This article is for you - you who have dreams, ideas, and goals you want to accomplish. For many of us, the hardest part of achieving this is getting started. We don't know where to start, what to do, etc.
With this article, I hope to motivate you with the story of Cathy Tie, a young, 19-year-old entrepreneur who pushed forward with her ideas and become the co-founder and CEO of a fast-growing biotechnology company named Ranomics.
Here are some of the highlights from our interview, I know her story will motivate and inspire you guys as well.
What is your story and what do you currently do?
"I loved science fairs growing up, so every year in high school I would do a science fair project and I just loved doing independent science fair projects which led me to do what I am doing today."
"When I started university in 2014 I was working on a really cool genomics project with my professor, Dr. Frederick Roth at the University of Toronto and with my Co-founder Leo Wan. Together we started this company called Ranomics. We shortly moved to San Francisco in early 2015 to build this company and accelerate our company. Now we are operating in San Francisco and Toronto."
"I am currently the Co-founder and CEO of a biotechnology company called Ranomics. I am an entrepreneur and I am also a scientist; I have been doing genomics research since I was 14-years-old and I published my first research paper when I was 16-years-old."
What is Ranomics and what is the purpose of this company?
"Ranomics is a company in the genetic testing space. Our goal is to improve the quality and accuracy of genetic testing. Essentially, genetic testing is an industry where companies use genetics to predict hereditary diseases through genetic makeup. Basically, they sequence your genome and they look for genetic markers that show that you are more prone to certain inherited diseases. However, a huge problem in the industry is that the accuracy of these tests is being hindered by the lack of data on most genetic mutations. That means that over 60 percent of genetic mutations seen by these companies are actually not understood, most likely due to the fact that they have no clinical precedence."
"This is a big problem and so what we do at Ranomics is we solve this problem with science. We take a human disease gene, we make every possible mutation on this gene and we put all of these mutations into animal models or human cell lines and we observe the phenotype (physical characteristics) of these models. Based on that, we can classify the variant as harmful or not harmful. Then, we distribute this data to our partners which will use this data to improve the quality of genetic testing."
What motivated you to start Ranomics?
"The motivation behind why I started Ranomics was really my fascination for the human genetic code. I feel like the human genetic code is the software that programs all of our proteins and basically who we are physically as human beings. I think one of the most important ways that we have been using this knowledge is through genetic testing; using our understanding of the human genome to predict diseases. Therefore, changing the healthcare system from one that is treatment-driven to one that is prevention-driven and genetic testing helps us to do just this."
"I really wanted to help solve a meaningful problem and clearly there was a huge problem in the genetic testing space with all of this lack of information on genetic variants which really lead me to starting this company."
What did you want to be when you grew up?
"I've actually always been interested in outer space exploration. I actually wanted to be an astronaut; I really liked stars, astrophysics -- learning about satellites, planets, and stars was a huge passion of mine."
How do you structure and organize your agenda?
"I try to keep a balance between work and personal life with my family and friends; I think that is very important."
"Being an entrepreneur you always have a big to-do list and for me, it is very important to prioritize what needs to be done, what events I need to attend, etc. It is important to prioritize these things before jumping into this to-do list"
What is it like to be a young, female CEO?
"I think it is really exciting! It is a rare role, but it is also a great opportunity. I am excited to be working on something that I am passionate about and to be supported by a talented and supportive team and advisors."
"At the end of the day it's not about who I am, it's more about what I am working on and that makes me excited."
"Also, being a young, female CEO allows me to inspire other people who have similar dreams and similar backgrounds who are interested in biotechnology and entrepreneurship."
If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
"The CEO of a chocolate company, so I could be surrounded by chocolate."
What advice would you give to young people who want to become entrepreneurs?
"The most important advice that I can give is to solve a meaningful problem in society. You can skip the networking events, skip the parties and conferences; the key is to build a product that people will love and generate revenue."
"There are so many distractions in the entrepreneurship space at the moment and it is very important to block out that noise and just focus on building a good business and a good team. Everything else comes after that."
Is there anything else you would like to add?
"Another piece of advice for young entrepreneurs is to be passionate about the problem that you are solving. Often times there is a difference between giving up and keep going. Success and failure are really how passionate you are about the problem you're solving and the product you are building."
Throughout the interview, Cathy Tie showed both professionalism and great character. As fellow millennials, we can all take from Cathy Tie's story the importance of passion and dedication. Challenge yourself to follow Cathy Tie's advice: identify a meaningful problem in society, build a way of solving this problem, and keep your eye on the goal.