Launching his DNA testing business, Rightangled Ltd, while studying at Warwick University, Abdullah Sabyah speaks to BQ about the journey he's been on since.
What is it the company does?
DNA testing for cardiac health, diet and fitness. Rightangled also operates on an innovative online platform that connects specialists with users, by which the specialists are paid per test review to review users reports and deliver action plans based on the user’s DNA results and their self-reported health goals and fitness objectives.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I am the co-founder and CEO.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started the company while I was a student at Warwick Uni. The idea was to develop an online platform that would make DNA testing accessible, affordable and medically relevant to the healthcare professionals, who were initially sceptical due to the bad practices of early movers in the market. We moved to engage the NHS in the project, which they liked and offered the seed fund (for which the NHS currently owns a 2.6% stake in our business).
With the seed fund, we built the platform, developed the first product (Heart DNA Test) and launched the business. Later, by the end of 2018, we released the second product (Fitness DNA Test) using the same platform for engaging fitness and nutrition professionals in the delivery of our service to a wider audience.
We are now in the process of getting ready to release a mobile app powered by AI (around the end of this year) followed by the release of our third and fourth products which will focus on mental health medications and cancer screening.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Being tactical by having good attention to detail and good communication skills. Communication is key in articulating a vision and asking people around you for support and help. Hence, a great communicator is always a great leader, and vice versa.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Recruitment. Finding the right talent is the hardest job for any founder. Especially if you are a tech company where the technologies you are developing and releasing to the market has not been tested or done before. Recruiting talent is a must in these circumstances, and finding the right talent to do the job can be challenging and daunting at times. However, I believe it is every CEO’s main role.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
By allocating an hour and a half every morning for sports (swimming, sauna, weight lifting, cardio) before heading off to the office. Sometimes I do it after work, depending how energetic I feel in the morning. However, regardless of how I feel on any given day, I need to do some sports to clear my mind.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A salesman. To the contrary of what my family wanted, which was for me to be a doctor. Even though I did two years of medicine before moving to medical biotech and business management, I eventually had to drop out of med school as I didn’t enjoy it as much.
When I moved to the UK, I continued my studies in what I could easily understand (science) and then combined it with what I am actually passionate about (business), and it wasn’t until my Masters year when I combined both in an interdisciplinary course and that was when I found my purpose.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Running late in the morning. I now speak with the person concerned and I explain why it's not a very good characteristic to have.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We will have released two new products, which specialise in mental health medications and cancer screening. Also, having opened an office in the Gulf region (Dubai or Riyadh) and another office in Shanghai, in addition to the one we’ve recently opened in Austin, Texas.
We are currently preparing to release a mobile app by the end of this year that would be powered by AI, feeding information back to our users in the most personalised way.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Dream big and stay focused.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
I had some pretty good advice when I started actually; I can’t think of anything I wish I knew before starting. My science and business advisors helped shape a lot of the decisions I took while starting and running the business. People are happy to help, you just need to seek that advice whenever you can.
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