My Startup: Sparrho

Josh Peachey's picture
by Josh Peachey

Dr Vivian Chan is the Founder and CEO of Sparrho, a science discovery platform that blends AI with human curation to help people stay on top of science.

A self-described 'learning geek', she is passionate about entrepreneurship; after completing her biochemistry PhD at Cambridge University and working in venture capital, she founded Sparrho as a tool to help democratise access to science for people at every level of education across the world. In the Autumn of 2018, Vivian was named one of the UK's Top 100 BAME leaders in Technology by the FT and Inclusive Boards.

She has also had the honour of being named in the MIT Tech Review’s 35 Under 35 Innovators in 2017, and the Top five Asian Stars in UK Tech in 2018.

Founder: Dr Vivian Chan

Founded: 2013


We spoke to Vivian to find out more about her startup...

Dr Vivian Chan, Founder and CEO of Sparrho

Why did you start Sparrho?

The scientific community faces a crossroads. Sparrho sits at the nucleus of the intersection between science and technology, creating a platform that seeks to further provide accessibility and accountability across industry and geography.

I started Sparrho with one goal in mind - to create disruptive and impactful company simplifying access and making science more digestible for individuals and brands. Sparrho’s powerful platform, using augmented intelligence, reimagines the possibility of a new, improved and democratised scientific ecosystem. 

Tell us more about the company?

Sparrho has a grand vision – we want to democratise access to science. Bring facts and evidence at everyone’s doorstep, so that we look at our world with real empathy and not just through a windscreen of information. And early in our journey, we have realised that AI will work best when combined with humans. The hybrid nature or as we call it Augmented Intelligence, will pave the way for the future of AI.

Where’s the business at right now?

Our first phase was tricky, as we built our community of 130k+ scientists across the globe. With a strong foundation, we are now looking at the commercialisation. Our initial focus is on Life Sciences industry – we have seen a strong desire within Pharma companies to accelerate the process of summarising scientific knowledge. And we have also seen various healthTech companies using evidence to reach out to a better portion of their markets.

We are focusing on enabling these organisations through evidence-based marketing tools, and ensuring that they engage with their customers with more consistency and with more impact.
What are your aims for the next year?

To scale our platform driven solution with pharma and wellness companies. We are hoping to carry forward this success across Asian and European markets and cater to the Top-50 Pharma companies of the world.  
What’s been the hardest thing about getting Sparrho off the ground?

Choosing to be innovative means you've chosen to walk down a challenging path. Trying to communicate and convince investors and initial clients of our value hasn't been the most straightforward, especially when it hasn't been market tested before. Everyone understands the impact and importance of democratising science but to show how you can build an ethical and scalable business takes like-minded investors, clients, employees to build something magical together. 

Why should more companies be using Sparrho?

Sparrho is the global leader in democratising access to science. We have 60M+ research articles/patents aggregated. We index 50K+ unique data sources. We have 18K+ content curators (scientists, researchers, PhDs, teachers) across the globe. Sparrho’s platform hosts 155k+ curated collections and three-min digests.

Our offering for customers is coupled with robust analytics, which helps us read between the lines and help these organisations understand more about their consumers. Sparrho utilises existing digital channels which range from Email, Websites, CRM to the apps like WeChat, thus ensuring the flexibility needed for the last-mile engagement. The analytics complete the feedback loop for these customers, to help them create a sticky consumer base.

How much will it cost clients? and why is it worth it?

Our product subscription has a number of tiers, depending on the frequency of content, digital integrations, and complexity of analytics required. With Sparrho, we have seen a Global Top-10 Pharma company engage with 4x the HCPs than before. We have also witnessed a leading Cancer Research Institute improve its global reach by 200% by implementing Sparrho. And a luxury wellness brand is currently building thought leadership through Sparrho’s evidence-based content. These scenarios have shown an impact that we had previously only imagined.