- What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
As CEO I believe my main priority is finding great people and giving the support and direction to ensure they can become the best they can be! Thus far that’s been a successful strategy, in Ireland and Internationally we have an exceptional team of people from different backgrounds that bring game-changing skill and perspectives. Our combined vision is very simple, build platforms that democratise access to diagnostic testing, so that people get answers to their healthcare.
Goals for the company right now are very simple:
We will have hit our annual target next month (through the tenacious work of our commercial team) and we aim to reinforce this by further scaling our community of partners, clinicians and patients.
More education on why getting tested for STDs is important – Everything starts with education, so we are furthering our programmes with associations and universities
Close our current fundraise – we have $700,000 USD remaining in a $1.7M USD seed round – we are looking for an investor to share our vision and scale our company with.
- What are your biggest challenges?
Personally, I could say learning Spanish, but its getting there. I think doing business between Europe and Latin America has been challenging but in a satisfying way. Having a business partner in Mexico who was previously the LATAM GM of a diagnostics company has certainly made GlowDx’s understanding and establishment smoother. So it has been a process of adapting and understanding contextually from a local perspective what is expected, so interesting!
- How do you keep your team/staff motivated?
Imagine you put something in someone’s hands that significantly impacts their quality of life for the duration of your life. That’s what my team does, we launched this week and the energy in the office is electric. We own the vision as a family and one unit; I think that’s where this energy comes from. When we solve a problem, we have molecular scientists, finance, marketing, gynecologists, logistics, etc in one room; when you solve together you all own the solution.
- What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
I think the biggest challenge facing diagnostics has been and always will be demonstrating clinical and economic benefit of new technologies. When changing how you answer fundamental questions about the health of a patient, it’s important to be calculated, so we need to innovate just as much on how we measure this clinical and economic benefit just as much as we do with new technologies!
- What new trends are emerging in your industry?
Molecular Diagnostics in Latin America is growing rapidly and this is where we aim to scale. Globally I see Next Generation Sequencing and genomic analysis as the next major inflection point for humanity. In time it will be as influential to society as electricity.
- Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?
Right now, reform in regulatory networks in Latin America would help level the playing field for startups and to couple this to the public procurement would ensure innovative startups can enter markets with less friction.
- Are you finding any skills gaps in the market?
Right now, in Ireland we are recruiting molecular assay developers and that’s something there was a large skill set for, but I think it needs to be revitalised with new talent to ensure continuation.
- How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?
Not yet and we have contingencies in place, the nature of our markets are pretty insulated from an operations/regulatory perspective.
- How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
Success is lots of things for me.
As a CEO it’s doing what we set out and putting diagnostics in peoples hands, it’s also ensuring that my team is in a health growth environment, supported and motivated.
As a first-time founder it’s about being successful for the people who invested (time or capital) in my vision and showing that what I do is build companies.
As Blaine, it’s about all of the above and knowing that we make a real, measurable impact to peoples lives.
- What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
I think the one I always think of, because its such a journey, there’s three things you can’t do.
“Don’t Die, Don’t Quit, Don’t Suck” – Bill Liao
The first one is self- explantory, keep the show on the road – Don’t Die
If you start don’t stop – Commit to solving the problem – Don’t Quit
If you are going to do something do it right – Don’t Suck
- What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
In 12 months
Convinced the GM of Leica LATAM & Brazil to join us.
Established our molecular foundry in Galway.
Built a molecular laboratory in Mexico City.
Finished our first platform.
Launched with two major contracts with sexual health associations in Mexico.
Tripled the size of the team.
- What’s next for your company?
Expand our current direct-to-consumer model into Brazil
Further development in our IP portfolio and our molecular point-of-care device
Close our seed round mentioned above!
- What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2019?
We will be in every major city in Mexico and have the wheels in motion for Brazil.
- Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?
I am just off the phone with a large multinational we are partnering with to be our infrastructure partner in Brazil! So next year:
We will have one of our pipeline projects developed with Strong Clinical data.
Our direct-to-consumer business will be in Brazil and growing team will have doubled in size.