FitnessGenes started in July 2013 and have just celebrated their 5th birthday. They are a genetic analysis company who give recommendations on how to eat and exercise based on your DNA. FitnessGenes started out at Cherwell Innovation Centre and moved to Bicester Innovation Centre in May 2014 as the business expanded. Sam gave us a bit more information about FitnessGenes, and the direction they are heading.

How did your company start?

I was originally based in the Cherwell Diagnox lab running PlayDNA; a company that produced portraits based on people’s DNA.  In the course of setting up this, my first business, I developed a low cost platform for genetic testing.  Upon meeting Dan, our now CEO, and explaining the concept behind the portraits, we decided to research whether we could use this platform to give people more personalised exercise and diet plans.  MuscleGenes, as we were known back then, was launched off the back of this research, with the founding team comprising 2 geneticists, a medic and a nutritionist.  The potential of the business soon became clear as sales boomed, and after several rounds of investment funding the business is growing fast with over 30 employees on 3 different continents.

What are you working on at the moment?

We have just completed the formal release of our patent-pending ‘True Trait’ model.  Our in-house science team have developed a system to incorporate an individuals DNA results with other important factors such as their age, current body weight and activity levels.  This creates a physiological avatar of them, which we then use to create their ideal exercise and diet plan.  Using both genetic and environmental factors gives us the most accurate results.

What do you like about the Bicester Innovation Centre?

We started out in Cherwell in the labs, and as a lone, self-funded entrepreneur, the affordable facilities at Diagnox meant I was able to develop my first business at low cost.  As our business model evolved, we moved to Bicester to access the office space rather than lab space.  Bicester is conveniently located and attracts talent across all business sectors.  Bicester is affordable for start-up businesses and has access to professional meeting rooms which is great for meeting clients.

We have been able to expand here with the support from the BIC team, and since the rebrand, the centre is looking fresh and modern, and somewhere we are proud to be located.

What projects/ambitions do you have for the future of your company?

We are going to continue to raise the next rounds of investment, in order to continue to expand internationally.  We are also going to continue to add value to the company by expanding our knowledge base and protecting our intellectual property via patents.