Genome Medical, Inc. Co-Founder and CEO
Harvard Business School MBA with distinction, Business Management and Entrepreneurship
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How did you get to where you are today? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path? What inspired you to work on this startup idea?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah, that's a great question. So, you know, I have been in the field of genetics and genomics for most of the last two decades, and I kind of came into that a little bit e don't know both by life experiences, which I'm happy to elaborate on and a little bit of luck, I guess A swell. But I am so passionate about what I dio that I have been kind of systematically tackling how we can bring precision medicine to more patients over time. And I found it Gino Medical about four years ago. Really, with the vision of solving a lot of the service delivery challenges that exist to be able to better understand, you know which patients would benefit what test is needed, and then how to interpret and use the resulting information to guide clinical care. And so a lot of the, um, you know, kind of my inspiration for Gino Medical came because prior to this, I was the chief commercial officer and then the chief strategy officer at a leading molecular diagnostic testing company. Invite a And so I saw from that vantage point where the market was headed and what was needed And then I found it, You know, medical to really help solve. You know what I saw? I was kind of the next set of challenges that needed to be tackled to bring precision medicine forward.You know, I have been a long time entrepreneur, and this is actually the seventh company that I have started. And so a lot of my early life experiences, you know, just kind of shape to where I am now. And just prior to this, I was helping to build a molecular diagnostic testing company called in Vitae, and it became clear to me while there that actually the biggest challenge in bringing forward genetics and genomics to more patients is tackling a lot of service delivery issues. So I founded, you know, medical to do just that and to really bridge the care gap that exists today by helping you know physicians understand which patients would benefit which genetic test is needed, and then how to interpret and use the resulting information to guide clinical care.

What is the elevator pitch of your startup? What problem does it solve? How were your customers solving their pain point before your startup?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
So I think that's always a critical item to know. Before you become an entrepreneur. It's sort of the Why do you exist? Why are you here? And you know what are you solving? In our case, the number one pain point we solve is that the vast majority of patients who would benefit from genetics and genomics are not getting that care. Today. We're just There's a huge care gap. There's too few clinicians who are knowledgeable in the field. The field has moved so quickly that the standard of care is typically not accessible for most patients. And so Gino Medical really exists to break down. Those barriers were creating ease of access to patients everywhere, and we're bringing genomic based medicine to patients currently in all 50 states in the US, with aims to expand internationally.

Can you walk us through your first few weeks when you started working on this project? How did things change over the next few months?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
sure. So I said, I'm a long time entrepreneur and you know, when you start a company, you know, really, in this case, I had to exceptional co founders. So my co founder, Dr Randy Scott, who's a real visionary in precision medicine and has been in the field for more than two decades on then my second co founder is Dr Robert Green, and he's a leading medical geneticist at Harvard Medical School and bring him in Women's Hospital. Onda has led a lot of N I H grants regarding what does it mean to sequence individuals and use the resulting information. So it was really the three of us that were kind of coming together with the ideation of, you know, what should the company be? How do we think about, um, you know, just launching and getting started and having been a long time entrepreneur myself and some of my my co founder, Randy Scott, had experience and kind of going from starting point. Teoh. You know, how do you start to assemble and build the team? And how do you think about what you're creating is a company on, but it takes time, but I would say within, you know, sort of those three months we had incorporated and, you know, founded the company and did a seed round of financing and hired, You know, the basic team that was gonna helped to get us started. So we came a long way just the first few months.

What were the challenges in building the initial team and how did you overcome them? How much time and resources did founding team members commit?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah. I mean, I had a lot of helping support for my two co founders. Um, initially, I was very focused on building up a clinical team. So part of the problem we're trying to solve is the lack of access to geneticists and genetic counselors. And so I was very focused on how do I attract that core talent? How do I make these individuals much more accessible? And, you know, historically, a lot of that expert teeth has been at some of the leading academic centers. And yet we know the vast majority of patients are seeing, you know, in their local communities they don't make it to the leading academic centers. And so I wanted to bring that same degree of quality and expertise to every patient, no matter what zip code they live in on, no matter whether or not they're able to get to the top academic centers. And so I would say, you know, that was the initial focus. How do we attract a core team? Um, you know, yet you're also in those early stages trying to be very budget conscious, and you just judicious. So we wanted to hire some key leaders and I've always had the sort of expectation that great talent can help beget other great talent. And I think that was very much the case that Gino Medical. We hired a chief medical officer and a vice president of clinical operations and then expanded our genetic counseling team. And we continue to just attract really incredible talent because we have a really incredible team on DSO. It helps us to be able to reach others in the field as we expand and grow.

