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Tech Meets Genes

Tech Meets Genes


General Background 

My dream was to study Medicine but I ended up with a certificate in Computer Science which led me to establish Tech Consulting – focused on building products for corporate organisations.

But, there were too many questions to be answered in that field. So, my partner, who has a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology said we should we do something together and the ideas that filled our heads birthed 54GENE.  

The Fellowship  

I met my partner through a friend who knew we could work together. We had all these ideas running through our heads. Things we had done and things we were trying to build. 

We started by trying to build something for patients to easily do medical tests. We called it ‘Diagnose Me’. But we realised there is a bigger market for genetics, so, we spread our tentacles to a space that was literally not fully harnessed. 

The agreement to become partners was an easy one. He was versed in his industry and I in mine. It was a match made to do more!

Actually, the initial idea came from him. But we both wanted to ensure that the product turned out to be able to compete on the global scene and that applying for funds won’t be almost impossible. 

Success Rate

Success is very relative and I don’t exactly know how to measure it, but we have been able to  change our narrative.

There is only 2% of genetic data available globally and it is made up of Africans. I think we should contribute more to data collection so the continent will be considered for new drug developments. Having enough genetic data will also translate to having improved treatments, diagnostics and insights into new developments. This is what success looks like to me. 

Ultimately, success means being able to say ‘you know what? I need to get here’, then you get human resources, all the tools to align and you achieve this goal on a day-to-day basis. 

Med-Tech In Nigeria

I can’t vouch for med-tech companies competing on the global scene but there is consistent growth and, interest in the industry is growing. 

The industry welcomes investors every other day and people are now offering needed specialised services. But, I think a lot more needs to be done.

Healthcare is a fundamental service that should be available to everybody, notwithstanding the economic status. And having enough private participation in that space is important. 

Unique Selling Point 

Openness to growth.

I have learnt that when you make mistakes, do not get yourself so worked up about it. One of the things my father would say is ‘sometimes, you know that this might not be the most ideal solution but at least it is a stop-gap until you get there, you just need to keep moving’. 

One of the key mantras in business is Result. It isn’t about the actions or the efforts, it is about the results. We always have to keep executing. And, we believe that irrespective of whatever it is, every team member must be faring at 1000% every time, because that is the only way you can move at a fast pace.

Understanding the core of the business and knowing when to delegate or outsource tasks to focus on some other things is also important. 

The Future

We try to align ourselves around the key three things which might expand to more. But, for now, we will like to focus on Molecular Diagnostics.

This means we are planning to set up a Reference Lab here to ensure that we collect data on medical tests and that results are no longer sent abroad for examination. Essentially, these tests will now have a shorter turn-around time. Also, we plan on building a genetic bio-bank and offer clinical trial services.

The goal is to build and have strong pillars around those areas first before we even explore any other thing. 


We had to do a lot of enlightenment when we first launched and there’s still more to be done. However, we understand that educating doctors on the value of what we do will reduce the workload of educating patients. 

Organic Versus Investor Funding

I don’t think there is ‘right or wrong’ for funding. The question you should ask as an entrepreneur is: ‘what are you building? What is the goal?’

I read an article a few months ago that said ‘do you want to be rich or be king?’ Once you start embracing investors, you have to seek some amount of control over your business. Find that balance.

We won’t have come this far if we said we wanted to do this without investors, as it requires a lot of funding. 

So, just figure out when you need investors and focus on consistent significant growth.

54Gene is in a space rarely explored and there’s no right or wrong time to embrace their work. The time is now! 

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