Antares 2014 Field Studies
Please note: Accepted students must register for the HBS field course 6908: Impact Investing and Social Commercial Models in the spring semester. Students are required to travel to either India, Indonesia or California and work in the field all five working days during spring break.
Costs: Antares will cover the cost of the flights. Partner organization take on local costs for the team (i.e. local lodging, transport, translator). The students will cover personal out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. meals, vaccinations, visas).
Understanding and Building Pioneering Models
Interventions that target Antares Top Ten health issues exist, but may not be widely known or have achieved commercial sustainability or scale. Antares works to identify and partner with field organizations which deliver such interventions, deploying joint teams of public health and business students to analyze and help improve existing models or develop new ones to meet Antares objectives.
Since 2007, Antares has engaged 88 students in 17 projects spanning 11 countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia. Field study outcomes are threefold. All partner organizations report meaningful contributions to their thinking, strategy or operations as a result of the Antares collaboration. Many Antares students continue to pursue related work, holding promise that Antares can help address a key bottleneck by inspiring young professionals to join in the creation of market-based solutions to address poverty. And involvement with pioneering organizations and projects continually builds Antares’ intellectual capital to help advance the field.
Past Antares Field Studies
Pro Mujer: a microfinance institution offering health services in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru
For several years, Pro Mujer and Antares have collaborated in optimizing the health platform for the women clients of this longstanding microfinance organization. The first Antares team, charged with studying how the health platform might cease being a burden on the microfinance operations, concluded that it was a key component of Pro Mujer’s value proposal and competitive advantage. Antares teams worked in Bolivia, first designing a pilot to expand health services and then recommending adjustments and reviewing implementation. One year Antares students worked in Mexico and were charged to design a commercial health platform for the recently launched Pro Mujer microfinance operations. The team delivered an analytical framework for general application to any region combining maximum incremental health impact with commercial viability. Another Antares team looked at optimizing internal operations to provide more comprehensive health services for Pro Mujer in Peru. This included a combination of addressing existing tensions between clients and loan officers as well as broadening the loan officers’ role to one of coach so that they saw selling health services as an integral part of their jobs. Pro Mujer has incorporated healthcare as a central component of its mission and strategy, created a senior management position to oversee all Pro Mujer’s healthcare operations (filled with an alumna of Antares-Pro Mujer Team 1), who in turn hired an alumnus of Antares-Pro Mujer Team 3 to become the director of healthcare for Mexico.
MeraDoctor: providing easy and affordable access to primary care for thousands of families in cities and villages across India through phone-based consultation
Founded in 2010 by Gautam Ivatury, an expert in mobile-phone based financial and health services, and Dr. Ajay Nair, a Mumbai trained doctor and HSPH MPH, MeraDoctor’s mission is to bring high-quality, reliable healthcare advice to everyone in India as soon as they need it. The goal is to serve millions of families as their trusted, first line of health care. It runs a call-center facility that allows doctors to provide primary health care facilities to Indians over the phone for a nominal subscription fee. Antares students looked at the question of how MeraDoctor can extend its health services for higher impact in a commercially viable way. The team looked at different ways for MeraDoctor to recruit and train paramedics, source devices, as well as how to best understand rural patients’ needs and their ability to pay. Terry Kramer, entrepreneur-in-residence at HBS, worked with the MeraDoctor team and lent his expertise in mobile technology. The team went to Mumbia, India. The Antares priority addressed was primary health care.
iDE Cambodia: developing market based solutions to provide affordable toilets to the rural poor in Cambodia, Laos, East Timor, Nepal , Bangladesh and African countries
iDE is a non-profit International NGO with a unique market-based approach to poverty reduction. iDE helps to build profitable enterprises and value chains that deliver sustainable social and economic benefits to the rural poor, enabling them to increase their income and improve their quality of life. Since 2003, iDE has been working with local enterprises to address the untapped rural sanitation market, first in Vietnam and expanding into Cambodia. Recently it completed a project in Cambodia that resulted in 17,000 unsubsidized latrines being purchased by rural households over a 16-month period, which is a 300% increase over the baseline rate of latrine installations. The project demonstrated that rural households, even poor households, would invest in latrines that met their aspirations and that local enterprises were willing to invest their own resources to address the burgeoning demand. These results have generated a lot of enthusiasm among the WASH sector in Cambodia and globally. iDE is planning sanitation marketing projects in Laos, East Timor, Nepal and Bangladesh, with a number of African countries. An Antares field team analyzed the potential of a social enterprise with a dedicated sales force that may drive greater uptake of latrines. The Antares priority addressed was primary health.
