Healthtech startup Forth was founded in 2016 by CEO Sarah Bolt with an ambition to help users optimise their health through biomarker tracking.
Three years on with a team now 7 strong, we got the chance to ask SETsquared Bristol alum, Sarah, our 10 questions.
1 – In your own words – what do you do?
To put it simply, I help people take control of their own health. On a day to day, I’m the Founder and CEO of Forth, an innovative biomarker tracking service that seeks to optimise the user’s health by providing scientific data on your body using biological samples, such as blood. That involves a lot of hands-on managing and strategy planning as this is a fast growing sector. My overall aim is to create a product and service that has an impact on people’s health by nudging them towards better health behaviours.
2 – What’s the most exciting thing about what you’re doing?
I still find everyday exciting. We’ve got so many ideas about how to build on what we have already created. We are focused on demystifying the human body for our customers so they find it easier to be and remain healthy. We’re at the very start of a revolution in healthcare and have established ourselves as one of the leaders in our particular sector. In June we were the first company of our kind to launch an app and we’ll be adding new functionality to this in the coming months.
3 – What are you most proud of so far?
Undoubtedly it has to be not only turning an idea into a business but developing a business which is capable of having a social impact and which our customers love (rated 4.8/5 on Trust Pilot). Forth was borne out of a passion to help people live healthier lives. It would have been so easy not to have followed through on the initial idea. I think my passion and my tenacity definitely helped me get through the difficult times and that is something which I am proud of.
4 – What have you found most difficult about being a startup?
Almost every startup will tell you the same…..investment…..investment……investment. It’s a nightmare. Not only that but in 2016 when we were initially looking for investment to launch our service, there weren’t companies like Forth around so many investors just didn’t believe that a market for our service existed. I, however, had been a strategy planner in healthcare for a number of years and knew that healthcare was changing and this was going to be a new growth market.
5 – What would you do differently if you started now?
Ideally, we would raise money faster by reaching out to more contacts in the investment world. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but at the time we knew nothing about the investment world and had little introductions to High-Net-Worths. And definitely be BIGGER and BOLDER. I’m sure the second time around will be a lot easier!
6 – Where do you think you’ll be in 12 months?
We continue to grow every month with last month being our best month to date. Over the next 12 months, we aim to double down on our growth by raising more investment which will help up to reinforce our team and accelerate both our customer acquisition and the expansion of our technology platform. On a personal front, I’d like to start helping other female founders on their own start-up journey by being a mentor.
7 – What tools/people/services/organisations from the cluster have helped you most?
Our membership at SETsquared was definitely invaluable in the early stages when I didn’t have a clue what an investment deck even looked like. Even now I dip back into their workshops, in fact, I attended one just the other week on share option schemes.
8 – What’s the best thing about the Bristol & Bath tech cluster?
I guess it’s the feeling that ‘we are in this together’. There is such a growth in tech and healthcare in the area, it is an exciting region to be part of. I was reading just the other day that Elvie, the femtech company based in London who have raised the biggest investment in the femtech space in the world, is moving its R&D to Bristol. It’s a huge affirmation of Bristol as an influential tech hub.
9 – Who will you be nominating for a SPARKie next year?
Gosh, I’m not sure at this point, there are a lot of categories and lots of great companies (and people) out there. It’s a while off yet so let’s see who stands out or who launches over the next six months.
10 – Where can we find out more about you?
Check out our website and follow us on social! The handle is the same for everything: @forthwithlife. You’ll find lots of information about biomarkers and tips for healthier eating on our blog. If you’re an athlete (recreational or professional) check out our service for performance service Forth Edge.
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