Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Helping Others Find Their Roots

Frank Cardia, a New Jersey resident and entrepreneur, most recently launched Iron Edge VC, a venture that assists pre-IPO companies. One of the pre-IPOs Frank Cardia was involved with is 23 and Me, a genetics company that helps individuals trace their ancestry, genealogy, and inherited traits.

The company was one of the first to develop autosomal DNA testing, which would later become standard practice for other companies in this area. The innovation was so prized at the time that in 2006, two years after the company’s inception, it was named “Invention of the Year” by Time Magazine.

23 and Me provides its customers a kit containing a vial where they deposit some of their saliva. These kits can be purchased online or through brick-and-mortar establishments. After filling the vial with saliva, customers then register the container at a site online. The user then mails the vial to the company in a prepaid envelop and waits from three to five weeks for the results, which can be found online on a password-protected page.

For many, this innovation fills in the blanks to their identity. Some find themselves related to world-renowned personalities, others find themselves related to people of other races, and some find answers to questions regarding health conditions that might have a hereditary explanation. Finally, many connect with long-lost family members, some of whom may live only a few miles away.

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