This month we had the great pleasure of interviewing Anil Kumar, Founder of RXHomeTest. Anil is a first time founder, but he is incredibly dedicated to making his startup soar. It is refreshing to hear the voice of someone newer to the startup world and it brings back so many memories, both good and bad, of what it was like to found a company for the first time. His passion, drive, and steadfastness are a testament to what every new founder should strive for. Thank you, Anil, for sharing your journey!
Describe what your company does in 25 words or less. RxHomeTest empowers people to check their key health parameters without leaving home. Collect a sample at home, and receive a physician reviewed lab report.
What was the inspiration for your company? Today, we expect everything to be shipped and delivered within 2-days (e.g., with Amazon prime), but when my wife wanted a Vitamin D test, she had to wait for two weeks for a doctor’s appointment, take half-a-day off for the visit, then give two vials of blood to the lab, again wait a week for results, and then pay $250 for a simple test that hasn’t changed in almost 30 years. Really?
How is/was your company funded and how does it make money? I worked for few years and saved to fund the company. How do we make money? Every patient pays a one time fee to order a test (that includes a doctor’s prescription, a test kit, return shipping, a test from CLIA-certified labs, a board certified physician’s review of the results, and a final report).
What were you doing before you started working on your company? I worked in a corporate cube for six years. When I was not there, someone was yelling at me for not fixing their problems that day.
What do you like most about being a founder? I love the many hats I get to wear (from picking the fonts for logo, to website design and tinkering, to finding a physician’s network and labs to test, to crunch public health data to draw conclusions for patient reports).
What do you like least about being a founder? The pace of growth and getting things done is much slower that what I had expected.
What has been the biggest barrier to progress for you as a founder? As an engineer it has been very difficult to learn (and appreciate) the role of marketing.
What has been the biggest win for your company? A slow and steady progress towards growth. I believe most engineering is evolutionary and you have to keep learning and adding value to reach the top.
What’s your best hack for dealing with the demands of running a startup? Finding the right people and let them surprise you. If you pick the right people it’s worth taking your time.
What advice do you have for founders who are two stages behind you? (1) Ninety-nine percent of people will say your idea won’t work, but don’t let that stop you–you can’t really see heaven until you die–you really need to take the plunge; (2) Plan for at least 2 years of cash to pay the bills, otherwise your focus will quickly move to Plan B (and the opportunity cost) just when things start to get exciting.
If you weren’t building your company, what else would you be doing now? Most likely I will still be in that cube. Though, high probability I would be working on another startup.
What would make life better for founders in your city? There is just too much noise, and not much meat. It will help if we could cut down to the chase and all focus on key things that help us grow (or fail fast). Finding right people and right information sometime feels like looking for a needle in haystack.
How has Startup Haven helped you on your journey? I found it to be an authentic group and enjoy the company of like-minded people. I look forward to learning more.
What help can you offer to other Startup Haven member founders… what’s your offer? So far I can only share what I have learned (which is not much); I can provide some volunteer support if needed.
What do you need… what’s your “ask”? (1) Mentoring–that’s one big thing I miss from my last job; (2) experts in marketing and those with experience in helping small businesses grow.
What question didn’t we ask you that we should have… and what’s the answer? You didn’t ask what makes Startup Haven to stand out from other events/organizations (It took me almost a year before I found it). I don’t know, may be you do.