Navigating a global journey to health tech innovation: The story of Martyn Strydom

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In the dynamic world of health tech, few stories are as notable as that of Martyn Strydom, an entrepreneur who has navigated diverse environments, overcome challenges, and seized emerging opportunities. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Martyn’s journey is a testament to resilience, adaptability, and the pursuit of innovation. This article explores his career journey, the challenges he faced, his future aspirations, and advice for aspiring professionals.

From Johannesburg to New York: A journey of growth and discovery

Martyn Strydom’s journey began in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2015, at the age of 18, he moved to Hong Kong for college, embracing a new culture and educational environment. In 2017, he transitioned to Columbia University in New York as part of a dual degree program. After graduating from Columbia in 2019, Martyn embarked on a career in finance with Deutsche Bank in New York, gaining valuable experience in a fast-paced industry.

In 2021, a pivotal career shift led him to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he focused on healthcare, particularly biotech and biopharma. This role ignited his passion for the intersection of healthcare and technology, setting the stage for future endeavors.

Navigating challenges across continents

In 2022, Martyn’s journey took him to Nigeria, where he worked with some of Africa’s most promising health tech startups. His role involved building a pan-African health tech accelerator and supporting startups with go-to-market strategies. This experience was not without its challenges. Conducting healthcare research on the outskirts of Lagos often led to suspicion and even threats. Despite these obstacles, Martyn developed resilience and tenacity that helps him cope with any challenges life throws at him.

One memorable experience involved being chased out of a pharmacy while attempting to interview pharmacists about their operations and finances. Reflecting on these moments, he now finds it easy to approach strangers in New York or San Francisco to promote his health app. This resilience has been a cornerstone of his success, enabling him to thrive in any environment.

A vision for the future: Connecting the dots in health and AI

Returning to New York in early 2024, Martyn is leveraging his expertise and experience across healthcare and AI to launch his own startup, Dots. Dots aims to make data from consumer fitness wearables, such as the Apple Watch, incredibly useful, which it isn’t today. By connecting the dots between different health and life data, Dots offers proactive, actionable and highly personalized recommendations to users.

Martyn’s vision is driven by the convergence of three major trends: increasing interest in wellness, the growing prevalence of wearables, and the new wave of AI. He believes that these trends create the potential for a powerful AI health and wellness companion that unlocks the value of personal health data. He is excited to tackle this challenge, building a company in a space he is passionate about and seeing the positive impact it can have on people’s lives.

Advice for aspiring professionals

Drawing from his extensive experience, Martyn shares valuable advice for young professionals looking to build a successful international career.

Understand your mind

He emphasizes the critical importance of understanding one’s own mind as crucial for happiness and success. He uses this deep understanding of his own mind as the primary filter for accepting advice or making decisions. Specifically, he notes that following advice from someone with a different risk tolerance could lead you down the wrong path.

Keep exploring new interests

He highlights the importance of constantly exploring new interests. Despite being an economics major in college, he developed a passion for biology post-graduation and generative AI since its boom in 2022. He committed to studying these topics day and night which led to unique opportunities across biotech and health tech and the launch of several AI mobile apps.

Embrace luck

Lastly, he underscores the role of luck in any success. While hard work and resilience are essential, being lucky can significantly impact one’s life.

The journey of Martyn Strydom is a notable example of how resilience, adaptability, and a passion for innovation can lead to success in the dynamic world of entrepreneurship. From Johannesburg to New York to San Franciso, his experiences across diverse environments have shaped his vision for a future where AI and wearable technology revolutionize personal health and wellness. For aspiring professionals, his story offers invaluable lessons on exploring new interests, understanding the mind, and embracing luck on the path to success.

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