C-Suite Partners

Abrar Mir Part 1 – CoFounder & Managing Director – Quadria Capital

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Transcript

Intro  0:13  
Many aspire to reach the upper echelon of the healthcare industry, but few are able to successfully navigate the corporate ladder. As Asia becomes the world epicenter of the healthcare industry, C-Suite Partners sits down with international healthcare executives asking the tough questions and unpacking the personalities of the top industry leaders.

Welcome to the boardroom.

Michael Murray  0:34  
Abrar, thank you for joining  C-Suite Partners in the boardroom. 

Abrar Mir  0:37
Pleasure, thank you for having me.

Michael Murray  0:39
Talk me through where you see healthcare in the next 10 years.

Abrar Mir  0:42  
But we’re very actually very excited about the future of healthcare in Asia in particular, we firmly believe that the global center of gravity of the healthcare industry is moving very rapidly from the West to the East, in little less than 10 years, total healthcare spend in Asia is going to be about $4.3 trillion, or that number that’s larger than the entire US and European healthcare spend combined today at how big the opportunity is going to be. And that’s what really keeps us very excited. But more than that, just aside from the compelling investment opportunity that we see ahead of us, I also am very excited by the social opportunity. There’s a big opportunity for us to build large, scalable businesses, which ultimately we think will translate into affordable health care, which is a critical need for many millions in Asia. So we’re excited both both by the investment opportunity and the social opportunity.

Michael Murray  1:33  
You’ve got quite an interesting personal journey. Are you able to take us through to where you are today?

Abrar Mir  1:39  
Yeah, look, I have had some challenges, I’d say that one of my most profound experiences was when I was young, my family was forced to move from Africa to the UK and that shaped me to a large extent. I mean, frankly, first and foremost, it gave me access to a wonderful education. But secondly, it actually had a profound impact on me, in terms of the social care that’s in the UK. The NHS, yes, with all of its faults, still plays an essential role in the social fabric of the UK. And it made me realise one thing, that access to health care is a human right but it shouldn’t be based solely on where you’re born.

Michael Murray  2:21  
Did that affect the way that you build your business at the moment with regards to the mission of the organisation?

Abrar Mir  2:28  
Look, very much so. My father had to make a very difficult decision to leave Africa, primarily because he couldn’t ensure that I or my family would have access to good education or good health care. Now, that was a difficult decision, especially moving to the UK where I didn’t make what I didn’t even speak English. When I first got there. It was a difficult time. But ultimately, it translated into reality that for many millions, access to health care is still out of reach. There are many that is still living one day at a time, where they are a day away from an illness, a day away from an accident that results in financial catastrophe. The number one reason for financial bankruptcy in Asia isn’t someone buying a house they can’t afford or a car they can’t afford. It is unforeseen medical costs. And that really is a tragedy and that’s why we think having a market orientation, in other words, building sustainable large businesses, but at the same time, that have a real purpose to them, which is to create a social infrastructure of healthcare is a very important mission.

Michael Murray  3:34  
Commercially, what are the major differences in doing business say in the UK, US compared to Asia, but Asia is going through a period of sustainable growth.

Abrar Mir  3:41  
As I said, I think the center of gravity the global healthcare industry is moving from the west to these, the sector in Asia is running 10 to 15%. The rest of the world is 5%. So many of the global giants of the industry are pivoting their future growth towards Asia. But growth in Asia brings its challenges. And to my mind, there are three very big challenges. The first is access. There just aren’t enough doctors, there just aren’t enough beds. For instance, Indonesia with 250 million people, there are only 36 interventional cardiologists. A building in Singapore has more than 36. The second challenge is affordability. As I mentioned, about two and a half billion people in Asia, and less than $10 per day. Access to healthcare where they’re paying out of pocket becomes a key imperative. And the third is awareness. Asia has a huge disease burden. It has more diabetics than anywhere else in the world and has more cardiovascular patients than anywhere else in the world. The tragedy, however, is that most of those won’t know they’re suffering from those diseases until it’s too late. So anyone coming into Asia building large, successful businesses has to overcome these three very big challenges, access, affordability and awareness to build innovative businesses models that can actually ultimately capture the growth because capturing the growth without realising the challenges is very difficult and those challenges are very intrinsic to Asia.

Michael Murray  5:09  
What do you think is the main reason a lot of companies see the opportunity in Asia, but they don’t find the right partner? It seems to be that some businesses are coming, especially from the Australian market, it takes them a long time to find the right partner. Is that a cultural piece? Is that a business piece?

Abrar Mir  5:25  
I think that sentiment, frankly, is changing. I do think most of the global leaders are now pivoting their future growth towards Asia. Today, if I look at the healthcare sector, about 80% of the world’s healthcare industry growth is actually coming from Asia. So it’d be very difficult for global players to emerge who don’t have a strategy for Asia, we’re talking about, you know, many millions of people that still need access to healthcare and with the increasing affluence that we’re seeing, four of the five largest economies of the world will be Asian in less than 10 years time. Many companies can’t ignore that statistic and they really need to pivot their growth towards Asia. It’s not an easy task. It’s very hard sometimes to find the right partners and sometimes hard to find the right strategies to penetrate. But ultimately, I think, as Asia’s corporate landscape, alter develops, it will make it easier for global giants to actually find the right partnerships. 

Abrar Mir  6:31
I think the most important way to manage risk is to understand the core skill, the core business proposition that each healthcare business brings. Defining that core strength is the beginning of any defense because you’ve got to then protect that core skill. You’ve got to protect that core strength and build from that.