It is commonplace for the science sector to want the most up-to-date equipment in the laboratory, but how will it respond to the latest idea from UK-based tech start-up Clustermarket, who propose sharing rather than buying this equipment?
Johannes Solzbach, CEO of Clustermarket spoke to Angharad Baldwin News Editor, Manufacturing Chemist, about the new concept.
Clustermarket hosts a new software platform that enables universities, pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies to rent out laboratory equipment, thereby reducing the redundancy of expensive equipment.
But how do you cause a disruption in such a traditional industry and get people on board with what seems to be a radically new way of doing things?
Johannes Solzbach is a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration and Computer Science, and worked for two years in corporate finance before meeting his fellow Co-founders Tobias Wingbermuehle and Niklas Friedberg when studying for a master's in London.
Friedberg had the original idea during business school and the group later started work on the platform as a part time student project.
Friedberg’s original concept was to build a software platform that connected clusters, but it was Wingbermuehle, who saw the potential for the sharing platform to be utilised in the life sciences sector.
CEO Johannes Solzbach says: “In the beginning we were focussed on one external sharing platform, that allowed access to specialised equipment. However, the more we worked on the idea and the more interest it generated, we realised an additional potential for internal sharing within large research institutions. We saw the demand for a platform like this, so pitched the idea to UCL, who agreed to run a pilot."
The company also secured funding from the Merck Accelerator programme, which enabled the three Co-founders to work full-time on the idea.
The platform consists of a provider side and a customer side; the provider side, often academic institutions, supplies the equipment and the customers, often smaller biotech companies, who have a high demand for specialist equipment but lack capital, rent the equipment.
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