LabForward builds the laboratory of the future

Laura Diez

Startup Stories

A paradigm shift is emerging in the modern laboratory, as automation solutions become indispensable with the increasing complexity of laboratory processes. Berlin-based startup LabForward was founded in 2015 and its platform LabOperator offers an open IoT platform for integrating all kinds of devices and software via standard APIs. Together with their workflow solution, this allows processes to be monitored and streamlined, data to be selected on the go, and information to be processed within their established lab ecosystem.

As well as explaining LabOperator in detail, Jan Buch, Key Accounts Lead, and Rebecca von Stephani share what they hope to gain from their participation in the 5-HT X-Linker "Lab of the Future" 2021 as well as working with 5-HT in general.

How would you explain your solution in three sentences to a professional colleague in a chemical company?

"Laboperator is a platform for the vendor-agnostic integration of laboratory devices as well as third-party software systems. With Laboperator, experiments can be monitored, remotely controlled and automated, resulting in sustainable improvements in efficiency, reproducibility and data integrity of experiments."

The platform LabOperator

What problem motivated you to start the company?

"Although the past decade marks a lot of scientific breakthroughs and innovations across all R&D heavy industries such as pharma, biotech or synthetic biology, the increasing information processing efforts and the resulting decline in productivity is prevalent and an obstacle to future scientific discoveries. Therefore, researchers and scientists face the fundamental challenge of improving accuracy, speed, and costs of their research and development. We have taken up that challenge and provide research teams across the world with dedicated software solutions for the fundamental steps of the R&D process - planning, execution, and documentation. Our mission is to build the operating system for labs by connecting data, devices, and researchers."

How do you convince a chemical company to set up a pilot project with you?

"Our mission is to make the laboratory of the future a reality for our customers. We have already successfully completed several pilot projects with large pharmaceutical companies and can therefore look back on relevant experience in this area. Furthermore, our approach of an open, standardized and scalable solution allows our customers to implement pilot projects quickly and easily. During the project we support our customers from start to finish with comprehensive consulting, implementation and customer support. We think holistically in all project phases and therefore make sure to lay the foundation for a successful and company wide implementation and scaling of the use case already during the pilot project."

Who are your current customer (groups) and who do you want your potential customers to be?

"In principle, Laboperator can be used for a wide range of use cases and companies, however our solution is mainly used by major customers in the pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnology sectors. Where we see our customers, is in companies that have a large number of laboratory devices that will be connected with each other and also with existing third-party systems in order to document and automate their processes."

What do you expect from the 5-HT X-linker „Lab of the Future“?

"We are looking forward to a lively and intensive exchange with corporates and startups from the pharmaceutical, chemical and biotech industries on topics such as digital lab, lab automation as well as other relevant industry trends."

Where do you see yourself in 3 years and how can 5-HT support you?

"We are constantly working on improving our solutions and adding new features. For example, we are currently working on a no-code digital workflow designer that will further simplify the implementation of digital and autonomous workflows. Close exchange with customers and other solution providers in the industry is essential for the continuous development of our product and service offerings, which is why the further expansion of our network and the deepening of partnerships will be another key item on our agenda in the future."

The founder  (f.l.t.r) Julian Lübke, Simon Bungers and Florian Hauer at the BCEIA 2019 in Peking

How can the 5-HT Digital Hub Chemistry & Health support you in your further development?

"Events such as the 5-HT Digital Hub help us to find interesting customers and partners, but also to enter into a dialog on industry and technology trends with diverse stakeholders. This enables us to constantly adapt Laboperator to the current demands and challenges of our customers and thus to sustainably develop it further."

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