Sometimes startup success comes from heartache.

For Jeff Ruby, founder of MaRS client Newtopia, the idea to start a business came from a tragic loss. Jeff’s father was diagnosed with cancer in his fifties. When he asked the doctor about the cause, the doctor said it was a result of his “lifestyle.” Jeff’s father passed away a few years later. It was at this point that Jeff realized that he had no plan for how he intended to stay healthy himself.

He needed a lifestyleplan.

In 2008, Jeff founded Newtopia, a personalized health company that leverages genetic testing and behavioural science to help users to make the right lifestyle decisions and live healthier lives.

A MaRS client since 2011, Newtopia offers programs that are designed specifically for each client by a team of specialists. The company uses genetic testing to help customize a user’s diet and exercise plan, while one-on-one coaching and online tools help the user to stay on track. The company successfully closed a $1.1 million round of angel funding last year and now it’s continuing to gain traction with corporations to provide corporate wellness programs.

At the heart of Newtopia is Jeff’s strong belief in helping people to lead healthier lifestyles, thereby reducing the need for doctor’s visits. In 2013, healthcare spending in Canada exceeded $211 billion or $5,988 per person. Newtopia’s programs are targeted at individuals who are at risk of developing a chronic disease or who already have a chronic disease. Through Newtopia’s personalized plans, users can achieve lasting positive health outcomes that will help lessen the amount of medical care needed later on in life.

Watch Jeff’s story below to learn more about his entrepreneurial journey and his top four tips for budding entrepreneurs.

Jelena Djurkic

Jelena Djurkic was the Senior Associate, Content Marketing at MaRS. Follow her on Twitter @jdjurkic. See more…