How did your venture get its first professional funding? What were the challenges and how were they overcome? How'd your fundraising efforts change in subsequent rounds?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah, So I think this is a really key question for a new entrepreneur. It's, um it's a big challenge to be able thio attract.Yeah. So this is an area that I think is really critical for, you know, a first time founder, in my case, having started a number of companies I've had exposure into, you know how to raise capital. But early on, I think there's an importance of, you know, do you Do you want to start with friends and family? Do you want to go to Angel investors? You know, how do you wanna kind of build the first part of the business? And at the end of the day, what you're trying to do is get as far as you can with as least money as possible, right? Because you want to show that there's, you know, kind of ah need for the service or product you're building. You want to be able to show traction, and then ultimately your investors are looking at you and the rest of that founding team on, you know, capabilities and expertise and you know, your ability to execute and kind of build. And so my general advice is you know, if you can lean a bit on friends and family first like that gets you a little bit further, especially if you're a first time founder because there's a lot of noise in the market and it's hard. Thio, you know, kind of stand out. And so if you can get Thio, you know either user adoption, even if it's free or a prototype or something to go on more than just a business plan, you know, that's that's ah, really need and benefit. In this case, we did actually start with kind of a seed round of funding that included friends and family, but also some institutional investors. We've progressed to a Siri's a financing and then a Siri's be financing. We've now raised a total of 60 million on have been really deliberate in strategic about who we bring in as investors, and we have a number of strategic investors that are really relevant for our core business. And so I often think that you know, it's important when you're looking for investors that you want have tight alignment on the overall vision and strategy for the business. But also you think about you know, how much capital you're going to need to raise and at what time. And, you know, that kind of moves you from venture too often growth stage capital to, you know, maybe a public financing in the future. Or, you know, most companies end up being bought a supposed to going toe public. If strong companies. And, of course, a lot of newly founded companies don't make it right. They eventually run out of capital and can't raise capital in order to meet the needs of the business. And so it's a really critical area to just think about and know what's needed. Um, you know, and typically I think a new entrepreneur is kind of looking at Hey, any capital is good capital. But I think the more experienced in a student you become, you realize like it's really about tight alignment between the investors and the entrepreneurs toe kind of build the better business.

How did you set the scope for your minimal viable product? How did you get to product-market fit? How did your product evolve over time?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
so I'll take that first question first, which you know is really important for us. We're kind of building our company in in stages or phases. And our first step was really Thio solve the service delivery access problem. And so we aspired to really be a, you know, nationwide telehealth medical practice, delivering genetics and genomics to patients. Well, that's kind of a big vision. And eso we broke that down to say Okay, well, how are we going to start? And we really started. We wanted to be seeing patients very quickly, so we had kind of an early access commercial program, and we launched just in the state of California so that we could get up and running quickly, and we were actually seeing patients. Um, that, you know, first year we started, you know, within probably six months of incorporation, just so that we could have kind of really market feedback and experiences. We were iterating on our products. Uh, and you know, I think that's ah really important thing. How do you get to that product market fit quicklyto continue with that. It's really about, you know, how do you get to that product market fit quickly. And as I noted, we kind of took our vision and then broke it down and said, Okay, well, what's step one to get to that vision and what's step two and what Step three. And how do we demonstrate progress and successes? We go because typically, you know, in orderto raise capital and then to raise more capital, you know, you need to be demonstrating you're hitting kind of the major milestones you set out to accomplish and show that, you know, traction over time. And so I guess my advice There would just be toe, you know, have a very clear and goal in mind. But note that you're gonna have to be adaptable and adjust is you go and then kind of walk that back and get thio. What are those interim milestones and how much can you accomplish? You know, with what you have. And what do you need? Teoh, Teik Thio, you know, kind of get to milestone one to then be able to raise more capital and get to milestone to and then be ableto, you know, take yourself further. So breaking it down into those of compose