A Haitian student at Penn State College of Medicine was on national television Sunday night pitching his company to five titans of industry on Shark Tank. The young scientist strike a deal with Mark Cuban to support his breakthrough medical research
Olivier Noel, 29, is the CEO and founder of DNA Simple.
The company streamlines the genetics research process. People can fill out information about themselves online. Then, if a researcher is interested in their DNA, the donor is sent a kit, they swab their cheek, and send in the sample. They are then compensated $50.
The 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 recipient beat out thousands of other companies in order to appear on Shark Tank. On the show, Noel explains how it works while asking the sharks to invest $100,000 in exchange for a 12.5 percent stake in the company.
Here’s how it works: First, people go on the company’s website to upload a bit of information about themselves, like age, height and medical history. Then the person is matched with researchers who may be interested in their DNA. If researchers choose you, a collection kit with a plastic tube is sent, the donor swabs their cheek, sends the sample in and collects $50. And according to the company, the whole process is anonymous.
Noel who is currently studying at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine for an M.D. and Ph.D.explains,
“I grew up in Haiti, but in Haiti, we had the earthquake,” he says. “So, after high school, I moved to New York because I had a lot of family there, and that is where opportunities took me.”
“I worked up to five jobs in college majoring in chemistry and biochemistry and graduated with honors,” he explains on the show. “I tutored French, Spanish, math, chemistry and biology to private students. I was selling bags and watches at Fossil, and I was working also next door selling jeans and shirts at American Eagle.”
During his pitch, the idea struck a cord with both billionaire investors Richard Branson and Mark Cuban.
Branson offered $100,000 for 25 percent, Cuban offered $200,000 for 20 percent with another condition: “I’ll make you an offer, but I want you to say yes or no right now.”
Noel quickly made Cuban a counter offer, asking for the $200,000 for 15 percent.
In the end, Mark Cuban agreed to invest $200,000 into DNA Simple, in exchange for 15 percent of the company.
Learn more about the DNA Simple here.