A Message from our CEO Tom: Post-YCombinator at HappiLabs

There has been a lot going on behind the scenes of HappiLabs the last few months. As we mentioned in our last blog post, this summer, we joined world-class accelerator YCombinator (YC), to help advance our virtual lab manager technology. A couple weeks ago, we participated in a pivotal part of the program, Demo Day, where I presented to a select group of investors, press and other YC companies.

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Time has flown by and offered few spare moments, but while fresh on my mind, I wanted to share an update:

Fundraising is almost over and soon I will get back to focusing on operations and technology. We will fall short of our fundraising goals but have enough money to move forward with 1-2 strategic hires, and I’ll get back to finishing fundraising in a couple months.

There are two weaknesses investors are pointing out:

  1. We do not have an in-house engineering team (we’ve been outsourcing)
  2. They fear it is difficult to sell to scientists (I agree!), which limits the rate of growth

I’m not worried about sales, we know how to sell to scientists.

On the other hand, our priority continues to be welcoming a Lead Engineer to our team. YC offered a wealth of resources to help us understand and plan for the technological developments necessary to build a game-changing product that will allow us to reach more labs. This knowledge has influenced what we’re looking for in this leading tech position (Interested in learning more? Click HERE).

In the meantime, we hired two freelancing software engineers to continue development of our second app that improves security and automates the organization of our purchasing data. Little by little, we’re evolving our service and following through on our commitment to bring more innovation to labs and scientists all over the world.

We have received press from awesome business and tech outlets like TechCrunch and Chicago Inno, who have written about the work we’re doing. Click here and here to have a read, and feel free to share with your networks.

The last post-YC happening is four new customers. Again, sales is not an issue, we continue to grow based on an amazing customer experience and the word-of-mouth it inspires. When we do supplement that with real sales channels….look out!

We will continue to keep you in the loop on company news and updates.

Until then, hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the last couple months. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Thank you for Supporting Our Mission

We are grateful for our scientists, suppliers, and accountants.

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The Virtual Lab Manager team at HappiLabs sends thank you cards to scientists, individuals at suppliers, operations managers, and accountants that genuinely help us in our work to make scientists happy and improve the quality of their research.

We thank scientists for being scientists working to improve our world and our lives.

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HappiLabs knows it takes a team and special effort to change the world and we say thank you to those helping us do that.

What is the Busiest Day for Ordering Lab Supplies?

Wednesdays.

Fridays are 20% slower in terms of orders compared to the rest of the week.

HappiLabs took a snapshot of the last 10,000 orders placed by the Virtual Lab Manager team by day of the week.

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Why ordering slows on Fridays 

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are busiest for order requests, perhaps reflecting scientists ordering for the next work week or VLMs working hard to get orders in that will deliver by week’s end.

Scientists may not be making as many order requests on Fridays because the weekend is calling. Scientists like to have fun too.

Many suppliers will  not ship on Fridays or process an order until the following week (especially if a West coast scientists requests an item from an East Coast supplier on Friday afternoon). VLMs know this and may hold off on ordering until Monday morning because the order will not ship or sometimes even be processed until then anyhow. Scientists likely have a sense of this as well.

It just goes to show that scientists and the scientific supply chain are working for the weekend.

 

 

Handy Glove Guide

Hands are an important tool in science.  Protecting them so you can safely work in the lab is important.

Science often involves being around chemicals, sharps, scalpels, boxes, metal, liquid nitrogen tanks, and more that can be damaging to exposed hands.

Enviro Tech put together this guide matching glove material and their advantageous and disadvantageous shielding properties.

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The first two of ten gloves in Envirotech’s glove chart.

Gloves are only one part of being safe and responsible in the lab, of course (wear all of your PPE!).

The primary tool of staying safe is scientists’ own brains working to develop protocols to address and solve problems that might arise to keep the entire team as safe as possible as progress is made.

Cover Inage Photo credit: MaxPixel, CC0

Too Subtle Product Differences

Mimicry is pretty common in nature. As in nature, so with lab supplies.

An ever-evolving ocean of distinct products exists. No one scientist needs all products available in their career, of course. However, even when focused on basic items, confusion can occur due to what is essentially mimicry, AKA “branding”.

For example:

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That “plus” makes all the difference for whether tissue will stay on the slide’s surface or if it’s just a slide where tissue won’t adhere.

It’s easy to see a lab stocking both kinds of slide for various purposes.

This issue could easily come up when ordering too. “Get me more Superfrost” slides…and the “Plus” gets left off.

Solutions

A lab manager could store each slide in separate places, or mark the Superfrost Plus slides to be distinct when they are delivered.

Manufacturers could help by making packaging distinct (in this case, they don’t).

Fisher and other suppliers can do better.

In the mean time, lab managers and scientists will have to be hyper-vigilant in making sure they order and use the right product for their work, especially when near-mimics exist.

Photo credit: Heliconius butterfly mimicry. Wikimedia commons, CC 2.5, from Meyer A, PLoS Biology, Vol. 4/10/2006, e341 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040341.