Why We Invested in Salú – Health At Work

1 min read

Excited to announce our investment alongside Softbank (Upload Ventures), Aggir and Norte in the now oversubscribed $2M seed of Salú, which is helping provide occupational health insurance in Brazil. They are also focusing on population management and supplementary health, outsourcing regulatory demand processes from HR teams through proprietary SaaS. Tau Ventures is an AI-first fund in Silicon Valley investing primarily in seed and we occasionally take later bets when we see immense promise. We are investing in US / Canada but in exceptional cases will consider a deal outside, case in point Brazil which is a market we know very well. Salú was founded in 2020 in São Paulo and impressed us with (1) a strong need, (2) building an execution-focused team, and (3) their business acumen.

1) The Need

Brazil has 210M people, making it the (6th largest population in the world and 2nd largest in the Western Hemisphere. It also spends 10% of its GDP in healthcare, which is in line with a middle-income country. But there are vast disparities in healthcare access and expenditure with significant undercoverage – only 1 in 4 has private insurance. In the last 5 years the country also saw the steepest drop in GDP in a century and the second highest death rate globally from covid, which has strained both its public and private healthcare. All of these are catalysts for payors, providers and employers to leapfrog their old systems and adopt a modern, digital-first solution offered by Salú.

2) The Team

Past is the least imperfect predictor of the future and as such, we were impressed with the team’s resume – the picture below should speak to it. Many of the founders came from the banking industry where they focused especially on the healthcare industry.

3) Business Acumen

The occupational insurance space is overall quite fragmented in Brazil. The country does boast of one of the largest single-payor system in the world covering all citizens but it is strained. So there is a latent demand ready to be unlocked. Salú so far has won dozens of contracts from existing vendors; the natural challenge is creating switching costs and loyalty. We have seen the team’s focus on numbers paying off as they now have 120+ customers across various segments.

We are honored and excited to be part of Salú’s journey, using technology to solve a big problem. More at http://www.salu.com.vc.


Originally published on “Data Driven Investor,” am happy to syndicate on other platforms. I am the Managing Partner and Cofounder of Tau Ventures with 20 years in Silicon Valley across corporates, own startup, and VC funds. These are purposely short articles focused on practical insights (I call it gl;dr — good length; did read). Many of my writings are at https://www.linkedin.com/in/amgarg/detail/recent-activity/posts and I would be stoked if they get people interested enough in a topic to explore in further depth. If this article had useful insights for you comment away and/or give a like on the article and on the Tau Ventures’ LinkedIn page, with due thanks for supporting our work. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Amit Garg I have been in Silicon Valley for 20 years -- at Samsung NEXT Ventures, running my own startup (as of May 2019 a series D that has raised $120M and valued at $450M), at Norwest Ventures, and doing product and analytics at Google. My academic training is BS in computer science and MS in biomedical informatics, both from Stanford, and MBA from Harvard. I speak natively 3 languages, live carbon-neutral, am a 70.3 Ironman finisher, and have built a hospital in rural India serving 100,000 people.

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