Exclusive Interview of Natalise Kalea of Parallel Health. Edited by Powered Magazine
In our exclusive interview, we dive into the extraordinary journey of Natalise Kalea Robinson. From her early inspirations to the founding of Parallel Health, Natalise shares her insights, challenges, and profound experiences that have shaped her into the visionary leader she is today.
Tell Us About Yourself And Your Business.
My name is Natalise Kalea Robinson, and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Parallel Health. Parallel is a precision health company currently focused on skin and dermatology. In a world where personal care, skincare, and even healthcare is not personalized, we believe the future is precision.
In the realm of skin, we believe that personalization can be accessed via the skin microbiome – an ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. that tells us a lot about our health. When our skin microbiome is in harmonious balance, we age better and have fewer skin issues. However, when there is an overgrowth of one type of microbe, we can experience accelerated aging, acne, eczema, rosacea, and a whole host of other issues.
At Parallel, we’ve developed a best-in-class skin microbiome test using the highest precision technology. And then we offer custom active phage serums (phages are microbes that infect bacteria) to specifically target bad bacteria and leave the good bacteria alone (unlike antibiotics). We also have in-house dermatologists who can offer personalised prescriptions for acne, rosacea, melasma, and aging for those who qualify.
In the future, we will be expanding into various segments, enabled by our discovery platform.
What were your biggest challenges when starting your business?
The biggest challenge in the microbiome space is getting a foundational database that is clean, robust, and accurate. The microbiome is inherently a big data challenge. So the first thing we did when we started Parallel was join the Illumina Accelerator. With their support, we were able to amass the largest database on the skin microbiome to date using whole genome sequencing.
How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career?
1) Resilience is essential because failure is inevitable.
2) While success should be celebrated, it's important to avoid becoming complacent.
What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market?
"Follow the data" is one of our catchphrases. We base our decisions on our sequencing data and science, and we combine that understanding with clinical understanding, consumer research, and clinical insight. We think we can maintain our competitive edge in the market by being completely in tune with science and our audience.
What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity?
Our main goal is to enable people to live their best lives. We merely want to assist you in optimizing authentically; we are not attempting to change who you are. The desire to improve people's lives is what motivates us to move forward.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field?
Don't analyze too much at first. Execute and remain dedicated to learning. After that, you can keep improving and iterating.
How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture?
We can comprehend the skin microbiome and find novel targeted phage and microbial actives thanks to advancements in genomic sequencing. With “startup” capital ten years ago, we would not have been able to operate at this level.
In what ways has customer feedback or response influenced how you prioritise goals or objectives for your business or venture?
Customer feedback is crucial to what we do. If people don't care, it doesn't matter what you build.
What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development?
I get to interact with a lot of pioneers in the field of skin health thanks to my position at Parallel. Compiled in the last few months are my latest takeaways for the future of skincare:
Personalization and Precision: An increase in personalization will result from improvements in our understanding of the skin's microbiome. With our Skin Microbiome Discovery Kit, Odor Microbiome Kit, and (soon to be released) Body Blemish Kit, Parallel is leading the way in this movement. People are better able to select the ideal products for them thanks to this thorough understanding.
Sustainability: There is an increase in refillable and ethically sourced packaging due to the growing demand for environmentally friendly skincare. For an example of how Parallel is utilizing refillable technology, look at our Custom Active Phage Serum.
Inclusivity: Future consumers will expect brands to be aware of and respectful of diversity, offering products that take into account differences in gender, age, ethnicity, and other factors. At Parallel, we think that since each of us is unique, so should the products we create.
Integration of Health and Wellness: Skincare benefits your overall health and wellbeing in addition to its cosmetic benefits. As more people become aware of the connection between skin health and mental health, diet, exercise, and sleep, this all-encompassing perspective is likely to continue to influence the industry, including Parallel.
Continued Technological Innovation: The use of AI in skincare is likely to grow as analysis becomes more complex. Therefore, skin guidance will become even more accurate and reliable as Parallel develops.
I'm enthusiastic about what this future holds for all of us as citizens. Greater effectiveness, less waste, and better experiences for all are made possible by increased personalization, sustainability, inclusivity, holistic integration, and AI technology.
What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path?
You have to wear many hats, especially if you work in the startup industry. With little time and money, it's very challenging to execute at a high level, but you have to make it work, so it's a never-ending struggle. But that also pays off. Every day, you get the chance to change the world. I'm also incredibly appreciative of being able to assemble a group of smart, talented people. Building a team culture that promotes not only productivity but also health and happiness is important because, at a startup, you frequently spend more time with your coworkers than your family or spouse.
Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field?
Our vision at Parallel is very broad, so we require expertise in a wide range of fields. We are constantly on the lookout for qualified individuals, particularly in the fields of microbiology, bioinformatics, data science, bioengineering, dermatology, infectious diseases, materials science, chemistry, formulation, marketing, business development, operations, and commercialization.
How has working remotely or online impacted your business or venture over the past year?
It allows us to move more quickly and hire talent from all over the world. Additionally, it has also enabled us to reduce overhead costs associated with maintaining a physical office space and travel expenses for meetings and conferences. However, we have had to adapt to new communication tools and strategies to ensure effective collaboration among team members.
What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers or businesses further?
1) Never believe someone who tells you that you can't do something.
2) Invest in sincere interpersonal and professional connections
3. Embrace rejection and use it as motivation.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed?
Visit www.parallelhealth.io/waitlist to join our waitlist if you're interested in learning more about your skin. You can benefit from a complimentary one-on-one consultation with one of our doctors, as well as special offers on customized skincare.