- These business leaders, scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs have “navigated the impacts of a pandemic to their businesses and to their lives as the U.S. gets vaccinated and faces a swell of COVID-19 cases.”
Several South Asian Americans are among Business Insider’s ’30 Under 40’ list of business leaders, scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs forging a new future for the healthcare industry in 2021. Those selected have “navigated the impacts of a pandemic to their businesses and to their lives as the U.S. gets vaccinated and faces a swell of COVID-19 cases,” Business Insider says.
Included in the list are Sid Viswanathan, 37, and his partner, Umar Afridi, 39, co-founders of Truepill; Dr. Asima Ahmad, 39, founder, Carrot Fertility; entrepreneur Shwetak Patel, 39; Danish Qureshi, 37, co-founder of Life Stance Health; researcher Noreen Rizvi, 34; Nabiha Saklayen, 31, founder, Celino Biotech; Suchi Saria, 38, founder, Beysian Health; and Harpreet Singh Rai, 37, CEO at Oura.
Business Insider says that in 2016, Sid Viswanathan and Umar Afridi founded Truepill on a “gamble that the on-demand shift they were seeing in tech would happen in healthcare too.” Since then, Business Insider says “Truepill has built the infrastructure behind companies like Hims and GoodRx and collaborated with UnitedHealth Group to build Well At Home, a program to help people manage flu symptoms from home and determine whether they have the flu or COVID-19.” It expects Truepill to collaborate “with healthcare organizations outside the digital-health world.” Before Truepill, Viswanathan had founded a business-card-transcription company and worked in product management, while Afridi had been working as a pharmacist.
Dr. Asima Ahmad is using her clinical experience to improve access to women’s health and fertility treatments. She told Business Insider that as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, she was aware of the hardships she would have faced had her family stayed in Pakistan. She used this as motivation to change what she could in the U.S., she said. She was just starting her fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco in obstetrics and gynecology when she ran into Tammy Sun at a talk about low-cost fertility treatments. Together they decided to start a company that would become Carrot Fertility, a benefits provider for fertility treatments. Ahmad embarked on a career in entrepreneurship as Carrot’s co-founder and chief medical officer while pursuing her fellowship and simultaneously starting her own family.
After earning an undergrad degree at Georgia Tech, Shwetak Patel pursued his doctoral studies there, developing home sensors for energy consumption and helping older people with daily activities, for which he won a MacArthur genius grant. After joining the faculty at the University of Washington in 2008, Patel focused on healthcare. One of his first projects let people with respiratory conditions like asthma use their phone’s microphones for breathing tests., and later designed similar assessments for jaundice in newborns, for hemoglobin levels, for osteoporosis, among others. After Google acquired Senosis Health, one of several companies Patel founded, in 2019, it hired the serial entrepreneur “to help carve out Google’s future in artificial intelligence and sensing.” Recently, Patel’s team at Google launched technology “to monitor heart rates and breathing using the cameras on Google phones, as well as respiratory and sleep tracking on Google Nest devices,” Business Insider said.
When his previous company, Accelecare Wound Centers, sold to Healogics in 2015, Danish Qureshi and his business partners Mike Lester and Gwendolyn Booth co-founded LifeStance Health, to transform how mental-health care is paid for and delivered so that more people can get it. The company went public in June at a $7.5 billion valuation It employs nearly 4,000 psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and other clinicians to provide in-person and virtual mental-health care in 31 states. “What sets it apart is that 90% of its revenue comes from in-network contracts with commercial insurers,” Business Insider says. Qureshi also oversees the company’s dozens of recruiters who persuade clinicians to join LifeStance.
As the lead in research-and-development strategy and operations at the biotech Faze Medicines, Noreen Rizvi leads a new approach to tackle ALS and possibly other neurological disorders. Rizvi started in the drug industry doing postdoctoral research at Merck after earning a doctorate in chemical engineering. In 2019, she joined Third Rock Ventures, where she helped incubate Faze until its unveiling last December with an $81 million Series A financing.
Bangladeshi American Nabiha Saklayen uses lasers to make cutting-edge cell-therapy medicines more accessible. After completing a Ph.D. in physics at Harvard, Saklayen took her laser research and launched Cellino Biotech, which raised a $16 million seed round co-led by Khosla Ventures in February.
Suchi Saria, 38, wants to prevent more deaths with AI and machine learning. After her 26-year-old nephew died of sepsis in India, she founded Bayesian Health, a software company that spun out of research she was doing at Johns Hopkins University, where she’s also a professor. The technology churns through data including health records for its health-system customers and is designed to catch deadly conditions before they progress.
Oura CEO Harpreet Singh Rai, 37, created a brand new wearable device called Oura, which makes a ring to track your temperature, heart rate, and sleep. He wants people using his ring to be able to detect illnesses, monitor their menstrual cycles, and be more informed about their sleeping habits.“We have sensors now for cars — why isn’t this there for the human body?” Rai told Business Insider. “If the check engine light is on, something’s going wrong.