Founder and CEO of DNAFit, Avi Lasarow is an award-winning entrepreneur and lifestyle genetics pioneer. A passionate believer in putting research first, Avi has made robust scientific discovery a cornerstone of DNAFit.
His company DNAFit has won numerous awards, most recently being awarded two separate medals at the 2018 Queens Awards For Enterprise. In April 2018, DNAFit was acquired by Hong Kong based global genetics company Prenetics. Avi Lasarow continues to lead the business, in addition to sitting as CEO of Prenetics International.
Avi has also been highly decorated personally throughout the corporate and diplomatic world. In 2011 he became the youngest person to be appointed as an Honorary Consul for South Africa to the UK.
GHP News have the chance to interview with Avi Lasarow and asking him about the brand.
Talk me through DNAFit and the services you have to offer.
DNAFit is the UK’s leading wellness genetics company,. Since we launched in 2014, we have conducted more than 100,000 tests since 2014 to offer customers the most personalised insights into their fitness and nutrition genetics.
Our core products, led by the Diet Fitness Pro 360 product, have focussed on reporting on genetic markers specific to nutrition and fitness. However, the process doesn’t simply begin and end with a DNA saliva swab. Of critical importance is the digital health coaching we provide in addition, helping our customers to interpret their results, and understand their personal goals to help them create actionable plans. We then offer additional tools such as our MealPlanner app, which helps customers build a shopping list and plan meals based on their genetics, and the unique Elevate training platform to inform fitness programmes.
Since 2018, we have started to expand this product offering to create a fuller suite of digital health coach solutions. SnapShot allows customers to use blood testing to monitor real-time markers in their body, whilst Amplify offers personalised supplements based on your DNA. And, soon, we will be unveiling an exciting new product which allows us to explore the impact of our genetics on Sleep and Stress response.
Founder and CEO of DNAFit, Avi Lasarow
What separates DNAFit from its competitors in the current market?
Coming to market in 2014, we have built up the most established credibility in the wellness genetics space. From the outset, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to self-regulate and demand the highest possible standards of scientific research and development. This led to the creation of the independent Scientific Advisory Board, which leads world class work to drive the industry forward.
In April 2018, we joined forces with Prenetics, a leading global player based in Hong Kong offering a world class range of B2B products. Together, we are able to help more people become healthier by accessing their genetic information to deliver wellness solutions and increasingly consider preventative health.
What drove you to create DNAFit? Where did the inspiration come from?
DNAFit was born out of a mission to help people live happier, healthier lives. We wanted to democratise wellness, and ultimately give everyone the chance to understand their wellness on a truly personal level, as this shouldn’t be the preserve of the privileged few.
Our arrival also came in the context of a wellness industry which was leaving consumers facing a confusing world of contradictory ‘fad diets’ and ‘one size fits all’ solutions. By harnessing the power of a DNA swab we wanted to help people take control of their lives through the most personalised nutrition and fitness insights possible.
What challenges has the company faced starting up? How did you overcome these and is there anything you would like to have done differently if you had the chance to go back?
Some of the hurdles we have faced have been about how we educate and tell the everyday consumer not to be scared of something like a DNA test. So, we’ve had to be really clear and transparent about what we test for, what it CAN tell the user, and crucially what it CAN’T tell the user as well. So our Scientific Advisory Board are very specific in saying that we should only offer a certain amount of tests, or a limited amount of traits to the end user, as these are the only ones that pass our set evidence inclusion criteria protocol.
Who would you say is the target audience for DNAfit?
As of today, it truly is any person who has a desire to live a happier, longer and healthier life. When we first started, our core product was aimed at consumers with a strong existing interest in fitness, alongside personal trainers and elite sportspeople. Very quickly, we realised the scale of the opportunity was significantly broader than this, and that any person with a desire to improve their wellbeing would significantly benefit from access to these personal insights.
Nowadays, whilst a huge part of our business is in the direct to consumer market, we increasingly work closely with blue chip corporates, in what is fast a hugely important area for large businesses who have a duty of care to their staff. By scaling up with Prenetics, together we offer pioneering wellness solutions within employee benefit packages, as well as helping forward thinking insurers empower their policyholders to take control of their health.
How do factors such as sleep affect weight loss and how is your company integrating this into its product offering?
We are excited to be able to announce the launch of Health Fit, our latest exciting product which is going to give consumers all over the world the chance to gain further insights into their personal wellness genetics. Previously selling more than 100,000 diet and fitness DNA tests, we believe that as a company mental wellbeing needs to hold equal importance.
Health Fit explores a number of genetic factors that can affect our mental wellbeing such as sleep quality, and the personal impact of caffeine on sleep.
Central to Health Fit is the ground-breaking new Chronotype Report. Analysing six specific genes that combine to generate the customer’s ‘chronotype’, this assesses whether a person is genetically predisposed to heightened hormonal activity in the morning or evening. In the instance of a genetic night owl, their circadian rhythms are regulated in a way that creates more hormonal activity later in the day. The new test also reveals the most robust stress genetic information to date, revealing high or low predisposition to stress tolerance, and anticipated response to high pressure situations.
What do you think about the new fad diets that have come onto market? How is DNAFit different?
One of the big problems with fad diets is that they prey on the fact that consumers are often on the search for a ‘silver bullet’ solution. In many cases a particular diet can be effective for an individual, but completely in appropriate for another. By exploring the personal insights in our own DNA, we can access the best possible information to make the right choices on an individual. Every one of us is different, so there is no chance that the same advice for all can be effective.