Labtoo is a networking platform that connects project leaders and companies with laboratories. Since 2018, Sophie Hue and Guillaume Leboucher, co-founders of the start-up, aim to accelerate research projects and enable innovators to find solutions to their R&D problems more quickly.
Discover this entrepreneurial adventure in this new podcast.
- Chapter 1: your entrepreneurial experience in 3² points
- Chapter 2: the genesis of the business idea
- Chapter 3: validation of the business idea
- Chapter 4: getting started
- Chapter 5: take-off
- Chapter 6: the future
- IntoTheMinds podcasts
The marketing idea to be retained absolutely
Market research will help you to improve your project. Sophie Hue and Guillaume Leboucher have carried out numerous telephone interviews via their network and notably with researchers in France to validate their first idea. Then, after the creation of an early prototype, they launched second research to test their platform with respondents and researchers in France and Europe. This step allowed them to iterate, modify, complete and, in fact, improve their platform.
3 key figures
A team of 10 people, 1,000 users, 1.5 million Euros of contracts in the commercial pipe.
3 Tips for future start-uppers
Tip 1: Select your partners carefully
Tip 2: Be well supported (mentors, coaches, advisors)
Tip 3: Use and develop your network
3 essential skills to launch a start-up
The first skill mentioned by Sophie Hue is resilience, a skill mentioned by many other entrepreneurs here in the studio. The second essential skill for an entrepreneur is creativity. Finally, the third skill she considers indispensable is friendliness within the team.
You have to be prepared to fall off your horse and get back in the saddle as quickly as possible […] in the early years of a start-up.
Labtoo’s primary objective is to help companies find scientific service providers, and in particular laboratories, that will be able to help them develop their R&D projects. The platform is mainly active in the field of health, with Biotech, for example. In health-related initiatives, it is imperative to carry out tests and to use machines that are often extremely expensive. This leads many project leaders to subcontract part of their R&D.
We have worked with clients who have sometimes been looking for specific expertise for more than 2 years
Labtoo’s speciality is anchored in the field of Life Sciences since Guillaume Leboucher, co-founder of the start-up is a doctor of biochemistry. It is notably through his experience as a research scientist that he realised that it was often difficult to find partners to help research projects advance.
In this world of research, especially academic research, it often takes place through barter: you do me this favour by giving me your skills and in exchange, either [I’ll] put your name on my scientific publication or [I’ll] do you a favour in exchange.
The genesis of Labtoo comes from the desire to speed up this process and to enable project leaders to diversify their opportunities for partnerships and collaborators.
Guillaume Leboucher and Sophie Hue have two very different backgrounds, which Sophie Hue describes as “very compatible”
- Dr Guillaume Leboucher has a PhD in Biochemistry and is, therefore, an expert in the market and the Life Sciences sector.
- Sophie Hue is a graduate of Edhec and has worked with numerous start-ups to help them in their international development.
Remember that the choice of your co-founder is essential and will partly determine the success of your business.
The analyses carried out as part of the market research:
- Qualitative research in the form of telephone interviews (which is now one of the consequences of COVID-19, as we mentioned in a previous post) with 100 researchers in France, mainly canvassed via Guillaume Leboucher’s network.
- Quantitative research in the form of a questionnaire distributed to researchers throughout France and Europe.
The objectives of the two research projects are quite different. In qualitative research, the aim is to validate the entrepreneurial idea and to identify areas for improvement. The quantitative research allowed Labtoo to test the prototype of the platform with a sample of European respondents. The stated aim was to make further modifications and improvements to the first version of the platform.
Initially, and as is the case for all platforms that bring two populations together, the Labtoo team had to target two typical profiles in its commercial approaches: laboratories and R&D service providers as well as companies and project leaders with needs in this field. This point is mentioned as a decisive point since it is necessary to have both populations active on the platform for it to serve its purpose. Labtoo has also had to prove its legitimacy and credibility with the players in the sector.
The most challenging thing [we had to] face was getting the customers to trust us.
Sophie Hue says that Guillaume Leboucher’s experience has reassured many people. For her, it was necessary to be patient and learn to understand the problems of the market and the customers.
Secondly, Sophie Hue discusses the use of well-known commercial methods based on sending emails and searching for prospects via databases. To make themselves known, the start-up has created partnerships and has turned to universities and associations.
Our first customer was a service provider (a person who offered his service), who ordered services from us himself. We had the perfect case, we weren’t even looking on the client-side, and our suppliers were already starting to order research from us.
Sophie Hue cheerfully explains that the first customer who placed an order showed great confidence in Labtoo’s teams.
The positive market signs
- The first customer ordered without having been approached
- This first client subsequently recommended
- The following customers have become loyal rapidly (approx. 50%)
Following the appearance of these positive signals, Labtoo recruited a scientific team to manage prospecting and customer follow-up. It has thus continued to give credibility to the platform with profiles that understand the stakes and scientific issues of customers and partners.
It is essential to have someone in front of you with sound scientific knowledge
Within 5 years, Labtoo’s objectives are to develop in new sectors and internationally:
- To be the leading European platform for R&D, create partnerships and find customers across Europe
- To develop other verticals to integrate other scientific fields and other R&D issues (the food industry, cosmetics, and so on).
- To recruit specialists and in particular PhDs in these fields.
A few figures for the next 5 years
- 50 million euros in turnover
- Active in most European markets
- Diversify the fields of activity represented on the platform
- A team of 50 people
A podcast to help you develop your start-up
In 2020 we are changing the format of our podcasts. The aim is to help you develop your start-up by providing you with relevant information on specific topics.
Our podcasts are now divided into chapters of +/- 3 minutes. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific theme or development phase. You can therefore listen to the entire podcast or choose to listen to only part of it by directly selecting the part that interests you the most.
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