The new faces of Silicon Valley: biotech-savvy co-founders Avey-Wojcicki

avey-wojcickiAfter Jobs-Wozniak, Yang-Filo, Brin-Page, it’s time to memorize the names of the co-founders of 23andMe, the first personalized genome service, who are turning the tech establishment into a biotech mode.

The new faces of Silicon Valley: the age of Blue Jeans/Black T-Shirt co-founder computer nerds is over, welcome to the era of stylish, well-dressed genetics-savvy co-founder business ladies! According to the about page of 23andMe:

Linda Avey has over 20 years of sales and business development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry while the other founder, Anne Wojcicki brings to 23andMe a 10-year background in healthcare investing, focused primarily on biotechnology companies.

23andMe is probably the most well-connected startup in the history of Silicon Valley with an unlimited amount of networking and server capabilities thanks to Wojcicki and board member Esther Dyson.

8 thoughts on “The new faces of Silicon Valley: biotech-savvy co-founders Avey-Wojcicki

  1. I’ve known Linda for over 20 years and she’s long had a passion for genetics. She wrote kids books about genetics in the mid-90’s when her kids were in grade school, and, as far as I know, had a lot of the “real ideas” for the company (before she met Anne).

  2. Thanks for the comment, yes it seems that the idea and business model of 23andMe could be egually contributed to both co-founders based on the Wired coverage: “Linda Avey wasn’t at the dinner, but she wished she had been when she read about it later that year in David Vise and Mark Malseed’s book, The Google Story. At the time, Avey was an executive at Affymetrix, the company that had pioneered some of the tools for modern genetic research. For nearly a year, she had been mulling the idea of a genotyping tool for consumers, one that would let them plumb their own genome as well as create a novel data pool for researchers. She even had a placeholder name for it: Newco. “All the pieces were there,” Avey says. “All we needed was the money, as usual, and computational power.” Two things that Google has plenty of. Around the time she read Vise and Malseed’s book, Avey had a dinner scheduled with a Google executive. She asked Wojcicki to join them, and the two quickly hit it off. Within a few months, they had settled on the idea behind 23andMe: Give people a look at their genome and help them make sense of it. (The company’s name is a reference to the 23 pairs of chromosomes that contain our DNA.)”

  3. I definitely believe that Linda gets far too little credit, especially given that she’s the one with the Affy background. That said, I suspect she prefers it that way.

  4. Deepak, that’s my suspicion too but I don’t have firsthand information. And I would really be interested in Brin’s intellectual contribution to the idea of 23andMe too as I suspect it was not minimal, and as important as his investment in the company. Damn, we could have asked this from Sergey and Anne at the SciFoo. 🙂

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