An entrepreneur who started her journey in the telecom and IT sectors, Anu Acharya, is well-regarded for her contribution to genomics research, mainly through her molecular diagnostics company Mapmygenome. In an exclusive interview to Thinking Aloud, Anu talks about the start-up environment and what it takes to scale-up a start-up and become a successful entrepreneur.
TA: Amongst the legal registration hassles, funding & resources, what are the perceptions that matter the most to kick off a startup?
AA: It’s the team with the right attitude and a vision that matter the most. A shoestring budget is often a norm in the start-up environment. Today, there are firms to which you can outsource the legal registration process. Without the right resources, however, realizing your ideas and plans becomes difficult. Start-ups are driven by innovation, and if you are not able to execute your ideas at the right time, there is someone better out there.
TA: Start-up guidance is all about encouraging the urge of budding entrepreneurs & channeling their start-up aspirations. Share your kind thoughts about capturing the attention of the investors.
AA: Before you go to an investor, do the groundwork. First build the product right and get your first few customers. Grow your network and build relationships. Identify potential investors after due diligence. Perfect your pitch and work on your presentation. Meet the investors with confidence and the right attitude.
TA: We believe that Start-ups are all about building habit-forming products & services. What’s your take on it?
AA: We do so literally….
At Mapmygenome, we build healthy habits through our DNA-based personalized healthcare solutions. Every customer gets a session with our genetic counsellors, who correlate genetic reports health history and recommend the best suited action plan to build healthy habits.
Be it wearable technology, food delivery, or taxi booking, many start-ups have contributed to lifestyle changes. Start-ups today know the power of continual customer engagement.
Our aim is to continually engage with consumers on their habits over a long period of time and track their health.
TA: How would you address the ways to gain market share, enhance brand recognition & differentiating a brand in the start-up eco-system? Any valuable points would you like to add?
AA: Constant innovation – in the product, marketing efforts, and user experience – is the best route to generate consumer interest. Unlike earlier times, the digital space gives us many new options to reach out.
Strategic partnerships also matter. They help reach new segments of people. At Mapmygenome, partnering with healthcare providers has always been part of our strategy.
TA: New-age Indian Start-ups are on a path of revolutionizing the industry. Any entrepreneurial clichés that you would want them to get beyond?
AA: New-age Indian Start-ups are supported by next-generation workforce – their attitudes, style of working, and thought process may not always conform to the “normal”. A smart entrepreneur respects this difference and gets the best performance out of them.
TA: Established bigwigs in the industry still prefer traditional spends rather than digital spends. How big a role would digital play in the success of Indian start-ups?
TA: Digital spends are a great way for start-ups to gain foothold in the market. Statistics speak of increased mobile usage and digitalization. Digital marketing is the fastest way to reach a right audience at the right time. If a product has built in virality- it doesn’t need traditional marketing.
TA: Finally, can you share some light on the way forward for mapmygenome? What are your plans to scale up to the next level?
AA: Currently, we are focused on creating customer delight and finding out what other genetic products that customers and physicians would want. We are also expanding our team and now have a presence in 6 cities. We are also planning another round of fund raise to build on our R&D capabilities and scale up operations dramatically.