HomeScienceGeneticsEntrepreneur Cathy Tie says starting a business is "an art."

Entrepreneur Cathy Tie says starting a business is “an art.”

Cathy Tie would consider herself an artist. But not the oil on canvas type.

Born in Toronto, Canada, the 26-year-old co-founded her first company, Ranomics, at age 18. provides health risk predictions based on people’s genetic data and has now raised over $1 million, according to Crunchbase. She founded her second company, Locke bioa “Shopify” for pharmaceutical and other companies selling FDA-approved drugs, at 23.

For Tie, art and creativity aren’t exactly as on-the-nose as writing in iambic pentameter or dancing at Lincoln Center. It’s about seeing the big picture in the different industries she’s part of and “being able to be interdisciplinary and bring together concepts from different industries,’ she says.

“I’ve always loved putting ideas together and seeing connections that other people don’t see,” she says, like figuring out how science can advance in the world of startups and building business models accordingly. “That’s, I think, more of an artful and creative process than anything that’s technical.”

Here is how the entrepreneurnow based in Los Angeles, she leaned into her creative, broad thinking to find success in fields like technology and science.

Tie unsolicitedly emailed professors at the age of 14

Tie started learning about her industries at the very beginning of her high school years.

“I’ve always loved science, especially biology and chemistry, and loved hands-on building, ever since I was a very young child,” she says. But she noticed that the science curricula they were taught at school didn’t include much hands-on learning. Instead, it was much remembered from textbooks.

Always a big thinker, it was in her freshman year of high school that Tie decided to cold-email University of Toronto professors to see if they would let her spend time in their labs, do some research, and help them with a project here and there.

Her work at the university led her to publish her first paper at the age of 16 in a peer-reviewed journal in the field of immunology, which deals with the human immune system.

It also made her realize: “In research, especially in academia, you are tied to a system of academic grants,” she says. That is, if she wanted to continue doing research in that world, she would be limited. But getting funding as an entrepreneur would give her the freedom to do whatever kind of research she wanted.

She was accepted into programs for young entrepreneurs

As Tie started connecting the dots that the way she wanted to make an impact was through the startup world, she also started signing up for programs that could help her make this concept a reality.

Tie had the basic idea for Ranomics, a way to solve some of the problems companies like 23andMe faced with the accuracy of their genetic tests, by the time she was a freshman at the University of Toronto. She met co-founder Leo Wan, a Ph.D. student at the university, through a startup competition, and the two were eventually accepted into IndieBio, a startup program that provides funding and guidance to science entrepreneurs.

Tie eventually dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco to take the opportunity and became CEO of Ranomics for the first three years. She was also invited to apply and then stepped in The Thiel Fellowship, which gives young entrepreneurs who skip or drop out of college a $100,000 scholarship directly (not to their company) over the course of two years.

“Building Ranomics, I learned so much about startups, selling to pharma, how to build a profitable business,” she says. All this would come into play in her subsequent ventures.

Launch Shopify for pharma

“If you don’t have time to think, you don’t really see the bigger picture”

Tie is excited about the future of Locke Bio and the various product expansions she and her team are planning. But the success of the company and all the success that preceded it did not come without obstacles.

“I think very early on in my career I was kicking the gas really hard and working those hard hours, like 100 hours a week,” she says. But, “I realized that was unsustainable because if you don’t have time to think, you don’t really see the bigger picture.”

That’s where that artist mentality came into play.

“Just like artists would make music, inspiration comes at any time of the day. It could be 2am, it could also be when you’re showering,” she says. But she needs to make time for those free hours when ideas can run wild.

These days she turns those long days into weeks when necessary, but otherwise Tie makes sure he works at least a few days. Weeks of 40 hours to get to that free time.

“It’s about taking those sprints, working really hard if you have to, and then being able to reflect on all the things I’ve learned,” she says.

Checking out:

How surviving cancer changed this 34-year-old’s attitude to work: ‘The concept of checking email was laughable’

This 28-Year-Old Made 6 Figures As Vice President At Goldman Sachs — Here’s Why She Quit Writing Novels

The One Thing Every Entrepreneur Should Spend On, According to This 30-Year-Old Entrepreneur: ‘It’s Worth Every Penny’

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2022-10-11 | NDAQ:FLGT | Press release


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