First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Villjam Edström: We live our everyday lives. We do have some restrictions here in Sweden, but it mostly affects people working and living downtown. We live on an island near Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, called Ekerö (Oak island).
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Symbio Me.
Villjam Edström: I started my career as a software developer during the dot com era, and that’s when I started my first company. Since then, I’ve counted off numerous companies in very diverse industries. Everything from kitty litter boxes and helicopters to men’s fashion. Our company Symbio Me started as an idea to bring an enormous amount of science being done in the gut microbiome area and its effects on people’s health. It’s still in its infancy, but you really can improve your health by mapping our gut microbiota and trying to modulate it in a precise way. We will see this being integrated into the health care sector in the future when everything has matured a bit more.
How does Symbio Me innovate?
Villjam Edström: We are finding new associations between disease and the gut microbiota and bringing our customers’ insights. We are a very creative bunch, and most of the time, we secure our feet to the ground pretty hard not to over innovate.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Villjam Edström: In a very positive way. It raised the awareness of health in people, and since the microbiome of a person can be tied to the severeness of the disease, interest in our service exploded. We’re just happy that we can help.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Villjam Edström: No, not really. We have been working from home and ended our office contract. This saved us money without any negative consequences.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Villjam Edström: I have my family to lean on and like to go outside mountain biking or running during the weekends. I also do daily walks with our dog, Skilla.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Villjam Edström: We don’t have many competitors. The market is huge and far from saturation. We have seen that when any other competitor makes a marketing push, we sell way more. I guess it’s the same for them. So together, we work to raise awareness of the importance of your gut microbiota.
Your final thoughts?
Villjam Edström: Just that I’m grateful to feel happy and a longing to get to work each day and the excitement to read newly released studies in the area. It so fascinating, it’s scary!
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