Interview with Caio Hachem, COO at Nucleus

Josiah Motley · July 14, 2022 · Short URL:

The company comes out of stealth mode to announce an additional $14 million in funding

dna sequence on clean background

Image: Unsplash

There are multiple genetics companies out there, and now, a new one is looking to shake up the industry. Nucleus Genomics, a New York-based company, has been in stealth mode since last year and is now announcing a new $14 million funding round.

The company is using whole-genome sequencing to (hopefully) provide "genetic risk and disposition score analyses on an extensive number of diseases and traits."

Nucleus' latest funding round was led by Alexis Ohanian's Seven Seven Six with participation from Founders Fund, Adrian Aoun (CEO, Forward Health), Brent Saunders (former CEO, Allergan), and more.

I had the chance to speak with Caio Hachem, COO at Nucleus, to learn more about the funding, as well as learn a bit more about the company as a whole, including what inspired it. You can find the full interview below.

nucleus logo on black background

Care to introduce yourself and your role at Nucleus?

I was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, before moving to the US to attend the University of Pennsylvania. I've always enjoyed building things, whether it was multirotor drones when I was a kid or a Fintech startup in college. I'm Chief Operating Officer and a founding partner at Nucleus.

At Nucleus, I lead business development and day-to-day operations. Before Nucleus, I was Chief of Staff at Avenue, an incident response tool for operations teams backed by Y Combinator and Accel.

In just a couple of sentences, what is Nucleus?

Nucleus is reimagining and revitalizing consumer genetic testing and analysis. We provide more and better genetic analysis, all while letting users maintain total control over their DNA data.

What inspired the creation of the company?

Our mission is to empower people to take agency over their health so no one dies from preventable disease. That’s why the company is building a platform based on cutting-edge science, for a future where everyone has their genome in their pocket, has complete clarity on their risks, and are empowered by personalized health measures.

When Kian pitched me this mission in June of last year, it immediately resonated with me as so many of us have faced the loss of loved ones at the hands of a preventable disease.

How much funding have you received to date and do you plan on pursuing additional funding?

We've raised $18 million from stellar investors such as Alexis Ohanian//776 and Founders Fund, with participation from Adrian Aoun (CEO, Forward), Brent Saunders (CEO, Allergan), Patrick Hsu (Bioengineering Professor, UC at Berkeley), and many others. We do not plan on fundraising for at least a few years.

Any tips for readers that may be looking to obtain funding for their startup?

Focus on a problem you are genuinely passionate about and work tirelessly to solve it. Grit can be your greatest ally.

Also, finding the right partners to start a company is critical – recruit people who complement your skills, are radically transparent with you, and are equally hardworking. I am blessed to work alongside a team that I believe wholly embodies this spirit.

I hear you're hiring in a downturn - how's that going? What's made you increase hiring at this time?

Ayrton Senna once said, "You can not overtake 15 cars in sunny weather...but you can when it's raining." We strategically planned to fundraise ahead of the bear market, enabling us to have the capital to keep growing and hiring with several years of runway.

Companies that were the top destination for the best engineers, such as Tesla and Coinbase, are undergoing mass layoffs and, in some cases, even rescinding job offers. With this substantial fundraising, we are excited to sustainably capture the best talent as we build our in-person team in New York.

Back on the Nucleus front - what benefits do you provide people that submit their genetic information?

Nucleus has developed innovative algorithms that get more accurate assessments of people’s disease risks and trait dispositions.

person with test tubes and beakers

Image: Unsplash

Additionally, we provide analysis on a greater number of both diseases and traits — enabling users to engage in a new era of personal discovery and insight.

Do you only work with genetics from companies like 23andMe or can users submit genetic information directly to Nucleus?

In addition to users being able to upload their genetic data onto Nucleus from another third party, Nucleus provides genetic testing kits for users who have never done any kind of genetic testing.

Anything you'd like to close with?

There is a huge diversity problem in genetic datasets, which are disproportionately European-centric. Our team at Nucleus believes that genomics should work for everyone, not just a select few.

This is why inclusion and diversity are critical features of our reports, website, and outreach. We are also an incredibly diverse team, with members from around the world. By working with users, academics, and healthcare professionals, we will continue to work toward reducing the diversity gap in genomics.

I'd like to thank Caio for taking the time to answer some of my questions.

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Josiah Motley

Contributor at various blogs, with a focus on tech, apps, gadgets, and gaming.

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