Ep. 6, Featuring Lora Ivanova from MyLAB Box

The XWP Tonight Show — Season 1, Ep. 6, Featuring Lora Ivanova of MyLAB Box

In this episode of the XWP Tonight Show, Amit Sion sits down with Lora Ivanova of MyLAB Box. As the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading, MyLAB Box collaborated with XWP and WordPress VIP to help improve their site as they launched their new brand and at-home health testing kit. Learn more about MyLAB Box and see our work in action here.

Transcript:

Amit

We’re all at home, locked away from the world, but need to ensure that we stay healthy. MyLAB Box provides at-home tests for wellness, nutrition, fertility, STDs, and more. Even COVID-19 tests. My guest tonight is the founder and CEO, Lora Ivanova.

[Intro voice]

Coming to you live from the  virtual WordPress theater, this is the XWP Tonight Show . 

Amit

XWP started working with MyLAB Box earlier this year, when COVID-19 really hit the world. There wasn’t enough access for Americans to get tested, and I remember I was speaking with the rest of the XWP executive. And we wanted to see if there was something that we could do to assist. And I’m sure that’s where you were seeing it as well with your business. With this worldwide pandemic, how has COVID-19 affected your business?

Lora

The pandemic was a wake up call, I think for a lot of companies, not only businesses in health care, but I think in a way a much needed wake up call about the rate at which our systems have become outdated and no longer serving our core needs in some cases. We started MyLAB Box a few years back and quickly became the first fully nationwide at-home testing service for sexual health and also became the first nationwide testing to treatment service by incorporating complementary physician consultations for any positives.

So we had this really unprecedented and unique experience and perspective of infectious disease. And really, one of our founding principles was the idea that in order to stop a pandemic, or an epidemic, which is ultimately what, for example, STI’s have become, you need to diagnose and treat faster than the infection can spread. And we just have not been able to do this with conventional methods. I think COVID very much like STI’s oddly enough, has been another proof for this concept. And the fact that making testing not only convenient and affordable but also more accessible to a wider audience is really the only way to get more people to go through the process. And your awareness is your first step towards healing or towards prevention. Without that there’s really nothing, no solution to the crises. So we felt and found ourselves in a unique position to deploy our knowledge base and our expertise into this infectious disease space when the COVID pandemic first became known, and we were actually the first test I believe, company to consumerize at-home saliva testing.

So for us, that was very important. And not only for us, but for the healthcare sector. Because at the time, there was a lot of shortages of testing. And a lot of the shortages were driven by the fact that most companies were operating on nasal swab basis. They are A, they were running out of inventory, inventory was not being shipped to the States, the rate was before and the volumes were just falling short. And also it proved to be a fairly uncomfortable process. I mean for a person to have a deep nasal swab in a clinic, it’s uncomfortable and what’s left for actually attempting to do something like this at home, it’s really uncomfortable actually, in our belief, it’s a dangerous thing to attempt for somebody who has never experienced that before.

So we wanted to find a new modality that was not only more user friendly, but also didn’t have some of the same limitations of inventory and supplies that the nasal swab modality had, and ultimately wasn’t competing with the clinical testing supply companies and the healthcare providers, but it was actually adding volume to the marketplace. So for us, that was the key solution. And we were very lucky to partner with you guys, specifically, the technology side to make sure that once the test is done, we can deliver the results and there’s no hiccups in people’s ability to test or get their results in volume.

Amit

What I love is that, when we first started talking, it was really like right at the very beginning when all this stuff was happening. And it was so new that everyone was lost, right? There was no tests around. There was nothing available and they were still coming to grips with the legislation about it. But you knew that this needed to be done and you jumped onto it as things were progressing. And I think that’s what allowed you to be first. But I think part of that is because you’ve had that experience, this importance of making things available for people to do it at home. The whole concept of the at-home tests, how did you come to start a business about this, about allowing people to be able to test themselves at home?

Lora

It really was informed by my co-founder and my own lifestyles—I come from a professional background in which I’ve worked in ecommerce for for many years prior to starting MyLAB Box. She had worked in the digital media space, and we were basically having a conversation around healthcare and how uncomfortable and difficult and expensive in many cases it really was to do simple tests. Especially when it comes to preventative medicine, we felt that that was really crucial, because the consumer had changed.

And it was spoken very loud and clear by the trends we had seen in ecommerce and our experience, yet healthcare was not adapting to that. We had at the time, the ability to date online, find our future husband with a swipe or a click, buy groceries and call Uber rides. And when it came to the one of the most fundamental pillars of our existence, which is our healthcare, none of that really existed, that kind of convenience and transparency was unprecedented. So we felt, really  the first question for us was, why not? Why hasn’t anybody done this before? And the second question was, how difficult would it be to do it ourselves? 

Amit

And this is part of why I say your impact worldwide, because whilst you’re across 50 states in the US, the fact that you’re getting replicated, that other people are copying your business model. Our founder Dave Rosen says that’s almost the best compliment, it means you’ve done the right thing, that others are wanting to do it as well and build upon your success. 

Our engagement together between XWP and MyLAB Box began, really when we had that urgency to support you in getting those tests out there. And to make that available. It started off with the migration to WordPress VIP, then we worked together on performance improvements, that’s a big area that XWP really holds very close, because we know the benefits of that. But the latest work’s being on the redesign of the site. And as you know, I love the new look of the page, I think that it’s so much simpler to navigate. And when you have so many different tests, there’s so many different products that you offer to consumers, that it’s much easier to find and navigate the right thing that’s for you. What drove you to redesign your site? 

Lora

The need for the redesign is really the evolution also of the company from a testing solution to a wellness solution. We really started focusing more on the software and the website as our product. Ultimately, what we do is we don’t actually sell the tests so to speak, we sell the access to the screening, we sell the resources that are connected to the screening like informational resources, clear and actionable results, telemedicine consultations that are part of the package. So it’s a worry free kind of guarantee.

And we wanted to really invest more in building out our core product, which ultimately was the experience of healthcare and personalized care. And not so much, you know, just a laboratory testing piece of this. So that was a very important fundamental and philosophical change of how we thought about our business.

Amit

To finish off, I’ve been told by our wonderful viewers that they quite like it when we finish with the game. 

Alright, number 1 is,

Lora

That’s easy, that’s Seinfeld.

Amit

Correct, well done.

Lora

Yes! For 100.

Amit

Alright, next one.

Lora

Oh, that’s an old favorite, that’s Friends.

Amit

Yes, very good.

Lora

Game of Thrones.

Amit

Well, that’s a wrap. Thank you so much, you did really well.

Lora

Crushed it. Thank you so much.

Amit

A pleasure to chat with you, a wonderful pleasure to work with you, XWP loves working with MyLAB Box. We’re so excited for the things that we’ve done and really buzzed about the things that are to come. Thank you Lora, pleasure to have you on the XWP Tonight Show.

Lora

Thanks Amit, look forward to connecting with you again soon.

Amit

Wonderful, thanks everyone, take care.

Lora

Stay safe.