Naveen Jain has by no means been shy about tackling large issues.

The serial entrepreneur’s newest enterprise, Viome, an at-home intestine microbiome check, will quickly develop into testing for power ailments and most cancers. The corporate lately created a brand new well being sciences division that might concentrate on early diagnostics, therapeutics, and utilizing AI to foretell the early warning indicators of illness.

Viome is the seventh of Jain’s firms, which embody Moon Specific, a non-public area journey firm that has yet to complete its first mission, and web firm Infospace, which was briefly one of many largest tech firms within the Northwest earlier than the dot-com bust.

The Indian-born American billionaire’s attraction to large issues like curing most cancers or sending a robotic spaceship to the moon has led to comparisons to Elon Musk. And like Musk he has drawn his share of controversy and attracted a massive fan membership.

Jain has loads of recommendation for the bold. He urges entrepreneurs to evaluate their enterprise thought by sizing up of its potential market and its impression. For instance, ask your self: Would your enterprise assist a billion folks reside a greater life? In different phrases, if your enterprise finally ends up fixing the issue that it units out to deal with, how many lives are going to be higher due to it?

“If there are a billion folks whose lives are going to be higher, then you’ve an enormous market,” he says. “And you will have to discover a technique to create that enterprise.” 

For each moonshot or far-out thought, Jain says, he asks himself three questions earlier than he goes additional.

  1. Why this?
  2. Why now?
  3. And why me?

Within the case of Viome, the “why this” half was straightforward. Jain knew that power ailments are one of many main causes of dying and have an effect on billions of individuals globally. Some scientists imagine that the intestine microbiome–the trillions of microorganisms that reside inside each human–play an necessary function in influencing these ailments. The meals you eat can profit your microbiome. But when everybody’s microbiome is completely different, how do you discover the fitting meals for you? That is the place Viome steps in. The corporate’s at-home intestine well being check scores your microbiome’s well being in line with 20 various factors. 

Jain says his pondering was: “What if we are able to remedy and reverse the issue of power illness? Would it not assist a billion folks reside a greater life?” The entrepreneur’s intuition, which proved right, was huge market existed for individuals who needed to unlock the secrets and techniques of their microbiome, hoping to stave off most cancers, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and different power ailments. 

When asking “Why me?” Jain says, entrepreneurs ought to guarantee that they’re ready to supply a novel answer to the issue. “Is the query you are asking completely different from what everybody within the trade is asking?” says Jain. 

To determine whether or not it is the fitting time to launch a enterprise, Jain says, entrepreneurs must predict the longer term to some extent. Ask your self: What’s going to change within the subsequent two to 5 years that may can help you extra simply remedy the issue?

Within the case of Viome, the “when” half took a little bit of luck. First launched in 2016, Viome emerged as an early participant within the then-burgeoning residence diagnostics trade, which incorporates testing behemoths like Abbott Diagnostics and Quest Diagnostics, in addition to newer at-home testing firms like 23andMe and Everlywell. Advances in lab expertise meant that the prices of analyzing a blood or a stool pattern have been declining. When Viome launched, it value roughly $43 to course of a pattern in a lab. At the moment, analyzing a pattern prices $2. 

“That is the facility of exponential applied sciences,” says Jain. “When one thing is on an exponential curve, and also you assume you are being 10 occasions extra optimistic, you really turned out to be seven to 10 occasions pessimistic, as a result of expertise is shifting that quick.” The Covid-19 pandemic additional accelerated the expansion of the at-home testing market, which grew by 14 % in 2020, in line with market analysis agency Brand Essence Market Research

Jain says that the pandemic pressured many individuals to take their well being extra significantly. Adjustments in every day habits, like mask-wearing and social distancing, altered folks’s mindsets about how their actions can impression their well being. Viome took observe.

“What we realized is that we are able to really empower folks to take management over their well being, if we give them the fitting instruments,” he says. 

Viome’s subsequent step will likely be to supply prospects a technique to detect early indicators of most cancers. In Might, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration permitted Viome’s oral most cancers and throat most cancers screening software, which makes use of mRNA evaluation to determine most cancers in saliva samples. Due to the Covid-19 vaccines, Jain says, the idea of mRNA is now way more well-known to traders and the general public. Biotech firms are exploring how mRNA expertise can be utilized to create new medicine, vaccines, and coverings. 

“As an entrepreneur, what I discovered is to by no means cease dreaming large. As a result of your creativeness is the one restrict to what you may obtain. The sky is just not the restrict,” he says. “The sky is just a figment of your creativeness.”

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