23andMe: Self Care for the 21st Century
Updated: Jun 27
23andMe Business Profile
23andMe is a genetics and DNA testing biotech company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. One of the leaders in the now-established market for genetic testing, 23andMe was founded in 2006 by three partners, Anne Wojcicki, Linda Avey, and Paul Cusenza, with the primary aim of understanding how our genetic composition can help improve the future lives of the current generation. As one would guess, the company name alludes to the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a human cell that define our genes.
Their testing kit uses the saliva from its consumer to get an accurate read on their genetic makeup. There are two aspects to genealogy that 23andMe covers through the collected sample; one is ancestry, and the second is personal health markers based on the customer's genes. While customers are often drawn to genetic testing out of curiosity about their ancestry, the second aspect provides a new direction, a 21st-century innovative approach, in understanding one's health risks before they occur. This helps in increasing their personal quality of life for consumers and, in turn, humanity at large. Their testing kit model was accurately named "Invention of the Year" in 2008.
Defining Traits of 23andMe
Genetic Testing for the Masses
One of the forerunners in the direct-to-consumer model of genetic testing, 23andMe helps every individual understand their ancestral makeup and take personal responsibility for their health based on their predisposition to a disease. With its 23andMe business case study and success story, the company has proven itself as a leading player in the genetic testing business.
New Approach to Self Care
In general, the 21st century has given rise to a new way of looking at one's own health and fitness. People in developed countries with access to medical resources and alternative fitness routines have found answers in 23andMe's approach to health and fitness. According to data recorded on their site, after testing, "76% reported making healthier choices and 45% reported increasing exercise". Business Lessons from 23andMe show the innovative strategies employed by the company to revolutionize the field of genetic testing.
Genetic Testing Regulations
Every country has rules in place that safeguard the use of human genes and an individual's right to privacy. 23andMe is no stranger to the roadblocks created by the FDA in the United States and other governing bodies in the United Kingdom and Canada where they offer their service. They have used the opportunity to help create the necessary regulations alongside the country's health departments. In addition, they have a transparent policy on their website on how they handle law-enforcement requests for customer data which offers potential buyers peace of mind.
Strong Investment Backing
One of the three founders, Anne Wojcicki, carried on the baton of 23andMe, after the departure of the other two co-founders. She used her network and positive name in the market to raise funds, taking the company from a small startup in 2006 to a publicly traded one in 2021. The success story of 23andMe showcases the company's ability to attract strong investment backing and grow into a prominent player in the genetic testing industry.
The Larger Picture
DNA data can be tricky to handle, and perhaps one of the greatest obstacles and opportunities for this company has been its data asset management. Not handled delicately, as it should be, would lead to catastrophic consequences for the customers and the company. On the other hand, such large amounts of personal, ethnicity-based information would provide conclusive targeted research opportunities on health issues that plague humanity. The battle on these concerns continues to this day and probably will stay front and center in genetic testing practices.
Key Takeaways from 23andMe
Resilience is the cornerstone of any good business model and its founder. When forming a company that offers innovation, the founder is essentially "giving people what they didn't know they needed," and such companies generally face a more extended runaway at the start. Often, one sees such a company fail since the venture was ahead of its time. But 23andMe has soldiered through to emerge into the future. 23andMe's success story demonstrates the resilience and innovation that drive the company's business model.
At Delna Avari & Consultants, we walk the talk when it comes to businesses driven by a purpose. As we see in the case of a company like 23andMe in the past 15 years, when obstacles arise for a startup, the purpose holds up and keeps the founder going. The 23andMe business case study serves as a testament to the company's purpose-driven approach.
Genetic testing and ancestry hold the key to many answers when it comes to healthcare research, and 23andMe holds a big piece of the puzzle in their data assets. Used wisely, this aspect will continue to be a game-changer for the company and, in turn, human health. The genetic testing business has been revolutionized by companies like 23andMe, paving the way for significant advancements in healthcare research.
With more than 12+ million DNA testing kits sold to date, 23andMe has laid a firm foundation for its direction. The company's clarity is best encapsulated by this quote from its founder and CEO, Anne Wojcicki, "We're not just a genetics company. We're not just a health company; we're not just ancestry; we're all of these things. We want to tell you about you". That says it all.