19 Mar 2021

Get to Know Genbiotics, a Business Track New Venture Competition Team


With the New Venture Competition (NVC) finale right around the corner (be sure to RSVP and tune in March 30 at 6:00 pm), learn more about team Genbiotics, a company engineering bacteria to create a therapeutic platform for respiratory diseases.

Team members: Alex Youssef (MBA 2022), Miroslav Gasparek

What inspired you to start your company?

37.2 trillion bacteria live in the human body, composing over half of our cellular mass. Using synthetic biology, we want to super-charge these bacteria and unlock their therapeutic potential to treat some of the most challenging or prevalent diseases

How has the Rock Center helps with your entrepreneurial journey? Are there any other HBS resources you have been using?

The Harvard i-lab has supported our work on our provisional patent application with DLA Piper. Together, the Rock Center and the i-lab program have provided valuable access to experts in the biotechnology industry and top venture capitalists, as well as the recognition that helped us to fundraise successfully.

How have you been preparing for the competition?

We have been focusing on building up the strong scientific background that supports our work, as the rigorous science is the cornerstone of our approach. We also built a community of the top clinicians, experts in the respiratory microbiome, synthetic biologists, and bioengineers who believe in our mission.

What part of the NVC journey has been the most helpful for your team?

The NVC Tough Technology prize has been helpful both as a source of potential additional funding and a great source of feedback.

How did you go about creating your competition pitch? Do you have any advice for someone looking to create a pitch?

In terms of message delivered, it is important to communicate the what and why of the problem, how you are solving it, why you are in the right position to solve it, and how your solution brings the value.

We believe that the most effective way to communicate our ideas is to minimize the number of assumptions and conclusions required by that the reader or listener. Whenever we create a pitch we try to outline our assumptions and supporting evidence as clearly as possible so that it is intuitive why our business solves a very important problem and can become immensely valuable.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

One of my HBS professors taught me a very valuable quote, “The role of an entrepreneur is to reduce risk.” My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to think about how to reduce risk as much as they can, at every step, because by reducing the risk of the idea, they in fact create and increase the value of the business.

One of the absolutely fundamental things that you have to do as a founder is to pick a problem that you are obsessed with and deeply passionate about. There will be ups and downs on your entrepreneurial journey, especially in the beginning—you must believe that addressing the given challenge is so important that it is worth going through all of those challenges to solve the problem.

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