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ULab Equipment

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It’s been a pleasure to work with the team at Vivolution since 2018. They have been the commercial champion for us; helping us to successfully spinout from The University of Strathclyde and recruit a commercial CEO. We are now growing our customer base and raising equity funding with continued support the support of Vivolution.

Simon Mone CEO
Background

Think of all the amazing software that businesses and offices have to make them more efficient. Now imagine if that expertise were directed at making laboratories – the cauldron of scientific and commercial progress – as streamlined, cost effective and efficient as they could be.

Imagine no more!

ULab is a software solution which increases the productivity and effectiveness within laboratories, created by three academics at the University of Strathclyde. Originally intended for internal use – so it’s designed by and for scientists – its global application was quickly recognised.

This creative and imaginative software, continuously developed over its eight years of existence, targets a variety of sectors, from the academic to commercial research. Within the academic sector there are the small labs/departments who will utilise the software to ensure that their lab is kept safe and more sustainable. From a university finance perspective, the campus-wide use of the software might be more focused on helping generate additional revenue.

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Approach

ULab has managed to build its business by analysing university needs and creating a software that meets them. If proof were needed, much early growth was driven by word of mouth – the company has more than 4,000 users throughout 300 different labs in 11 countries.

The academic sector can be a challenging market to conquer due to issues such as budget restraints and long procurement processes, made even more difficult by the impact of Covid-19. To tackle this, ULab is targeting small-scale laboratories, with smaller budgets, that tend to have faster and less onerous procurement procedures. In addition, ULab has developed a pricing strategy that is more appealing to universities.

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Impact

ULab's ingenious platform benefits both the end users of their software as well as the organisations that own the laboratories. For the user, the software enables them to find equipment, identify when it is available as well as which consumables and specialised assessment will be required. They can even use the platform to book equipment, optimising utilisation, and researchers’ productivity.

ULab is advantageous for the research organisation as it improves the efficiency, sustainability, and safety of their lab. These benefits are vital to demonstrating the requirement that the equipment, often funded through charity organisations, universities, or research projects, has delivered real value. In addition, ULab can be used to generate an extra revenue stream for laboratory owners by providing a platform through which labs can lease out or sell equipment.

Even Covid-19 was seen as an opportunity, with functionality extended to enable buffering times to be scheduled for lab cleaning, as well as recording lab attendees for track and trace purposes.

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Journey So Far

VivoConnect was vital to commercialising ULab, connecting the university spinout with a commercial champion which was vital to the success of the business. VivoVentures supported ULab to gain early introductions to the investment community. Although the service was created by software engineers at the University of Strathclyde, VivoTech has aided with design of the software to improve its UX and UI. As the start-up began to grow VivoStudios provided a space to support and nurture the business.

ULab's prototype, originally funded by the University of Strathclyde, has secured additional investment amounting to around £250,000.

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What's Next

ULab's journey is on an upwards trajectory, with interest from academic institutions to corporate companies with R&D facilities across the globe. It aims to further increase reach through strategic digital marketing with a focus on securing the UK laboratory management market first. Currently self-funded, it is looking to raise equity investment which will allow the business to attack the global market and to increase its IP portfolio by adding additional features such as a predictive maintenance engine.

For more details on ULab, please see their website details below and follow them on social media:

Website LinkedIn Twitter

Profile

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