thriva: Hamish Grierson

A firm believer that 'prevention is better than cure', this start-up offers consumers domestic blood tests they can send to GPs for medical advice

Name: Hamish Grierson
Company Name: thriva
Location: Greater London
Date Launched: 20/06/16
Twitter handle: @thrivahealth
Website: thriva.co

Tell us what your business does:

We’re empowering people to take back control of their bodies by providing simple, affordable products that empower you to proactively manage their health.

We’re making the dream of ‘prevention is better than cure’ a reality.

How does it work? Customers order a thriva finger-prick home blood test online. The kit arrives through the post and contains everything you need to take a small finger-prick sample which is posted back to our partner lab.

From there, every customer receives a bespoke report created by one of the GPs on our platform explaining in plain English what the results mean and what action you can take to make improvements.

We have three tests available at present: A Lifestyle Impact test, an Energy/Fatigue test, and our Baseline Tracker subscription product which is a quarterly check that tracks the fundamentals.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

My co-founder Eliot has hereditary high cholesterol despite appearing fit and healthy.

When Eliot and I worked together (I was his boss in a previous company), he’d have to ask for a whole morning off work to get his usual blood test.

We got talking about how outdated the process felt and how ‘anti-customer’ the experience was and went on the hunt to identify what you could achieve by bringing that process into the 21st century.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We did lots of research before starting the business (we surveyed 150 people) to better understand the challenges that people live with then it comes to managing their health.

We also ran some paid marketing tests and drove traffic to landing pages where you could register your interest (we drove 950 sign ups in total).

We also looked at the marco market trends and could see that there was clearly a rising tide of consumer demand for data on themselves, and for more personalised and convenient health products (wearables being a good example)

What were you doing before starting up?

Running mobile payments for Travelex (my last project was the beta launch of Supercard which drove 86,000 registrations in 36 hours).

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes. I’ve launched a skiing business in France previously (Ski Neon). And created a lifestyle brand in my spare time called Brick Beach which manufactured beach bat and ball (which are now being white labelled by Channel)

How did you raise the money?

The validation from Seedcamp helped but ultimately it was about going out to everyone in my network and trying to build the round that way

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We make a gross margin on the test we sell.

We’ll also have the ability to boost LTV by monetising referrals to other areas of the healthcare system such as specialists, diet plans, supplements etc.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

While we were gearing up for launch, a massive company in the USA (Theranos) started falling apart and unfortunately for us, their business revolved around ‘finger prick blood tests’. This prompted lots of questions about the accuracy of our tests by investors.

We overcame the challenge by developing a very clear set of statements that highlighted just how different our business models are, why Theranos have actually done us a favour, and sent around supporting documentation and news articles that brought what we were saying to life.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Getting on to Seedcamp and raising our first round from 10 Angels soon thereafter.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

A problem well stated is a problem half solved.

Relatedly, figure out how to ask good questions when you’re talking to your customers.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Hands on, running thriva. Which have become a brand that’s globally synonymous with products and services that empower millions of people around the world to proactively manage their health.

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