A vision to touch 100 million lives, led to the birth of a new business model. Anuradha Acharya popularly known as Anu Acharya had a plan to provide improved healthcare through personal genomics. As her plan got bigger and ambitious, she stepped forward to found MapMyGenome.
At present, the services offered by the platform like Genomepatri, MyFitGene, SmartSport, MedicaMap along with others have gained momentum in the healthcare sector. In the year 2000, she founded Ocimum Biosolutions, a global genomics, bioinformatics company and in 2013, she founded MapMyGenome.
Speaking with Womenia, Anu Acharya says, “The initial idea was to sequence medicinal plants like Tulsi, from which the name Ocimum came. The aim to offer bioinformatics shrink and wrapped software evolved when there were dramatic changes in the way pharma companies had restructured. By 2010, we had more than 10 years of expertise in genomics research and we knew that this technology could be a game changer in healthcare.”
For Anu, the determination to succeed and a strong support system, helped her brush off the challenges. Barriers have motivated and inspired her to do much more. An idea of a personal genomics company that was vetoed by the board at Ocimum Biosolutions gained thrust by mentors who recommended her to launch startup again.
As she says, “When we introduced genomics services as a bridge between healthcare and personal health in India, we had to build the market from the scratch. It was a new paradigm in the healthcare industry and our initial tasks included educating the healthcare community about the benefits of genetic testing.”
According to her, the change in consumer mindset from a patient to a proactive participant in charge of their health is driving the growth of genomics in India. Having touched a customer base of 10,000 lives, 200 corporates and hospitals, has led MapMyGenome garner a revenue of Rs 4.3 crore in 2017-18.
And how did Anu personally benefit from these gene tests. She says that Genomepatri has reiterated the value of sports and nutrition in her lifestyle. And, with the “sprint” gene in her DNA, she has naturally brought in fitness in her daily schedule.
As a woman entrepreneur having made her mark in the industry, she feels that biases and perceptions hold women out of these fields. “However, with advances in technology, it has become easier for women to be able to choose these careers and there are several outstanding examples. We have to just increase the funnel to make the statistics better,” she observes.
The DNA queen has her DNA of success, which is Due Diligence, Networking and Action on Plans. As she says, the first step for startups to walk towards success is to understand the big picture, start networking early and act on your plans at the right time. Her concluding words – “Genetics has taught me the mantra – Know yourself first and you can conquer all.”
Publication date: January 24, 2019
Author: Divya Rao