Labstep, the platform for researchers that captures real-time scientific data and connects lab groups enabling information sharing and reproducibility, announces today that it has raised £1 Million from angel investors. The company will use the funds to double its team to 12, launch a marketplace for lab supplies and add features that streamline how scientists will outsource elements of their research.
Labstep is out to solve a major crisis in the world of science which renders 50% of results from papers as worthless because they cannot be reproduced. Archaic recording mechanisms, with most people still using paper notebooks, mean that there is a lot of waste in the research process. Labstep is planning to solve this problem with its unique approach to capturing real time scientific process data.
Jake Schofield, Founder and CEO at Labstep said: “Today’s fundraise is a key milestone for Labstep, and a stamp of credibility for our product’s vision and execution. Our team at Labstep have experienced this firsthand while working in commercial R&D or working towards their PhDs at Oxford University. I was spending hours recording data manually and when I needed to collaborate with colleagues there was no easy way to share our discoveries or methodology resulting in hours wasted in the lab.”
“With Labstep we know that we are saving scientists time and money; if we can improve reproducibility this will not only have a huge impact for Science, but also for the wider world. Half of these potentially disruptive discoveries cannot be validated, so even a small increase in these reaching the public could be profound.” Schofield adds.
Labstep allows scientists to build libraries of experimental procedures, run these interactively at the laboratory bench and then automatically record their progress, building a timeline of experiments. This record of the process steps that lead to results can be attached to papers so other scientists can successfully replicate the findings. Labstep users can package this into a project and generate a unique link to attach to their paper, this way people can see exactly how their results were produced and reproduce the findings, helping tackle a global reproducibility crisis estimated at $28Bn per year.
In the coming months, the company will roll out “Market Place Ordering” addressing the £23bn lab reagents market*. Central to replicating a result is linking the findings in academic research papers to the resources and supplies used during the experiment. There is currently neither a marketplace for Lab products, nor a way to see how the products are being used or to ask questions related to scientific products. Labstep plans to further address the issue of reproducibility by streamlining the ordering process
“Our real-time data approach captures how supplies in the lab are used, this information presents a huge opportunity in supporting the procurement of lab supplies. Over £23bn is spent per year on purchasing lab reagent kits and we’ll be uniquely placed to understand the demands/needs of scientists and work with suppliers to best support them.”
Labstep will also launch “Cloud Based Experimentation” features that allows users to outsource elements of their experimental process. They will then be able to automatically track how these activities are progressing and have the final results incorporated directly into their experimentation results in their Labstep notebook. While outsourcing of research is commonplace in commercial R&D, it is used much less in academia. For certain processes where it is used, like sequencing DNA, it is difficult to discover, review and compare these service providers, we aim to increase transparency and lower the barriers for academic research using CROs.
Labstep has users from over 600 universities globally including, Stanford, Harvard and MIT in the US, and Oxford, University College London, Imperial College, King’s College and the Crick Institute in the UK. Its user base is growing 15% month on month completely organically. Engagement with Labstep is soaring: the average time spent on the platform has been steadily increasing by 20% per month and the overall time spent using Labstep has soared 400% month in the last 3 months.
Sia Houchangnia, Seedcamp Investment Partner, comments, “With their mix of academic and commercial expertise, we believe the Labstep team is greatly positioned to address the huge issue of non-reproducibility of scientific research. The way Labstep has already very quickly spread across the scientific community globally demonstrates just how pressing this issue is and how beneficial users find it. With its initial solution that allows real time recording of scientific processes, we are already seeing Labstep enabling new scientific collaboration in a way that’s never been experienced before. We see the current product as a great foundation layer to what we believe could one day become the default platform for scientific research.”