Changing the personalized nutrition paradigm
“One thing I would change is to make the industry more consumer-centric: people over profits,” says Gil Blander, Founder & Chief Scientific Officer, Inside Tracker. He found the healthcare industry concentrating on profits more than the health of the people. He says their focus is not on targeted prevention but remediation of consequences. Instead of treating the root cause, they treat the symptoms. According to him, “this current ‘sick care’ industry is like a hotel and gym –– trying to fill hospital beds and use diagnostic machines for profit, instead of working to keep people away from those places and things”.
As a child, Gil witnessed the death of a relative due to lack of preventive healthcare, and this resulted in his lifelong commitment to bring a change to this scenario. Being passionate about personalized nutrition, longevity research, and artificial intelligence, he tried to integrate these and provide a solution. Thus, he came up with the concept of InsideTracker as a personalized wellness application. The main motive of InsideTracker is to help people live better, for longer. . InsideTracker works by optimizing each individual body based on its own biometric data. The cutting-edge algorithmic engine analyses a person’s blood samples, DNA, and lifestyle habits, and guides them towards whole-body optimization by providing actionable recommendations.
Gil worked alongside some of the world leaders in aging research, like MIT biologist Dr. Leonard Guarente and Harvard geneticist Dr. David Sinclair, to generate the prototype for an automated, algorithm-based personalized nutrition and lifestyle platform. Regarding the guiding concept behind InsideTracker, Gil says it’s about “combining rigorous, peer-reviewed science with cutting edge technology and the creative power of great human minds––which can result in phenomenal advances for human health”.
Innovation – the key for future
Gil has a Ph.D. from one of the top labs at the world-renowned the Weitzmann Institute. He did his postdoc at MIT in aging science. Early on, he could see through the shortcomings in the current industry very clearly. He believes healthcare needs to become innovative and work on prevention over treatment. The focus, he explains, should be on how to make the person healthier even before they ever get sick. This can be achieved only when scientists, engineers, and physicians put human beings at the center of their research rather than the financials. Gil says this shift has started with platforms like InsideTracker, but there is still a long road to tread.
Road to success
Gil is a risk-taker who is passionate about the future and very committed to his goals. Although stubborn in his commitment, he has remained flexible and open when it comes to revising the company’s trajectory such that it aligns with his core values and the rapidly changing landscape of health, technology, and consumer needs. He attributes his success to his strong, passionate and talented team which has helped InsideTracker grow for the past 10 years.
Gil says a leader should have a crystal clear vision for the future, a relentless desire to achieve the goal of helping others live a longer better life, stay firm on the vision amid challenges and be committed to continually learning. Apart from these traits, a leader should be pragmatic––that is, having a desire to be practical and progress-oriented.
He advises budding entrepreneurs to not be afraid of failures as, he believes that’s the best way to learn and become better. He says, “While we don’t set out to fail, we do set out to make significant changes––to change existing healthcare paradigms and create more efficient ways for everyone in the world to access greater wellness and a more robust health span”.