Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Gourish Singla: The 26-year-old who wants to make India disease free in five years

With an ambitious aim, Singla's Shivom provides genetic data to pharma companies, while ensuring the individual remains anonymous and is incentivised

Published: Feb 13, 2020 10:47:50 AM IST
Updated: Feb 13, 2020 11:34:49 AM IST

Gourish Singla | 26
Founder, Shivom

Gourish Singla, founder of health care startup Shivom, has set himself an ambitious target: To make India disease-free in five years. His company is the means to achieve his goal.

Launched in 2017, Shivom tries to secure the genomics (DNA) available to everyone globally. “Having worked in the health space, when I saw that genetic testing companies were selling users’ DNA data to pharma companies and making millions of dollars without the users being aware, let alone monetising it, I knew this had to be changed. That’s when it struck me that blockchain could play a pivotal role in ensuring the user himself owns his most private data and is able to monetise it,” says Singla.

The genetic data of an individual is critical in identifying the diseases one might have and other diseases a person may be vulnerable to. Pharma companies so far have been using this data to identify subjects for clinical trials. Shivom aggregates that data, which they purchase from biobanks and direct-to-consumer companies, and enables the owners of the information to monetise it with big pharma. “Even Shivom does not have access to the complete data. When it is shared with the pharma company, the confidentiality of the owner is ensured,” he says.

Before Shivom, Singla was in the business of crypto financial markets. He then decided to use blockchain to securely store the genomics data and allow the owner complete control over how it is used. The startup has now expanded operations to Europe and Southeast Asia.

“Singla has a worldwide strategic vision for Shivom, a place for genome sequencing and DNA marketplace that will empower people to effectively own their data. This is currently disrupting the bio industry,” says Oskar Mielczarek, managing partner, Rakuten Capital, an investor. 

See the full Forbes India 30 Under 30 list for 2020 here

Singla also seeded another startup, Bione, for genetic and microbiome testing in India. Other than scaling Shivom in the future, Singla wants to eventually eradicate diseases in the world.

(This story appears in the 28 February, 2020 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)