Jake Schofield, co-Founder of Labstep Talks Science Collaboration Platform Development

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Posted: April 16, 2018

We see that you and your co-Founder were selected as Forbes 30 under 30 2017. Tell us a bit about yourself, your career up to now. 

After graduating from university with a BSc in Biomedical Science, I became a bioscientist, so I have always been immersed in the Science and R&D community.

In fact, before launching Labstep, I was working in commercial R&D as a bio scientist, while my co-Founder Jan Domanski was doing his PhD at Oxford University.

What is Labstep, and how did you come up with the idea? How do scientists benefit?

Labstep captures real time scientific process data and uses this to build a timeline newsfeed of all your actions in the Lab. This drastically improves collaboration for Lab teams.

Both my co-Founder Jan and myself were spending our days in the science Lab, and we found ourselves spending hours annotating or sharing the results of each experiment, using archaic and inefficient methods such as old ELN (Electronic Lab Note) software and even paper. We realized that the entire way that R&D experiments are tracked from note taking, to reporting to collaborating, were time consuming and very out of date.

Labstep stems from our direct experience and frustrations with the way lab experiments are conducted and tracked. We decided to launch a platform to make it easier for scientists to research, discover and collaborate on their experiments, all in one place. Working with a group of PhD students and professors at Oxford, and as a response to these inefficiencies, we built and launched a tool to fill this gap, the first version of Labstep. We have since worked closely with a large group of scientists in the lab to shape the product to ensure we meet the demands of the science community.

What is your title at Labstep and how does it work?

I am CEO & Founder at Labstep. At such an early stage of the business, my responsibilities span across several functions, from running the marketing and branding, to pitching to investors, to leading the vision for the product, down to responding to technical queries from our users. We are currently a team of 5, and growing fast.

Labstep iOS app

How do you measure success? And how does mobile compare to desktop in your measurements?

Labstep wants to solve the problems faced by scientists, so our focus is not on number of downloads, but instead on engagement. In the last 3 months, the average time per user spent using Labstep, has soared 400% suggesting that scientists who have signed up are really using the platform. We find that very encouraging!

Time is of the essence in the R&D industry, so another unit of measurement we are concerned with is how much time we can save for our community of users. On average, researchers spend 50% of their research time to create annotations and recaps of recipes and experiments; Labstep has saved researchers an estimated £33M so far from recording and sharing experimentations on the platform.

Last but not least, we’ve made a business decision to make Labstep easily accessible from any device, including on the go. Labstep can be used through the browser on both mobile and desktop devices. We have a native mobile application for both IOS and Android, which based on our recent usage data, our users are finding very useful.

What are the broader trends you see in ScienceTech?

We see exciting avenues opening up with both automation of certain core lab procedures and/or the ability to outsource many of these labour intensive process.

Labstep want to play a key role in driving this trend. In helping scientists plan their experimentation, manage libraries of experimental protocols and track progress, we believe that Labstep is perfectly placed to bridge the gap between a researcher carrying out that process himself now vs them clicking a button to get a robot else to carry out that procedure for them in the future!

What role do you see mobile and Apps playing in Science Tech in the next 5 years?

Bioinformatics – software tools for understanding biological data – and many other computational analysis techniques have drastically changed the face of science over the last couple of years. Tech is offering new ways to analyze and interpret biological data, making it much easier for scientists to lead their research, but also to share it across the world.

We’ve only just scratched the surface of how bioinformatics will contribute to the Research community globally, and Labstep is just one example of how tech can improve the way Scientist conduct, track and share their findings within their own team but also with the rest of the community.

Finally, what mobile device do you use and why?

I use an iPhone 7, though I secretly miss my previous Android phone 🙂

Thanks a lot Jake for this interview!
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