Things are hella busy at 23andMe, the Mountain View startup that aims to help people learn more about their genes. Fresh off a $50 million funding round, the company in December slashed the price of its DNA kits to from $299 to $99, which CEO Anne Wojcicki tells me has led to a massive upsurge of interest. The company’s looking to swell its database to more than 1 million samples by the end of the year; that’s a tenfold increase from just two years ago.
The flurry of new interest sparked by the price cut (and by events like Angelina Jolie’s discovering she was at risk for breast cancer via a genetic screening) prompted Wojcicki, who previously was a healthcare investment analyst, to search for help keeping the trains running. On Tuesday, she announced that Andy Page, the former president of Gilt, has joined 23andMe in the same role.
“I realized we need real experienced management to hit that next level,” Wojcicki said. Page was already on 23andMe board’s, having joined up early last year, and has been an advisor to Wojcicki almost since the company’s founding in 2006. The introduction, she said, came from legendary investment banker Sandy Robertson, whom she says told her: “There’s no better strategic thinker.”
Page, who at the time was CFO of StubHub, and who later helped broker its sale to eBay for more than $300 million, has been looking for a new challenge since stepping down from Gilt a few months back. The 47-year-old had been commuting from San Francisco to Gilt’s New York headquarters, which he called “brutal,” especially with kids in the Bay Area.
It looks like Page will be in charge of virtually all of 23andMe’s day to day operations, including product and engineering, marketing, finance, business development and the ever-popular regulatory affairs. Wojcicki, for her part, will focus on the company’s research organization and strategy.
“I’ll be thinking about the long-term vision, speaking at conferences, helping to identify trends,” she said. “Figuring out what to do with all this data.” (Full disclosure: I knew Wojcicki in college, though not well enough to have been invited to her wedding to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.)
And, for those of you who may have been wondering — no, Page is not related to the search giant’s CEO, Larry.