WellnessFX Founder & CEO Jim Kean Talks Medical Entrepreneurialism, The Green-Tea Detox, and Fitness in the Workplace

WellnessFX Founder & CEO Jim Kean

WellnessFX Founder & CEO Jim Kean

A veteran of the finance, health, hospitality industries, fitness and wellness Jedi Jim Kean founded WellnessFX back in 2010. After starting Sapient in 1995, an early online health social community, his first company was acquired by WebMD in 1999. Personal achievements including hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada back in the summer of ’99. Jim has been a FoundersCard Member since 2012.

1. What inspired you to start WellnessFX?

I came up with a list of blood based biomarkers I wanted to measure and improve for my long-term health. A lot of them weren’t covered by my health plan and my MD refused to order them. The amount of effort I had to go through to complete this goal was mind boggling. WellnessFX has broken down these barriers for consumers.

2. What was the hardest part about getting WellnessFX off the ground?

Regulations. Literally every state in the US has different rules and requirements as to who is allowed to order and release diagnostics to consumers. Telehealth rules are equally complex. Secondly, persuading the industry and venture investors that consumers are interested in buying these services.

3. Some entrepreneurs devote so much time and energy to their work that they may neglect their personal health. What is your philosophy towards maintaining a strong work-health balance?

As the public face of the company, key part of my job is looking healthy. Generally when I meet someone they immediately check me out to see if I am “walking the walk.”  I have had to pay attention to staying fit, skin care, nutrition, and sleep. I try and work out or mobilize everyday.

4. Tell us a bit about WellnessFX’s overall objective, and how FoundersCard Members can benefit from its service.

Our goal is to make it easy and affordable for consumers to manage their health lives. WellnessFX is the 1st open digital marketplace that enables health consumers with “Smart” profile driven health accounts to efficiently buy services and goods starting with cutting edge diagnostics and telehealth services.

5. What are some small things people can do to remain conscious of their health while at work?

Inactivity kills, yet workplaces are designed to keep you immobile. The biggest thing to consider is going to a standing desk. Sitting for prolonged periods of time is really unhealthy. Introducing movement into your day has huge implications for your metabolism and body structure. Secondly, if your company has a kitchen, see about influencing the food choices to be organic and healthy. Keep the carbs down.

6. How much can an individual learn about their health through blood testing?

70% of the info you need to understand your current level of health is in a high quality blood test. Everyone is biologically different so this means that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. The other important aspect of how you work to remember is that you turn your blood cells over every 100 days. Your biology is enormously plastic and responsive. A blood test can highlight what areas you need to address with nutrition and lifestyle. A retest four months later can tell you where you are and what is working or not. If the service is affordable and convenience is high, like the WellnessFX service, then it makes sense to periodically check in.

 

WellnessFX’s application helps individuals understand their health with blood test analytics.

We actually make the results quite understandable. We convert incomprehensible numbers into easy to read graphics with descriptions that you can access via your iPhone, iPad, or desktop. If you are trying to make sense of your results, you can always go into our health practitioner directory and choose a professional that you would like to have look at your results and have a phone call with.

8. Juice cleanses have increased in popularity over the past few years. What is your taking on juice cleansing?

I am not a big juicer fan. I think it is a lot of marketing wrapped up in a poor understanding of nutrition. Drinking juice is really fairly equivalent to drinking soda from a glycemic loading stand point. It makes no sense to essentially separate out the sugar in a fruit from the fiber and other parts that have profound health benefits. I’m OK doing this with leafy green veggies as they have low sugar content. However, from my experience, most people don’t like things that aren’t sweet and generally don’t do this kind of juicing. As far as cleansing goes, I periodically will fast for a day or two and drink green tea during that time. This evokes a famine scenario biologically within the body. The body will go through and select the weakest cells in your system and consume them. It is kind of like spring cleaning.

9. Outside of WellnessFX, what sort of other projects are you working on?

I am an avid skier and alpine backcountry fan. I also complete in Crossfit competitions. I am really trying to improve my Olympic lifting techniques. Lastly, I have 3 great kids and a wife that I really enjoy spending time with.

10. How many days a month (or year) do you spend traveling, and how do you stay healthy when on the go?

I travel probably 6-8 days a month. Less than two hour flights. I try to carry healthy foods with me as the selections in airports and planes is terrible. Lots of sitting involved so I will do a lot of mobilization to counteract being in a seated position for long periods of time. Have started carrying small cylinder of pure oxygen to give myself a shot during flights. Stay hydrated.

11. What is the hardest part about your job on a day-to-day basis?

In this day and age company leaders get hit on all sides by people who want a portion of your attention. Our company has a ton of opportunities offered up to it. The hardest aspect of my job is to manage the flow and sort out which ones are true opportunities to grow our business. Also, having time to read and reflect is quite a challenge. It is too easy to come to work and react to incoming. With that model you quickly lose perspective.

12. Whom do you admire?

I admired Ernest Shackleton and his remarkable escape from the Antarctica in the early 1900s. Amazing leadership under awful conditions.

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