Alumni Spotlight: Bhuvan Srinivasan
Bhuvan Srinivasan ’04, ’05 (MS), is the Chief Business Officer and a board member of Ultrahuman, a metabolic health and wearables startup. It’s a role that builds upon more than a decade of experience in private equity while also bringing him back to his engineering roots and his career’s beginnings as a research scientist working on continuous glucose monitoring at Medtronic Diabetes. He’s also an active angel investor, investing in startups.
He received both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, and later received an MBA in healthcare from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
What made you choose Johns Hopkins?
As with many people who come to Hopkins, I was confused about whether or not I was going to be pre-med. What I was not confused about was that I wanted to be at the confluence of biology and technology, and Hopkins was the best for that. I initially joined as a biology major and then switched to biomedical engineering.
Do you have any memories that stand out from your time as a student?
I had never been to the U.S. before Hopkins, and all I knew about American culture was what I had seen from watching Seinfeld and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, so the experience of Baltimore was initially a culture shock. But on my first night at Hopkins, I remember Pakistani and Israeli classmates arguing about Palestine. I had never been part of a debate like this, and I knew that I was in a special and diverse place.
Other memories include naps on D-Level in MSE during mid-terms, “borrowing” the projector from our lab to throw parties at Dell House, presenting my research poster at the NIH, and listening to Richard Axel giving a talk after winning the Nobel prize. And of course, playing the video game Counter-Strike on our super powerful computers in Clark Hall (normally used for stochastic simulations).
Do you have any advice for aspiring engineers?
AI, AI, AI! In all seriousness, you have to constantly evolve your thinking to adapt to new technology, be nimble and learn new tools, and be curious about new trends and developments. Hopkins really instilled in me the ideas of integrative thinking (bringing multiple domains together, for example, in biomedical engineering) and understanding problems deeply through research. The future of humanity with AI is exciting because the more mundane stuff will get done automatically. But that also puts the onus on us to constantly evolve and learn and stay at the forefront of knowledge.
Where are you working now? How did you get involved in this line of work?
I’ve had many careers by now, which makes me feel old and young at the same time. After Hopkins, I was an R&D scientist at Medtronic Diabetes. I had also been interested in business and entrepreneurship, so I pursued that by joining the global management consulting firm Bain & Company in Singapore and then doing my MBA at Wharton, majoring in healthcare. That led me to work in private equity and investing at Bain Capital and then at KKR, both in Mumbai.
After 10 years of investing, I was itching to get back to technology, and I joined Ultrahuman, a healthtech and wearables startup, as the Chief Business Officer. It’s been an amazing experience because I have had a chance to grow the business but also design and run our clinical trials. Once a scientist, always a scientist! The Hopkins foundation has helped me be successful across science, investing and startups, and across 10+ countries.
Why and how do you choose to stay connected to Johns Hopkins as an alumnus?
I serve on the board of Johns Hopkins India and help with the administration of India activities. Believe it or not, associating with Hopkins (in any way) still gives me a thrill! I hope to get more involved over time and share my experiences across science, investing, and startups with the Hopkins community and students.