Kunal Kalro: from corporate life to founding digital genetics startup, Eugene.
Kunal was eager to become untethered from the traditional career pathways in life and give himself a real shot at upward mobility. He founded Eugene, a digital genetics and health service, in 2017.
Short Cuts is an interview series in which Upside participants and faculty answer eight quick questions about their background, ambitions, and the superpower they’ve always wanted.
Kunal’s early work experience included time working as a consultant for the Big 4.
When he was 22, three aspects of life aligned for him to become a founder: a desire to live in South America; the realisation that wandering aimlessly through South America would cause more problems than it was worth as his parents, who he describes with a wink as “very Indian,” were looking for a return on their investment in his education; and a keen interest in startups as a pathway out of corporate/consulting life.
The upshot of this was that he moved to Chile and started a company, very excited by the opportunity and everything that he could learn.
He was eager to become untethered from the traditional career pathways in life and give himself a real shot at upward mobility.
Kunal founded Eugene, a digital genetics and health service, in 2017. He currently lives in Melbourne with a couple of friends.
Kunal, who did you look up to when you were younger?
My sister, cousin, and family friends who managed to move and create a life for themselves in the US.
And who do you look up to now?
(Bill) Gates for using wealth as social and political capital to drive meaningful global change, and the Obamas for overcoming impossible odds with their dignity, grace, and authenticity to become stronger than ever before.
Tell us about the most valuable life lesson you’ve learned so far.
Cultivating a deep sense of belonging and connection to ourselves, our ancestors, our communities, and the earth itself is the source of the strength we need to take on the biggest problems we face as a species.
Describe what success looks like to you.
It's a journey, not a destination. It’s doing the work and creating meaningful change in the world while building your capacity to take on bigger and bigger challenges.
Tell us about something that you’re curious about at the moment.
Is there such a thing as a hippie capitalist?!
Also, how to remain grounded while keeping yourself open to outside inputs in an increasingly noisy world.
What brings you joy?
Dancing, music, travel, Burning Man, and festival vibes.
Deep chats interspersed with witty banter.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Open, energetic, participative, and purpose-driven. Also, I tend to be pretty happy to adapt according to what the situation demands.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
We’re all a work in progress.
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