Where does this whole WellSeek thing begin with you? What made you want to do what you’re doing now?
Everyone’s curious about how to define health and what it means to have a good quality of life. For me, it was triggered 20 years ago when my mom went into cardiac arrest and slipped into a coma following a hospital procedure. We were lucky she woke up, but for years, doctors didn’t provide my family with straight answers to what happened or a diagnosis to manage her treatment.
It was a frustrating and confusing experience, and after that, I couldn’t stop wondering about what mechanisms sustained life.
Where did you go from there? And how does it tie into what you’re doing with WellSeek?
I wanted that foundational understanding of how everything works and fits together, so I ended up at UCSD to study bioengineering. I was fortunate early on to stumble across a lab that was doing some pretty cutting-edge science in systems biology and metabolic engineering. I came in as the undergrad assistant trying to find ways to efficiently wash glassware, then somehow ended up building large-scale computer models of metabolism. This was where I first started understanding the molecular basis of how our genes, the parts they encode for, and nutrients all interact to create energy and perform essential cellular functions. Life! From then on, I knew I was hooked.
What I learned about the relationship of complex systems is pretty much what WellSeek is based on. It’s fascinating stuff, to know that all of these things are going on in your body at any given time of your life. We can’t see it, yet it’s what makes us feel what we feel and defines our well-being.
What do you consider WellSeek to be in relation to the larger health community?
Having been in the biotech industry for a few years, I saw the way science needed to be painstakingly pored over, tested, and retested for validity. This adds so many years to deliver a single medical product into the healthcare system, but as it should! If you’re putting something into your body, shouldn’t you know what and why it happens?
But I took a step back. I noticed the immense amount of nutrition and metabolic information already amassed and began to wonder if this data simply needs to be understood to have a widespread impact on health and wellness. How can we effectively provide a solution to dissect complex science and communicate it to those not familiar with it? How do we make it digestible so people can start taking immediate action and, in essence, ‘engineer’ their nutrition towards better health?
What will WellSeek do to benefit the people’s nutrition?
We are all familiar with the preconceived notions of the nutrition industry, it’s difficult to know who to trust and who isn’t selling ‘snake oil’. This really emphasizes why we need some unifying way to remove the subjectivity, and provide a tool where people can see how nutrition advice, whether a superfood, supplement, or meal plan, fits their health needs. It’s your body, and you should ultimately be your own expert. That is what I envision for WellSeek, to empower people with the knowledge and peace of mind that they are doing their best to eat healthy on their own terms.
You are a newbie entrepreneur. What have you taken away from the experience so far?
Having the opportunity to build something out of nothing has been amazing. I love getting my hands dirty in every component: the science, technology, business development, legal documents, marketing...or just being a team cheerleader. It is also, without a doubt, one of the most challenging things I've done. But what I love the most is that the possibilities are endless in who I can approach with WellSeek. If someone says they're not interested, you pick yourself up, figure out why they said no, and try again.
Building a company is like an endless series of tunnels to navigate through. As long as you keep showing up and trying your best, you have to trust that light will be there at the end. And when you’ve reached it, don’t stagnate because there are more tunnels awaiting!
Above all, patience is key to this whole process. I have to be mentally forgiving with my mistakes and remember that I’m meant to be imperfectly human. Dreams aren’t built overnight.