Powering Genomics and Genetic Testing Genome testing offers us a peak into a scientific future
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Genomics is a niche space, with a handful of experts and limited number of freshers being churned out every year. Thereby, it makes it all the more difficult for recruiters to recruit employees, who have got the right kind of expertise and can understand their company vision.
This led to Samarth Jain, founder of Positive Bioscience, finding an opportunity in this domain and only after organizing multiple events and symposiums in the related domain, did he came across the right set of enthusiasts who he found to be at sync with his vision and were perfect to join his team. His idea was to spread awareness about the benefits of genomics among Indian masses, which led to the launch of his entrepreneurial journey.
Entrepreneur India interacted with Samarth Jain to understand his vision of genomics.
Please tell us about your work experience and how your educational background supported it.
I am an Economics graduate from University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign, USA and started my career at Wall Street in 2011. This was the start of my career, which goes without saying, I took up very enthusiastically. Being exposed to the economic intricacies of international businesses I found myself gravitating towards the healthcare domain. When I got the opportunity to invest in healthcare companies, I got introduced to the world of genomics and genetic testing. It was new and exciting and grabbed my attention immediately. Marveled by the colossal benefits, it was already providing the Western healthcare model in terms of reducing costs and improving patient care, I was convinced of replicating the same in India. With a vision to provide a comprehensive genomics test to improve the healthcare outcome in India, was the start of Positive Bioscience.
What was the path you chose to be an entrepreneur? Was entrepreneurship really your career vision?
The concept of genetic testing was novel and still unheard of in India. Besides the healthcare model in the country is treatment oriented, rather than prevention. Genomics testing was allowing people in the West to prevent diseases even before they had a chance to develop. This was not only reducing costs incurred on treatment, but also helping people to stay healthy. My idea was to make the Indian masses aware of these benefits by introducing genomics.I always wanted to do something new with a vision of helping the people live a better life and that was realized when I founded Positive Bioscience.
Please share the story behind the conceptualization of your startup brand.
As a young analyst at Wall Street, I was hungry to learn and started absorbing as much knowledge whilst working with my seniors and peers. I always had a personal inclination towards the healthcare sector and while investing in healthcare companies, genomics first caught my eye. I started to read and research more and more about it and soon got glued to it. My economics background helped me understand the market trend in this sector, while also helping me outline a basic plan. I spoke to my aunt Dr. Meetha Medhora (who is one of the co-founders of Positive Bioscience) about genomics testing for disease prevention and personalizing treatment plans and was convinced of introducing the same in India. This is how we began in 2012.
How did the name of your startup come up? Please share with us the story behind it.
My father suggested it. I liked the word "positive" in terms of being positive and thinking positively.
How have your consumers responded to your product/service? Any particular story or comment you remember?
Once we commercially launched our products in 2014, the response has really built-up over time. We are always overwhelmed by the positive feedback we receive from our clients on a daily basis. We often receive referrals for our tests from past clients, who acknowledge our services. In addition to this, we also involve a follow up with all our clients in order to understand their health developments and how well have they incorporated our healthy recommendations. This also helps us understand grievances if any and suggestions conveyed by our many clients.
What is your source of inspiration which keeps you moving ahead?
This is my first business venture and I am often categorized as a "young entrepreneur'. I believe that if you have the right drive, a logical mind and the zeal to keep up and keep going even after lows, and long after the initial enthusiasm has faded is what will keep you in business. The very belief that "I can pioneer a change, irrespective of whether small or big is what keeps me inspired.
Which was the last startup that made you think, "This made my life a bit easier"?
Uber and Ola have made traveling much simpler.
What are few of the tips you would give to beginners who intend to enter Indian startup ecosystem?
I stand by one word and that is "persistence. It's easy to have dreams, but complement those dreams with goals and strive heard to achieve them. Pick up the right core team who believes in your vision and at the same time is capable of replicating the ideas in fruitful success stories. Lastly, always believe in yourself and your passion.
What has been the role of your family in your success story?
My family has always stood by me like a rock right from the time I first told them about my business idea. The initial funding for the business in fact came from my family. I am glad to have my family as my support system.
What's your business mantra to stay ahead in the market?
I firmly believe that there is no shortcut to success, but only hard work. Always work on creating and providing for a sustainable business. It is highly important to focus on product innovation, upgrade and finally the delivery experience. The best way to stay ahead in the market is to innovate and not imitate.
What is the biggest challenge which you faced while running your business? How did you face it?
The biggest challenge when we began was the lack of awareness about genetic testing in the country. The limited exposure to genomics was equally prevalent among healthcare providers, doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Conventional healthcare strategy places very little emphasize on prediction; it is more about treating the patient.
The healthcare scenario in India is quite complex, with management, care and services being at various stages, and for us, developing the infrastructure for servicing the needs of practitioners across the country was a priority. So, we invested the first two years working closely with leading doctors in the country to understand the gaps in the clinical space while also educating them about the usefulness of these tests to prevent diseases.