Preventive Health Care is a must. We are humans and evidently, we don’t know our body well. Like everything is prone to wear and tear, so is a human body. It ought to follow the drill of life- birth, life, death. So, in that process, our body is prone to certain diseases and disability. We might not know when our body catches those symptoms but with time it shows up and then we can only go to the doctor to buy time in the form of medicines. Now imagine if someone can tell you exactly what can go wrong with your health in the future, and he gives you a way to prevent a not-so-healthy future and stay healthier. Sounds cool, almost like a super-power, isn’t it?
Genecorp attempts to take up preventive health care to another level by targeting the genes of a particular person. By scanning the genes, they can tell what is lacking in a person and how that can be corrected. Hence, the disease is prevented even before it attacks our body. Preventive health care is undoubtedly at the top of the quintessential list. We should take due care of our body and take up measures to keep it healthy. Genecorp’s initiative is applaud-able as it focuses on the good health of India and therefore, its growth. Let’s look at their interview to know more about their measures and techniques for a better life.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Honestly, we tried being creative at first. We thought about names like GeneArth, KnowThyGene, GenomeXP, and a few others. We couldn’t wait a lot of time over naming, so kept it simple GENECORP and started with the core of our offering.
2.Who is your target Audience/clients?
We are a preventive health company. Anyone who can catch a disease or who has a fitness goal or who don’t know what is he or she made up of – meaning EVERYONE.
However, as a company, currently, we are focussing our energy in urban-educated-health conscious/cautious people aging 25 to 50.
We are also working on a plan to enter schools and teach kids what’s best for them, right from the beginning.
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
However, given the fact that our test requires no administration, we serve all over India. We have set logistics for the same. A team of online callers has been trained to cater to people over skype and phone. We also have local partners in few cities in India.
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Lifestyle is changing and with changing lifestyles comes susceptibility to more and more diseases. India has the highest number of diabetics in the World. Every 33 seconds, someone gets a heart attack. The number is shocking
That is what we are here to change. We make people preventive – using the power of genetic science. With a simple genetic test, people will be more efficient in following their fitness goals. They will also be able to prevent diseases like Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, etc.
Both Nutrition & Fitness (Nutri-Fit)
Nutrition, Fitness & Health (Go360)
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
We started our venture in fitness and wellness with a software platform called ClubYantra. It helped us understand the nitty gritty’s of diet and exercise plan. Parallelly I (Amit) and Anand were living the same life together – eating similar food and following the similar regime. Result – Anand lost weight, I gained. Made us curious and that helped us research. We stumbled upon the world of genes.
About how our own venture – It all started when Anand realized he spends a lot of his time in the gym and realised how people are growing conscious about health but there is still a lot to be improved in health and wellness. With the intent of helping people stay fit-ter effectively, I got on board too, so did Sandip. It was a difficult leap from well-paying corporate jobs to one’s startup, however so far so good.
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
As mentioned above, preventive health care is a soon-to-be necessity and given our demography more players make the reach better. Even then, we have players like “map my genome” who are doing first-half of what we are. We are different from available players bacause we are using tech to make healthcare intuitive.
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
I guess it was destiny. I and Anand joined ICICI Bank post our MBA. I stayed there for 3 months only before joining an investment bank. In this 3 months, I did one thing right – befriended Anand. We stayed in touch, met on weekends for parties, discussed business ideas, tried talking about problems other startups were facing and soon we wanted to start out own. Sandip and Anand belong to the same grad school NIT Warangal, where they completed Computer Science. Good friends and good skills were all we were looking for, Sandip was both. And the best part, he came onboard and was willing to not work in his traditional business or do his software consultancy work which he had been doing for 5+ years then. Someone who believes so much in your vision is rare to find. This is how we three got together.
8.How did you hire your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
Genecorp is a marriage of Genetic Science, Nutrition Science, and Technology. We had a vision, knew the way forward, could create technology ourselves but then we needed people on genetic and nutrition front. Our first employee was a Ph.D. doc specializing in genetic science and has a good idea about food biotech. We posted job requirement on a platform called Indeed. From where we hired her. For us, the criterion was simple:
High on technical skills
Ability to learn
Low on ego
9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
5 years is a long time and given how rapidly technology is changing, I believe a lot will happen to improve our services and help us create wider and deeper impact. However, as a company, we have a vision for the long term but concrete steps only for the next couple of years.
