With several awards to her name, Anu Acharya has rich experience in Telecom, IT, and entrepreneurship. Her experience is backed by education at premier institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur, India (IIT) and the University of Illinois. Described as passionate, focused, persevering, creative and hardworking, she has proven her mettle at every opportunity.
Her latest venture, Mapmygenome aims at providing better health across India using technology. As a Genomics company, Maymygenome provides a range of prognostics personal genomics, molecular diagnostics, and brain wellness solutions. She was also named the “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for its class of 2011. Her technical knowledge and quick analytical resourcefulness stand out as key assets.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Mapmygenome‘s flagship product Genomepatri is a once in a lifetime, non-invasive personal genomics test that gives you a comprehensive health profile to manage health better. With the help of a simple saliva swab sent from the convenience of their homes, customers can learn about their genetic predisposition to 120+ conditions – their physical attributes, lifestyle, disease risks, inherited conditions, and response to medications. Unlike the traditional annual physical exam that detects manifested conditions, we assess disease risks and offer mitigation assistance through a genetic counseling session. Our genetic counselors correlate test results with family history and current lifestyle to offer actionable steps to better health.
In addition to Genomepatri, we have a range of products and services spanning personal genomics, molecular diagnostics, brain wellness, and TB diagnostic kits.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
We had the right expertise in genomics, built over 15+ years at Ocimum Biosolutions. We already had experience in genomics databases with the gold standard, BioExpress®. With improving technology and decreasing costs of genome analysis, the idea of improving lives of a large number of people by offering personal genomics for better health began to take shape.
What is your life mantra?
Motivation and momentum to reach the big goals and ability to connect and enjoy the little joys that life brings to us.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Our earlier efforts focused on offering services to businesses. Building something that appeals to individuals rather than to an organization was an exhilarating challenge.
How did you overcome those challenges?
The right expertise, creative thinking, and implementation strategy gave us a good start. For our vision to turn into a reality, it took a lot of effort from all of us. No work was too small. Fuelled by a passion to see this venture succeed, we worked all hours. We had to breakdown the entire process into smaller interrelated steps and then recombine all aspects to build the final product.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
In March 2015, we raised a Preseries A round of US$1.1 million in funds from multiple sources. Including several entrepreneurs and angel investors. The list of investors include names like Aarti Grover MD – CMS Computers, Rajan Anandan MD- Google India, Arihant Patni –Managing Director at Hive Technologies and Satveer Singh Thakral – CEO of Singapore Angel Network among others. Avendus Wealth Management Pvt. Ltd, the wealth management subsidiary of Avendus Capital Pvt. Ltd., were the advisors for this round.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
Whenever an employee leaves our organization it goes without saying that he / she takes along with him / her a bagful of knowledge that he / she had acquired during his / her services in the organization. If that employee had unique expertise in a specific area, losing him / her poses to be a serious threat to the organization. Like any organization, Mapmygenome cannot allow such knowledge to just go out through the door and has hence developed a culture that values the effective and continuous transfer of knowledge so the loss of one employee doesn’t bring the company to a standstill.
Mapmygenome strives to understand what motivates employees and what de-motivates them, and decide which areas to focus on to improve attrition. The organization truly believes that pay and benefits have a significant impact on their attrition rate; however, it is not the only reason for attrition. There is a need to provide and improve other areas of dissatisfaction and approach the employer and employee relation with a holistic approach; have an all-round understanding and create an organizational climate which fosters satisfaction and growth at all levels. Key features include fair & competitive salaries, benefits & incentives, training, advancement opportunities, employee satisfaction survey, and internal communication. At Mapmygenome, we believe that health begins at home. Team fitness activities are prioritized and encouraged.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- The ability to implement thoughts into actions
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Social media – Twitter, Linkedin, FB, Google+, WhatsApp
Work – Google Apps, Producteev, Powtoons, Prezi
Fitness – Zumba Tutor, Jawbone app
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
I pack in as much as I can when awake and sleep for just 4 hours a day. I also workout regularly.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Success is an attitude – you have to consider yourself successful. Stay motivated and work hard, but have faith in yourself and your work.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
There are many who are scared to know about their health risks. They avoid regular checkups and visits to the doctor. Conditions are often diagnosed too late, when cure is almost impossible.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Before going for a swim in the sea, learn about the depth of water and strength of current. Choose the right time. The same applies to life. I’m not saying that you have to play it safe; but before taking a risk, understand what you are doing and be prepared for the consequences.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
- We started with a vision to provide better health through technology. Today, we offer a wide range of personal genomics and molecular diagnostics services.
- We want our technology to reach out to more people and evolve into more accessible forms. For example, people are already talking about smart sensors and their role in improving health. We would like to explore the possibility of adding a genomics element there.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
- Paolo Alto in the US
- Goa in India
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If you can keep your head when all about you, Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…………”