How did Genobank.io get started?
In 2017, my son was diagnosed with Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia, a rare genetic disorder that causes an abnormality of the platelets. As a concerned parent, I looked into all options that could provide more information about the disorder. Upon researching various at-home DNA kits, I discovered a number of problems with the way users' DNA was being handled. I immediately started thinking about ways to provide security and transparency to people looking to have their DNA sequenced. From there, the idea for Genobank was formed.
How did you meet your co-founder?
I was an investor in my co-founders’ previous startup. When looking for business partners, it is very important to have a shared vision of the future. In this case, that was having a similar outlook on decentralization and putting power into the hands of users.
This isn’t the first time you’ve started a company. What’s different this time?
My motivation for founding Genobank is much more than creating a sustainable business. Genobank is mission driven, with our aim being to provide humanity with access to and control over their DNA.
What’s the #1 skill you think entrepreneurs need to succeed?
Resilience and prudence.
An entrepreneur must be able to get up continuously, fight towards their mission, and be forthright and open about the future.
There’s been a lot of debate over biotech after Theranos—how do you handle this and other questions from the industry?
Theranos worked hard to keep their technology behind a curtain. In contrast, we are proponents of a world where businesses should be transparent and open to peer review. We recently published a peer reviewed article that showcased our outlook and views on the technology we are using: Privacy Laws, Genomic Data and Non-Fungible Tokens.
What’s been the biggest challenge when founding Genobank.io?
The hurdle of educating our audience on the disruption that blockchain/decentralization has on this industry. It’s like selling seat belts to the automobile industry before seat belts were required. There was a long period of time where we did not have access to the data needed to highlight that risk. We are now crossing the chasm where the market is learning and accepting our proposition; that DNA should be handled and secured with as much vigilance as other forms of data (personally identifiable information, financial information, etc).
What is your superpower?
My faith. Faith in people that surround me, faith in God, and faith in science.
What’s your kryptonite?
My wife and I lost a child which is truly the worst that could happen to a parent. After that experience, there is not much that can scare me.
Do you have any unusual routines or habits?
I just have one; a method taught to me by a mentor. Every week list 15 tasks to do (5 top, 5 mid level, 5 low).
Do you have any other hobbies/things you like to do? What do you geek out about?
As a father, I enjoy playing video games with my kids and hiking. I am fascinated with everything surrounding biology, block chain, and human rights.
If I were to look at your phone, what are your top 3-5 favorite apps?
Who is someone that has changed your life and why?
My child that passed away. He gave me a mission, a superpower of not being afraid of death, and the ability to appreciate every single minute we’re alive.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago, what would it be?
Buy more Bitcoin 📈🚀.
What’s coming up soon that super excites you?
The advancements in precision medicine that can help cure and eradicate certain diseases, like cancer. We’re at the curve of what we can learn by reading, editing, and writing DNA/RNA. Biology is the new programming language. It’s exciting to know we have an opportunity to protect our user’s privacy, while exploring the genomic revolution using decentralized networks.