VisionSpring (formerly Scojo Foundation): a multi-channel franchise system to sell reading glasses in India
The VisionSpring team explored the reasons why vision entrepreneurs’ sales of eyeglasses were lower than projections. They identified a number of factors and formulated suggestions about how VisionSpring might adjust its operations to improve performance. VisionSpring management credited the Antares team’s work with having surfaced some key strategic issues which had not previously been apparent, and provided the impetus to reexamine their strategy in a new light. VisionSpring management has used the team’s report to open dialog with staff, and continues to explore the possibility of implementing a number of the Antares team’s recommendations related to product mix, new markets and segments, salary and incentive structure, and marketing strategy.
LiveWell Clinics: one-stop shops to make health care and products accessible throughout Kenya
The LiveWell Clinics team helped the founder to grapple with a financial model that wouldn’t breakeven and design a new approach, re-thinking her market penetration strategy, while further fleshing out plans for the organization’s structure, financials, and roll-out. LiveWell management credited the Antares team with challenging every aspect of her model, from the proposed operating structure and processes, to the market-entry plan, in order to come up with an approach that would be financially viable given capacity constraints and target price points. The team’s analysis and projections provided substantial inputs for the founder’s business plan, with which she is in the process of raising launch capital.
Living Goods: an Avon-like franchise system to deliver health-related products in Uganda
The Living Goods team explored the supply chain for product sourcing, including the pricing and margins of alternative channels. The team also analyzed the viability of a series of prospective future products and made recommendations about product mix and incentives. This team was in the field just months after Living Goods’ initial launch, an important time to help validate and refine management thinking. The team’s supply chain research confirmed that Living Goods’ pricing was somewhat better than market alternatives, a key tenet of its economic model. The team also helped Living Goods realize the need to consider existing product adoption in planning training and promotion, and identified the type of health education materials needed to support health promoters’ work.
Embrace: A $25 incubator to sustain low-birth-weight babies in Nepal
The Embrace team tackled the question of how to distribute a $25 incubator to the people who would need it most, often in hard to reach areas. They identified three prospective channels to cover the spectrum of market segments and detailed an implementation approach for each. Embrace management credits the Antares team with helping to refine its thinking about several key aspects of its model, from organizational structure to how to go to market. The team’s illustration of how to reach various market segments, and the potential to achieve breakeven faster via a staged roll-out strategy, caused Embrace to begin to seriously explore a cross-subsidy model. As Embrace management works toward launch in India, it continues to use the Antares team’s financial model to quantify new markets.
Health Access Corporation: An approach to increasing health and nutrition benefits access in the Mississippi Delta
An Antares team, working with various partners through the Delta Directions Consortium, analyzed the healthcare market in the Mississippi Delta region of the U.S. to conceive of potential commercial interventions that might contribute to better health and economic development in the Delta. The team identified significant under-enrollment in Medicaid, CHIP, WIC and SNAP programs. They developed a potential model which would engage a network of community agents supported by an information system to facilitate the enrollment and re-enrollment processes, enabling more eligible families to make use of health and nutrition benefits, while generating employment.
AyurVAID: a hospital network that delivers ayurvedic healthcare to low-income populations in India.
AyurVAID is a network of small (15-30 bed) hospitals which blend traditional Ayurveda and modern allopathic approaches with a focus on chronic disease management. The Antares field study team explored the health impact, robustness of the economic model, and implications of projected rapid growth for AyurSEVA, the organization’s program targeted to low-income markets. The team identified four pillars for SEVA’s long-term sustainability and delivered recommendations to strengthen each component. The team also recommended ways to increase SEVA’s competitiveness through improved marketing and HR strategies. Finally, the team developed an evaluation model to assess the health impact of SEVA’s operations. The team’s analysis provided substantial inputs to AyurSEVA’s growth plan. AyurVAID management credits the Antares team with impacting their overall thinking and has begun to implement its recommendations.
CARE: a hub-and-spoke model using Village Health Champions for delivery of primary healthcare to rural India.
CARE Hospitals, a profitable, private network of 11 tertiary care hospitals in India, is working to extend primary and secondary care to the vast, under-served rural market on an effective, sustainable basis. To do so, CARE has developed a hub-and-spoke model which further leverages physicians and infrastructure by engaging village health champions (VHCs) to reach patients in distant markets. The Antares field study team examined the functioning of CARE’s rural health model from an economic and health perspective, seeking ways to optimize performance. The team’s analysis helped CARE management refine their thinking about a few key elements of operations, and revisit the financial model. CARE is currently examining implementation of Antares recommendations in specific areas, as they plan to expand across India.