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.

ycombinator

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.

thank yous 1

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.

Thank yous 2

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

An Analysis of Women-owned Scientific Suppliers

Summary

When a lab hires HappiLabs to be their virtual lab manager and do their lab shopping, we want to make sure we buy from suppliers who fit the values of the lab. Recently, one of our customers asked, “Who are the female owned suppliers? We’d like to buy from them.” Therefore, we hired Dr. Vidhya Sivakumaran (above photo), a cardiovascular–focused postdoc from Loyola University, to do research on the topic. This is an informal study assessing the population of women-owned suppliers of scientific supplies, services, equipment, and reagents. 

happilabs shops for women-owned scientific suppliers
The 70 companies that were surveyed for this analysis

Methods

  1. We selected 70 suppliers with whom HappiLabs has purchased from over the past 6 months
  2. Scanned their website to identify the sex of ownership
  3. If it wasn’t clear, we confirmed website findings with a phone call or email

Note: If we missed any women-owned business beyond the 70, please notify us: hello at happilabs.org

Discussion

It is well know that most industries are male-dominated. However, this is slowly changing and with this many labs are looking to buy and work with women-run scientific suppliers when it comes to purchasing pipette tips, chemicals, antibodies, centrifuges, etc. It was our hypothesis that there are few women-run businesses. Based on our research, this is true. However, science is doing better than the Fortune 500.

Lab shopping for female owned science businesses
92.9% male vs 7.1% female owned scientific suppliers

From the sample we looked at, 5 out of 70 or 7.1% of science suppliers are owned and/or run by women: DotScientific, Chemglass Life Science, Gilson, Macherey-Nagel, and Science Exchange. This is slightly higher than the 4.8% of fortune 500 companies run by females (Catalyst.org). Yay science!

happy labs shopping for women-owned scientific suppliers

We did find out through the course of our study that women-owned businesses out-survive male-owned businesses in several industries and areas, such as education and restaurant establishments (Kalnins et al, Journal of Business Venturing, 2014).

We also observed that only 16.9% of corporate board seats were held by women in 2013, with little progress in narrowing the gender gap (Huffington Post). Michelle Rowley, a tech entrepreneur and founder of Code Scouts (a non-science business), knows this feeling all too well. She was quoted in Entrepreneur magazine as saying, “that is a weird dynamic – being the only woman in the room – and they are all staring at you because they have to. I thought, I wonder how the dynamics would change if we could get more women involved.”

How does HappiLabs want to help? HappiLabs is interested in supporting women-run companies by making it easier for scientists to purchase supplies and services from them. We also plan to reach out and possibly work with several groups that promote women in science, such as AWIS Chicago, the Field Museum Women in Science, Women in Bio, and the Chicago Collaboration for Women in STEM.

Please share this post with other scientists who might be interested in knowing about women-owned scientific suppliers. And sign up to receive our monthly newsletter with updates about tips and suggestions for being a conscious shopper (and user) of scientific supplies: