stay in Brazil has been incredible. Can’t thank Endeavor and Minha Vida enough for this opportunity.


This picture is from my very first “happy hour” with my friends at Minha Vida.

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