Jeremy Koenig, founder and CEO of Athletigen, has always been a fan of both high-performance athletics and human genetics. In 2012, he had an idea: Find a way to combine his love for the two into something worthwhile. Just like that, Athletigen was born.
Athletigen looks deeply into the human genome, and its billions of genetic data points called nucleotides. According to Jeremy, less than one per cent of the entire human genome is variable. This means there is only a one per cent difference that accounts for all of the diversity we see in humanity. Athletigen looks further by scoping out those aspects of the genome that are specifically related to athleticism. The algorithm produces results that are used to optimize fitness plans, inform elite athlete performance and tweak physician-prescribed exercise.
“I liked turning the problem on its head,” Jeremy says. “For example, what’s disease pathology? ‘Why is something broken at the genetic level, and how do we fix it?’ What if we ask instead: What is going on when this gene is doing something amazing?”
Athletigen uses a platform of existing direct-to-customer providers, such as 23&me and Ancestry.com to easily connect users to their raw data. Within minutes, users can gain insight into what type of diet or training they will best respond to and whether they are at a heightened risk for specific injuries.
In March of 2016, Baylor Football and Athletigen announced a partnership geared toward creating a unified performance platform. This platform allows each athlete to have a training program developed based on their own genetic information to help improve their health, performance and safety.
After its initial beta launch in 2014, Athletigen began to call Volta Labs home while Jeremy developed his team. Two years later, the team has evolved into a dynamic group of over twenty employees, who specialize in marketing, R&D, biology and engineering.
Since graduating from Volta’s residency program in 2015, the Athletigen team has raised a total of $1.5 million in equity funding. In
April of 2016, they officially opened their own office (only five floors up from Volta) to scale up with their growth.
Genetic profiling for athletics is new and uncharted territory, making Athletigen’s venture into the market no small undertaking. The team is now four years in, and the future has never been brighter.