Two startup teams with roots at Johns Hopkins University—Osmosis and Healthify—were recently named to the 2018 Forbes "30 Under 30" list of young entrepreneurs and early career professionals making a significant mark on the world. They join four other Hopkins alums who were included on the list this year.
The list features 600 people under the age of 30 who are making great strides in 20 different industries.
"Selecting these youthful visionaries is a year-round obsession," the list editors write in their introduction. "We vet thousands of nominations, leaning on the collective wisdom of our online community, ace reporters, and a panel of A-list judges. Now in our seventh year, with a 4,000-strong alumni network that spans the globe, this list continues to spotlight the impressive, the inspiring and the (genuinely) enviable."
Shiv Gaglani was recognized as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in the education industry. A pre-clinical student in the School of Medicine currently on leave to co-lead the startup Osmosis, Gaglani and co-founder Ryan Haynes met as med students in an anatomy course in the fall of 2011. They began thinking about better ways of learning medicine, and together built Osmosis, a tool that helps students in the medical and health professions curate and manage their studies. Osmosis includes personalized quizzes, study guides, exam prep tools, a library resource of more than 1,500 curated pathophysiology and patient videos, and tens of thousands of practice questions and reference articles.
"We didn't start Osmosis to create a company; we started it to solve a problem that we faced as students," Gaglani says. "Being students as well as entrepreneurs gave us a lot of insight, because we were building something for ourselves and our classmates."
Gaglani says he and Haynes had to pick up the business knowledge along the way to make their model successful. Since taking leave from med school to focus on Osmosis, he says the company has grown five-fold, and they have since expanded into the field of open access content, releasing more than 350 free animated videos explaining various diseases and conditions under the umbrella of Open Osmosis. Through partnerships with health organizations like Kaiser Permanente and Rush Medical College, the team has been developing visual and comprehensive explanations for medical topics most commonly searched for on Wikipedia and requested by Osmosis users.
"We've been partnering with organizations to create content that can be provided to students, patients, and clinicians alike," Gaglani says. "With that goal comes an emphasis on internationalization—we want to provide accessible and translated content to frontline health workers around the world."
Gaglani says being named to the Forbes list is a great honor for his company.
"This is more of an award for the company than for me—there's no way I would've been able to do any of this without the team," he said.
A four-person team of Hopkins alumni behind the startup Healthify was named to the Forbes list in the health care category.,
Healthify—which aims to help health care organizations connect patients to social services, community organizations, and government benefits—is the brainchild of Manik Bhat, who graduated from Hopkins with a bachelor's degree in molecular and cellular biology in 2012. The startup ensures that health care teams—including social workers and community health workers—can locate and connect at-risk patients to services like affordable housing, food, and childcare. By building a platform that helps patients access these services, Healthify addresses the social determinants of health: the non-medical factors that affect a person's health and well being.
The idea grew out of Bhat's experience as a student working with low-income families in Baltimore.
"Manik was part of a community volunteering program at Hopkins, and he witnessed firsthand the difficulty of connecting low-income patients to social services," says Daniel Levenson, a founding member of Healthify who graduated with a bachelor's degree in engineering in 2014. "The idea for a technology-enabled solution came from him, and I used my background in engineering and computer science to help develop the first iterations of the product."
Alex Villa, a 2012 graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering, manages operations for the team, and Eric Conner, who received his bachelor's and master's degrees in history in 2012, heads sales. Since incorporating in September 2013, the startup has grown to employ 45 people.
The team has won support from startup accelerators and business competitions over the years, including New York City accelerator Blueprint Health, the InvestMaryland Challenge, and the Johns Hopkins Business Plan Competition.
"Startups are a lot like roller coasters," Levenson says. "It's great to be recognized on a list like the Forbes 30 Under 30, but it's also very humbling. It doesn't change much about the day-to-day, but it's important to be able to increase visibility of the problem we're seeking to solve."