Solving a Scientist’s Dilemma – Dealing with Poor Research Equipment & Lab Management

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Back in 2015, I met Tom Ruginis through one of our corporate housing locations in Mountain View, California. Throughout the years, I’ve encountered many entrepreneurs passing through, but I’m drawn to those making a genuine impact. I enjoy spotlighting those who find profitable solutions to real-world problems, even in less glamorous industries—these are the businesses that truly deserve our attention. Tom Ruginis is one such entrepreneur, and I’d like to introduce you to how he’s bringing incredible value to scientists and labs across the United States.

Introducing Tom Ruginis and HappiLabs

Tom is the Founder of HappiLabs, a small business in Chicago still in its early stage but past the startup stage. His company provides consulting services and software to scientists who need help managing their laboratories and their lab equipment. You can think of them as an outsourced purchasing department for biotech companies and scientific research labs.

A problem for scientists with laboratories is finding equipment and supplies. In order to do their research, they need to use products like test tubes, beakers and expensive equipment like clinical centrifuges. The problem is, due to the saturation of suppliers and difficulty of finding the right information, it’s incredibly time consuming to evaluate different brands of these products for quality and for the right price. This takes precious time for scientists, which could instead be spent doing actual research. Let’s take a look at these problems in more detail.

Problem 1: Poor Quality Control in the Marketplace

Lab equipment is manufactured and shipped all over the world — China, Europe, America, you name it — this equipment is used for things like cancer or diabetes research. In most cases there’s no standard organization that evaluates vendors or tests the quality of the equipment used for research.

Major scientific journals have highlighted independent studies that show that low quality plastics are ruining their experiments. This means efforts like cancer research are slowed down because of low quality products infiltrating the market and sidetracking studies.

Poor quality of lab equipment is expensive. Entire experiments have to be reset in order to achieve meaningful results and this is frustrating for scientists who need to produce results on a budget.

Problem 2: No Standard Pricing in Lab Equipment

Barely anyone likes to go to car dealerships and deal with car salesmen. Lab vendors are barely any different. When you reach out to a vendor, you have to deal with a salesman and the prices for lab equipment is scattered — there’s so many research centers getting ripped off. Scientists don’t have a standard place to determine fair prices and it’s a painful shopping experience that takes time. This is time that scientists should instead be using for doing research.

The Solution

Right now, labs around the United States are hiring HappiLabs’ remote consultants to do their shopping, manage their inventory and manage their finances. Each consultant within the HappiLabs workforce is either a postdoc who has managed scientists, experiments, and budgets; has extensive experience as a purchaser or has experience as a sales rep in the life science industry. HappiLabs has the perfect workforce, the data to find the best quality of lab equipment and the industry experience to negotiate the best prices.

There’s a sea of information about quality and price — Happilabs collects it, organizes it and filters it. They evaluate vendors not only on quality and price of their equipment but also on customer service and sustainability. HappiLabs puts this information into monthly reports for scientists to make quick and accurate decisions about what to buy for their research.

The Vision

Tom’s vision for the future is to create the gold standard for lab equipment and supplies. His aim is to provide a central place for scientists and anyone doing quality research, to easily look up and find equipment they can trust. Happilabs aims to be the standard organization to have evaluated and tested lab products, validating these products for scientific research so that scientists can more efficiently protect our health and our happiness.

Final Thoughts

Building ‘un-sexy’ businesses often adds the most true value to society, yet they rarely get the credit they deserve. In the area of science labs, for instance—they face a lot of tedious work that can be outsourced. Services like HappiLabs allow scientists to concentrate on solving critical issues rather than negotiating lab equipment prices or researching supplies. By taking these tasks off their plates, scientists can focus on preventing health and environmental problems.

Tom and the HappiLabs team are dedicated to keeping scientists focused on their research while streamlining laboratory management. I’ve met Tom several times, and as a former molecular biologist, his passion for his work is evident. It’s inspiring to see amazing people doing amazing things.

Keep up the great work, my friend.

About the Editor: Jason Weber is a Director at Wiseflow Ventures. He’s built several profitable companies in SaaS, IT Consulting, and Corporate Housing, and has worked at top tech firms including Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel. He holds four issued patents and is passionate about practical Zen, the Flow State, high-tech, and the hustle.