In the next 2 years, we will be present beyond India. We are planning to go long on genetic literacy. Given how important knowing one’s genetic makeup is, in these 2 years we believe more than 2 lacs people will be our users and each day they will take concrete steps towards changing their future health.
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
I think I would want to move from just an entrepreneur to an advisor. I will love if I am an angel investor then. Teaching is something I love. I would really want to join a college part-time.
11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
1 month – Need to get my operations better
3 months – Launch the 3rd version of my app
6 months – More than 50 B2B tie-ups
12 months – Bigger team, better operation, and deeper footprint.
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We did raise a pre-seed round with friends and family. We are running lean, some parts of the little money we raised are still left. We will soon look for funding. More than funds we are keen on onboarding few industry stalwarts and doctors as advisors.
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
I believe most startups face the same problems.
Idea validation → The idea for which we left our job failed immediately after leaving our jobs. Suddenly it felt a huge risk for nothing. However, we did not lose our mind and tried to understand why is it not feasible and what few changes can make it.
Initial customer → In our ecosystem, we say your first customer in a fonder memory than your first kiss. That first guy who trusts your product and is willing to pay is the God of Hopes for us.
No money → With an only 1-2 year of work-ex and no foresight of own venture, we had little savings. Managing without money was hard, especially when your parents were willing to give you as much as you want. It was a conscious choice to not take money from parents and so surviving felt all the more difficult. I have personally taught for money, consulted businesses on their survival strategies only cause the money was my survival strategy.
Right employees → I think vision-driven people willing to work on relatively lesser salaries are harder to find.
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
Challenges are many, the only difficult part is to keep going. Till the time you aren’t giving up, challenges will come and go. Thankfully I had the support of friends and family and I am a big fan of Rocky – I try to get up even after being hit multiple times ☺
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
In a relationship with Genecorp.
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I like blogging. Whenever I find the time, I try to share my experience.
I love coffee dates so when I am not working, I try to sneak out to catch up with someone over coffee – discuss on multiple fronts or simply enjoy a cup of coffee alone. I have developed a new found interest in poems and storytelling, will soon attend events for the same.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
I love Pizza. For now, my favorite holiday destination is my home. Especially with so much work, staying at home has become a luxury. However, if time permits I would like to go to Kerala.
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
Naming just one person won’t be true. From Steve Jobs to Mr. Tata, there are many people who motivate me. I remind myself of Sylvester Stallone from Rocky and Steve Smith from Pursuit of Happiness when in stress. I guess my friends and family’s belief in me motivates me most. But I seek motivation from many other sources like movies, meetings, other start-ups, etc.
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
I have been on both sides of the World and there is no major difference. There are people who are really working hard and passionately for the next promotion or for creating an impact in the organization they work for. There are people who want to start something of their own, create something and they work hard towards it. We call them entrepreneurs.
I believe both clans do anything possible to make their dream come true.
20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
If only I could start my career again, I will only try to start earlier and do the same things. I am a firm believer of learn-by-doing. So I know I will make some mistakes, learn some from others but this time I would want to start early.
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Social life – Zero
Family life – Twice yearly on occasions like Diwali
I try to stay in touch with friends and family but work is a priority now.
22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Guys just be prepared to fail multiple times. Because you will fail. Learn from your failures and keep moving ahead, I promise success will be yours too.
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I am a confused marketer. A CA by profession and MBA in Finance academically, I am managing marketing in my business.
People sometimes wonder why my profile and why health care or why even marketing. Honestly, I don’t even feel surprised. Right from childhood, I have seen my dad literally playing with Siemens switchgear. He is not an engineer but his business taught him what is required. So will my business. It will teach me whatever is required and I have willing to learn and do whatever it takes to make my vision a reality
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other startups in similar domains?
For every organization, no matter what they are pursuing, the only USP is ‘US’ meaning the team, the way they think, the way they execute. I believe likewise. Our USP is our understanding of our customers, how we want to serve them, how we want to create a difference. Yes, we do have technology but that is again a product of our thinking and trying to create deepest impact towards a person’s healthy future.
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Being biased. I have seen many small businesses and startups not open to outside ideas, not open to criticism. They somehow fail to see the wave of change. I believe it is very important to stay open to changes.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
I have been successful in surviving till now. I believing growing from surviving yourself to helping others survive is a success. Like I mentioned, eventually, I want to be a seed investor and teacher. This is just a small version of success. I am sure success keeps becoming grandeur as we move forward in its pursuit.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Amit Singhi ([email protected])