Black History, Today: Feyi Ayodele & CancerIQ

This year, we are spending Black History Month learning about Black leaders in healthcare technology – but leaders of our present day, not the past.

History is, of course, oppressively present in the lives of Black Americans. For example, we see the impact of racial bias and white supremacy in how difficult it is for Black founders of startup companies to get funding. Last year, Crunchbase News noted that only 1% of venture capital funding went to startups with one or more Black founders. The Holloway Guide to Raising Venture Capital noted that even less funding goes to companies led by Black women.

Here at ScriptDrop, we believe that in order for American healthcare to meet the needs of the people, the startup environment needs to reflect all the diversity of our country. That’s why we've made a point to celebrate Black-founded and Black-led healthcare technology startups this month (and will continue to, in the months to come).

Today our Black History Month spotlight features Feyi Ayodele, co-founder and CEO of CancerIQ, a comprehensive cancer prevention platform that helps health systems implement risk-based cancer detection.

To understand the value of CancerIQ, let’s state the obvious: good healthcare care should be available to all patients, not just those lucky enough to live near a high-quality and well-resourced facility. But cancer prevention is challenging, requiring providers to gather a vast amount of patient information, assess that information using evidence-based guidelines, and ensure patients receive regular preventative testing, like mammograms and colonoscopies. With so many processes to handle, many providers don’t have the time or funding to offer cutting-edge prevention through genetic testing. Patients – particularly low-income patients of color – suffer as a result.

That’s a problem. But CancerIQ is working to solve it. In a March 2022 press release, Ayodele said,

CancerIQ’s vision is to end cancer as we know it by eliminating health disparities and democratizing access to the latest advances in cancer early detection and prevention. We started by making genetic testing more accessible and connecting patients to the right preventive services at the right time.

CancerIQ does this by providing a streamlined platform for providers that makes it easier to gather patient data, triage patients into the appropriate risk groups, streamline genetic testing and counseling processes, create personalized care plans, automate documentation tasks, and track ROI over time.

How did CancerIQ get its start? Feyi Ayodele combined her know-how of investment banking and finance with her experience as a project manager at the University of Chicago Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics. There, she saw how patients in the University of Chicago system had access to genetic testing and preventative cancer care that had the potential to save them from life-threatening and extremely expensive cancer care years later. But she also saw that such programs weren’t widely accessible.

In 2013, Ayodele and her mother, Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, a renowned oncologist at the University of Chicago, decided to solve this problem with CancerIQ. After a busy period of networking through startup accelerators and acquiring venture capital, Ayodele has grown the company substantially. In January 2022, the company announced key updates to its platform and additions to the senior leadership team. The following March, CancerIQ closed a $14 million Series B round. In short, CancerIQ is well-positioned to continue growing and giving patients access to life-changing precision healthcare.


Let’s take a moment to look at the four founders and companies we’ve learned about this Black History Month. Despite their different backgrounds and different accomplishments, Dr. Toyin Ajayi, Melissa Hanna, Kevin Dedner, and Feyi Ayodele all identified a healthcare need in their communities and sought to solve it. They were conscious of the needs of others around them. They saw a way to use their own skills for good. And despite the odds stacked against them, they’ve already started to make a difference.

Our team wishes all the best to these founders and leaders. We hope they receive the financial support their companies need to continue supporting communities. Finally, let’s follow the excellent example of these leaders and work to make a difference for Black communities across our country, all year long.