The Gene Box: Startup that charts out algorithms for better healthcare

Pranav and Shiraz contemplated starting The Gene Box as they were becoming more and more inclined towards venturing into the personal genomics space owing to their personal and professional experiences.

The Gene Box co-founders Pranav Anam, a qualified geneticist and Shiraz Siddiqui, a fitness and nutrition consultant, have been friends and business partners for close to two decades. Each of them were fighting their own personal battle on the health front - Pranav with his obesity issues which made him overweight by a whopping 50 kgs and Shiraz with blood cancer and bone marrow transplant, which he battled with overcame after almost a decade. Pranav and Shiraz contemplated starting The Gene Box as they were becoming more and more inclined towards venturing into the personal genomics space owing to their personal and professional experiences. Thus, they formed The Gene Box in September 2015. They developed a pan-India commercial and collaborative platform to help stem cell scientists, academicians and medical practitioners create therapeutic products and services.

Shiraz, being a wellness expert used his insights and experience to devise The Gene Box food, fitness and wellness programs. “These are carefully designed in line with the client’s age, gender, lifestyle and occupation that follow a comprehensive health analysis and give a complete blueprint of health,” shares Anam.

The company currently works with less than 10 people, but they have key departments outsourced. “We sell The Gene Box and provide health and fitness solutions to the people and five years down the line, our plan is to be present in all Tier II and Tier III cities. We also plan to create experiential centres across cities for people to experience their body type in a better way. Our plan is to increase our work force and spend more on improving our tech. We are also exploring the possibilities of coming up with retail centres,” says Anam, sharing growth plans for the company.

Anam adds that the concept is new to people at large, which they see as a business opportunity. “Yes, there are competitors. Our assessment and algorithms are different from our competitors. Our products and services are meant for daily application of your DNA insights and we make this journey easy and exciting. Moreover currently the analysis and recommendations of most players in the nutrition and fitness industry are symptomatic in nature (solely focused on physical attributes like the individual’s body type and subjective interpretations of food and fitness habits and tendencies). No analysis is done to gauge whether the recommendations are in line with the individual’s genetic constitution. The Gene Box does exactly the reverse – it studies the person’s food and fitness specifics in the guiding light of his/her genetic makeup thereby arriving at tailor-made recommendations that are free of generic conclusions or convenient conjectures,” he explains.

Anam says that they offer an integrated platform for Nutrition, Fitness and Genetics. Using sophisticated algorithms and recommendations engine The Gene Box will help users achieve a better lifestyle. Anam explains that The Gene Box takes into account the key difference of user life stages and progressively evolves recommendations for their body or health. “The Gene Box will enable a collaborative, tailored and accurate plan for your body’s nutrition and fitness needs taking into consideration your current health. We also advise you on lifestyle diseases you are genetically prone to and how to keep them at bay,” he says.

The Gene Box hasn’t raised any funds since inception but now are looking to raise some around a million dollars. The company is keenly investing in IT and developing machine learning. The Gene Box is working towards building advanced algorithms to tailor recommendations for their consumers. As its next milestone, the startup is aiming to increase its digital outreach and looking to partner with right business to improve distribution.

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