One of the largest private healthcare companies in Central and Eastern Europe, Medicover has helped millions of people since its creation in 1995. The company is the largest private employer of medical professionals in Central and Eastern Europe, with more than 11,000 employees.
Medicovers 100 clinics and three hospitals, and some 80 laboratories across the 14 markets where it operates, have more than 4.5 million patient visits annually, and process more than 100 million lab tests, with these figures continuously increasing. The companys catchcry is caring for your health is all we do, and it offers a number of health services and plans for its members. Fredrik Rågmark has been CEO of Medicover since 1997, although he never imagined he would have a career in the healthcare industry at the start of his working life. I was going to go to London and have a career in the financial services industry, Fredrik explains. But then a good friend of mine was working for Oriflame in the Philippines and he convinced me to have a lunch with the owner of Oriflame, Mr Jonas af Jochnick, and I did. And over two hours Jonas convinced me to come and work for Oriflame instead: thats why I moved to Belgium. And then in about 1994, we set up a venture capital company for Eastern Europe, ORESA Ventures, and before we had even formed that company we came across this business which was Medicover, and this was early 1995.
We started to invest into Medicover so I was involved as we set up the company. We started trade in August 1995, so we have our twentieth anniversary of Medicover this year. Then, unfortunately, in 1998 Russia devalued, so the venture capital company lost a lot of money as we had quite a big exposure to Russia at the time. Then we were really faced with a decision on what to do, and we decided to sell off all other assets and keep Medicover. This was definitely one of the most important strategic decision on our journey, and one that we for sure have never come to regret.
Despite Fredrik and the majority owner of the company Jonas af Jochnick not having any experience in health care back in 1995, they have managed to ensure Medicover has grown and evolved over time. The key, Fredrik says, was that they were aware of their limitations. One very key element for us in the early days, which has stayed with us, was we were quite humble about what we did and didnt know.