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’s in the Box?

Quantities matter in science. Ordering the requisite items for present experimental needs is efficient, avoids clutter, and reduces waste.

The language of quantities when ordering lab supplies, however, is often ambiguous:

“Order a tube of Taq.”

“Get three boxes of serological pipettes.”

Some suppliers are easy with quantities designated by unique catalog numbers (Thank you NEB and Biolegend).

Some make it harder.

Each, Pack, and Case

Each, pack, and case can all be considered a box of an item and sometimes one catalog number corresponds to all three tiers (e.g. some listings at VWR).

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What and how much in each box?  Photo credit: Pixabay, CC0

Packs and cases can also contain single items. Requesting a case of media supplied one bottle per case will result in receiving one bottle. Unless the request was stated in number of bottles, less media than requested will arrive.

The good news there: ordering more is easier than having too much and trying to return some.

Item quantities are variable and every supplier is slightly different.

Check the Amount

Virtual Lab Managers meticulously checks quantity when ordering.

Asking the requestors to clarify is a best practice:

“This media is sold 1 bottle/case. Do you need more than one bottle?”

“A case contains 3,000 syringes. Do you need that many?”

Ordering the right quantity is good science.

 

The Scientist Purchasing Cycle – Time Lost from Science

In your lab, who is responsible for negotiating prices, placing orders, following up on them, and tracking receipts for proper accounting?

If you answer “the scientists”, your lab is in a lot of trouble. For people who are not trained to manage money, negotiate, and understand accounting…does this make sense? No. And your lab is losing time (and boatloads of money) over it.

Welcome to the future! Where the purchasing role of the lab, and most lab manager duties, are available for outsourcing, allowing scientists to spend more time on science–what they are trained to do.

happy scientist at happilabs virtual lab manager purchasing