Helen Marsden and Alun Hindle speak to AGENT about the Medichecks story to date.
Helen Marsden and Alun Hindle are a married couple at the head of Medichecks, the successful UK-based direct-to-consumer health testing company.
Helen Marsden and Alun Hindle, respectively the CCO and CEO of Medichecks, are one of the more unusual entrepreneurial pairings to have featured on AGENT, in that they’re a life partnership as well as a successful business one.
Prior to the foundation of Medichecks in 2002, Helen Marsden worked in business development in the City of London. She had a passion for health and an interest in the home blood-testing—popular in the US but almost non-existent in Britain—and encouraged her family business to purchase Medichecks, a small business selling blood tests online. When Medichecks began to take off, Helen persuaded her husband Alun Hindle, a City investment manager, to join Medichecks as CEO.
Today, Medichecks is a fully-fledged, direct-to-consumer health testing company, selling more than 1,200 different blood tests and health tests online. The tests are sent to one of the UK’s foremost, state-of-the-art accredited laboratories in the heart of London’s medical district, meaning that company clients can be confident of accurate, reliable results.
Medichecks aims to provide affordable, convenient, confidential, and accurate health screening to individuals who need to understand their own health issues and do not want to wait for important test results. The Medichecks tests also assist people who wish to know whether their fitness and wellbeing regimes are having the desired results.
Helen and Alun recently spoke with AGENT and told us more about the story of Medichecks so far, where they see the company going in the future, and their experience of striking a balance between life and work as a married couple at the head of a successful business.
Tell us what your business is about, and describe your business goals.
Alun: Medichecks is a direct-to-consumer health testing company. We sell blood tests and health checks online, making the process easy, affordable, and accessible to everyone, wherever they are in the country.
We sell over 1,200 different tests from single biomarkers, for, say, testosterone or vitamin D, to comprehensive profiles, which cover all of the body’s main organs including heart, liver, and kidneys, as well as nutritional status and hormones.
All of our tests are sent to fully accredited laboratories and many can be conducted at home using a finger-prick sample collection method. Results are made available online on a visual dashboard with comments from our team of doctors.
People love our service for the convenience it provides – no need for time off work for doctor’s appointments – just a simple test that you can do at home and post to the laboratory.
Our business goal is to be the household name for home health testing. The market is growing quickly as more and more digital providers of all forms of health care come into the market.
Whether you want to talk to a doctor, get a prescription, or have a blood test, you can now do it all without leaving the comfort of your own home – technology is delivering a revolution in health care and we are very much part of that movement.
What is your background? When did you decide on a career in business, and why?
Helen: My background is the City. I spent the first part of my career helping grow investment management companies in business development roles. But ever since I can remember I’ve had a fascination with health. I read everything there was to read, much of which came from the US, where they were always sending people off to have their bloodwork done.
I was in the UK and wanted my bloodwork done too. But how? There lies the germ of an idea! I left the City and persuaded my family business to buy Medichecks, a fledgling company selling blood tests online. The rest, as they say, is history.
Alun: My background is also in the City and is in fact where I met Helen — we both worked for the same company. However, I soon branched out to other things, joining Virgin as an investment manager, which gave me great exposure to the whole stable of Virgin businesses.
I was part of a team that led Virgin’s entry into Formula 1, and I remained with the team in its various guises until my wife poached me to come to Medichecks! Why was I interested? I love taking a business from small to big. We built a Formula 1 team in less than a year. My job as CEO of Medichecks is to scale the business while making sure we still deliver excellence and reliability in all aspects of what we do.
What gives you the most satisfaction in your business?
Helen: For me, it’s definitely seeing the concept of blood tests as a consumer product gain acceptance. People are ready to take control of their own health now, whereas even a few years ago many people wouldn’t dream of taking a health check without going through their doctor. There has been a real shift to patient power – and it’s still in its infancy.
Alun: For me, it’s the satisfaction of seeing the team grow – developing our home-grown talent, as well finding smart people who can bring something new to the business