RARE Daily

Rare Leader, David Jacob, Founder and CEO of ThinkGenetic

December 26, 2019

The Basics
Name: Dave Jacob

Title: Founder, CEO

Organization: ThinkGenetic, Inc (for-profit) and ThinkGenetic Foundation (nonprofit)

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

The Organization
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 Style
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

Personal Taste
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

Stay Connected

Sign up for updates straight to your inbox.