In 2010, Alex Furman co-founded Invitae, one of the fastest growing genetic testing companies. Invitae’s mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medicine to improve healthcare. The company is executing a novel business model focused on reducing the cost of genetic testing and making it affordable and accessible to all in order to help usher in the era of genetic medicine.
Alex came to the U.S. as a refugee fleeing the former Soviet Union in 1991. A born and bred programmer, he wrote his first piece of code at age nine and ultimately dropped out of college to pursue software development opportunities. For Invitae, Alex initially worked on software development and bioinformatics, but as the company experienced explosive growth and recognized the role their unique culture played in their success, he shifted his focus to managing people analytics and organizational development. He currently leads the company’s efforts to create a collaborative culture that delivers innovation at scale.
To do the fast-paced, disruptive technological and scientific work Invitae does, their focus from inception was to create a culture that fostered innovation, rewarded true teamwork and offered people the freedom to create their own path. To enable collaboration, they designed an org structure that would shift the traditional power dynamic and avoid corporate politics by forgoing unnecessary processes, levels and structure. In fact, Invitae doesn’t have departmental budgets or a traditional org chart and our job titles don’t convey status, but describe the type of work employees do.
Recognizing the value of data-driven talent management and opportunity to broadly apply innovation across the organization, Alex drew upon his expertise in software, to develop a people analytics tool, ORG1, which now supports nearly 1,000 employees. Built around a sophisticated analytical engine that tracks how employees work together on a daily-basis, ORG1 uses real-time, peer feedback from employee’s closest colleagues without consideration for reporting relationships or seniority.
Alex is a Board Observer for Supply Shift, which helps businesses create more ethical, transparent and responsible supply chains. Prior to founding Invitae, Alex led software engineering at Navigenics, overseeing the design and implementation of the company’s technology platform. Alex also has experience developing automated trading systems and financial planning software.