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New tech portal allows people to upload health data for medical research and get paid for its use

todayNovember 17, 2022

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Geno.Me Founder/CEO Britt Gottschalk

The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Until now, your health records mostly benefited you during doctor’s visits. A new Milwaukee-based biotech startup hopes to use that data to transform the world of medical science — and put money in your pocket as well.

Geno.Me Founder and CEO Britt Gottschalk said the company will give users a more “360-degree view” of their health. For many people, that perspective is far more limited, relying on family members to pass along knowledge of health trends. Gottschalk said Geno.Me can potentially offer deeper insights into areas such as inherited factors, certain cancers and gene mutations.

Courtesy: Britt Gottschalk

“If you’re able to get your entire family history into the portal we have certain types of researchers that are able to look at your pathology specifically and recommend specific treatment plans or drugs that not only can improve the quality of life for you and your family, but also other families that might suffer from similar conditions,” Gottschalk said.

The evolution of Geno.Me didn’t start in healthcare. Gottschalk launched her own consulting firm, initially helping companies with remote work transitions. But the desire to make a larger impact nudged the 29-year-old down a different path.

 “When the pandemic hit, that made me think, ‘Am I really doing enough?’” she recalled. “‘Am I doing something that I can really put my label on and be proud of — the changes that I’m making in my life and the life of others?’ The answer was no.”

Gottschalk & Ethan Sprang, People Operations Manager at Geno.Me

Eventually, her work and clients led her to pivot the company solely into the medical space. Gottschalk and business partner Ethan Sprang, people operations manager at Geno.Me, started by asking their insurance and healthcare clients about the issues plaguing their industries.

She said the responses they received included data accessibility, being able to get the right types of records, the accurate records, especially with the remote work transition.

“So, we decided we didn’t want to be another EMR (electronic medical records) integration service,” she explained.

Then, roughly a year into its start, Geno.Me caught the attention of major funders like Gateway Capital Partners led by Dana Guthrie. The company went from being a consulting firm to a biotech startup.

Geno.Me’s mission now is to make individual electronic health records available for purchase by medical researchers and to allow patients more transparency and control over how their personal data is used.

“There’s a lot of people that have explored passive income ways,” Gottschalk said. “But how many of those can actually give you enough money where you could, say, monthly you’re able to put something towards an electric bill or groceries?”

Courtesy: Britt Gottschalk

As her company continues to grow, Gottschalk also wants to share her story of entrepreneurship with others. She said she’s grown accustomed to being the only racially mixed person, or person of color, in a room. Through her experiences, she encourages all BIPOC individuals to use their background as their power.

“Use that as your strength,” she said.

“I think underestimation is something that has played greatly into my favor. So, go out there and give it your all. Don’t be afraid of broadcasting your strengths because you never know the kinds of doors that’s going to open for you. I would also say, being BIPOC, we do bring a perspective that a lot of people in some of these disciplines do not have. Don’t be afraid to embrace it. Take up that space.”

You can learn more about Geno.Me here.

Written by: Kim Shine

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