We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Corey McCaren”, Chief Operating Officer at the New York, USA based start-up “Titanovo”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
Titanovo sells genetic tests to the general public which offer actionable health-related data. We believe that the next generation of medicine will be much more personalized and proactive, and we hope that our telomere testing kit plays a role in reaching this point.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
Our startup was founded in 2014. We currently have our product ready and are actively offering our kits to our beach-head market of citizen scientists via Indiegogo.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
Because telomere length can be positively affected by healthy lifestyle choices, we will have a subscription model where users can be automatically sent a new test over a period of time. Our products will also be available as a one-off test, but users will receive more value by testing over time.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Our team met by working on various projects and discovering our mutual passion in this specific space. Sasha Savsunenko is CEO and is in charge of the technical aspects of our project while I act as COO as am in charge of daily operations, business development, and public relations.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Our product is different because it is direct-to-consumer, allowing users to skip a trip to a physician to test their telomere length. We also provide correlated data with lifestyle factors like diet and exercise.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We have launched an Indiegogo campaign and are approaching 50% of our goal. Our company has launched a fully packaged product with fully-developed technology, which is probably our most important milestone we have achieved thus far.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors include Telomere Diagnostics, Spectracell, and LifeLength. The most notable difference between our competition and
Titanovo is that our option is direct-to-consumer, and we offer comparative data with other anonymous users for our clients.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
We face the obstacle of educating consumers on their need for our product. Most people have yet to learn of telomeres and their importance with health, so for us its critical to be able to communicate effectively.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Logistically a lot goes into creating any sort of product, and when you are developing a genetic or cellular test, care must be taken to ensure the survival of the sample. A lot of thought goes into a shipment that appears to be simply a nylon swab and a vial.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We believe in the mission of Titanovo and are working hard to achieve our goals. Having a clear understanding of where we want to go will allow us to deselect projects which don’t really add value to our users.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
There is a lot which can be learned about health from a saliva swab, and we want to add different parameters to our test either as
additional options or as part of the standard test in the future.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
We chose this concept because both Sasha and I are passionate about the future of health and human longevity and because Sasha is well-trained in this field.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
The importance of proper product development and understanding your clients needs. Many entrepreneurial hopefuls believe in what they are doing, but haven’t tested their product on their target market segment before launch. It can be disastrous for an otherwise great product if it is missing some key features.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
I believe six months from now we will be determining other ways to add value to our current customer-base, so I think figuring our the logistics of what else we can offer at a reasonable price.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
They get to measure a key aspect of cellular health. Telomeres are an ageing biomarker, which get shorter with age but longer with healthy lifestyle choices. So users can make determinations on whether or not their lifestyle is healthy on the cellular level.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
We launched on Indiegogo because it is a great way to spread the word. However, even before launch we found a dedicated community of enthusiasts who were ready to order from us.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our current customers are citizen scientists and enthusiasts. This is our beach-head market, and they will be key in expanding into other health and wellness segments.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
New users generally discover our project online and they become customers because of the evidence we present as to why measuring telomeres is useful. As i stated previously, our biggest challenge is consumer awareness.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Actually, while we have tested our product on a group of 200 volunteers, we are just now shipping our first batch of kits from Indiegogo orders. I am very much looking forward to their feedback.
20. How are you going to scale?
We plan to see how our product can fit into health-related app ecosystems, making our product more accessible to new users. We will also add features over time, and continue to focus on meeting customer needs.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Cellular health is dependent on more than just telomere length, of course. DNA breaks are another key aspect of internal health, for example. So we will aim to add these other factors to our test over time.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Yes, we do plan on reaching international markets. It is a bit early to share any specific plans, but I can say that we plan to learn from our current product launch for expansion into international markets.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
I think that cellular health will be something which is tested regularly in the future for everyone. We certainly hope our telomere test
will be part of a “cellular check up,” and the growth would be exponential if so. But for right now, I would say that we can have a self-sufficient business within four months. We plan to achieve this by providing additional value to our users and continuing to educate potential future customers.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
Not at the moment. When job vacancies are available, they will always be listed on our corporate website, titanovo.com. We will also be sure to share job openings on our social networks.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
Yes, we are open to investor inquiries as well as any potential collaborations. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any one reading who is interested in reaching us we would be more than happy to hear from!
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
To self-educate on entrepreneurship. There are many free or inexpensive online courses which you can learn a lot from and are quite fun. You will find that you are a much better entrepreneur when you have taken the time to improve yourself.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Our telomere testing kit is currently available on Indiegogo! We encourage anyone interested in our test to visit this address: