Name: Dave Jacob
Title: Founder, CEO
Social Media Links:
Disease focus: ThinkGenetic helps individuals with undiagnosed rare disease harness the power of artificial intelligence by offering trustworthy information to guide them to the help they need faster.
Headquarters: Sudbury, Massachusetts
How did you become involved in rare disease: My sister and I were both diagnosed with Cutis Laxa, an ultra-rare connective tissue condition.
Previous career: CEO, Davalen, a 25-year IBM premier partner focused on web development, search, and AI; CEO Data Solutions Corp, a subsidiary of Data General, a public company; regional vice president of Electronic Data Systems, professional bowler, and Navy pilot.
Education: B.S. applied math and physics from Florida State University
Organization’s mission: We shorten the diagnostic odyssey for people with genetic conditions.
Organization’s strategy: We use AI algorithms and professionally written content to educate potential genetic patients and get them to the appropriate next step: genetic counseling, genetic testing, and treatment.
Funding strategy: We raised an initial $500,000 in grants, and then $1.5 million through a seed round of financing. We get additional funding from paying clients. In 2020, we will complete a series A funding round.
What’s changing at your organization in the next year: In 2020, we will be adding staff to fulfill our existing contracts, expand genetic condition coverage, advertising, and marketing.
Management philosophy: Have aclear vision, defined areas of responsibility, smart people, and give them the freedom to execute.
Guiding principles for running an effective organization: Have a clear vision, collaboration and decision responsibility, and give people freedom to execute.
Best way to keep your organization relevant: Constant education and market evaluation
Why do people like working with you: I am flexible, learn from mistakes, and never give up.
Mentor: Ross Perot, the founder and CEO of Electronic Data Systems
On the Job
What inspires you: Seeing people figure out what is unique about them and how they live with it.
What makes you hopeful: The speed with which genetic conditions are being evaluated, talked about, and treated
Best organization decision: The best decision was forming ThinkGenetic with my long-time business partner and two daughters.
Hardest lesson learned: The hardest lesson was learning how to act like a startup and find funding pre-revenue.
Toughest organization decision: The toughest decision was laying off my division at Data General (including me) before its sale.
Biggest missed opportunity: When I was at Data Solutions Corporation, we approached Blockbuster about piloting a movie streaming service.
Like best about the job: I like the freedom to incorporate business into life choices.
Like least about the job: Scrambling for funding
Pet peeve: Long, unstructured meetings
First choice for a new career: What I am doing now with my daughters
Most influential book: The Bible and On Wings of Eagles: The Inspiring True Story of One Man’s Patriotic Spirit–and His Heroic Mission to Save His Countrymen by Ken Follett
Favorite movie: The Shawshank Redemption
Favorite music: Beatles, Beethoven, Bach
Favorite food: Pecan pie, cherry vanilla ice cream, and gummy bears
Guilty pleasure: Telling bad puns
Favorite way to spend free time: Bowling, walking, and chasing grandsons