Blog
Jul 24

There is more to Munich than FC Bayern, beer and leather pants

There are many reasons to fall in love with Munich. The Alps that are in the vicinity of the city, the cleanliness of the city (especially compared to Berlin!), the lovely accents and expressions (Servus!), and of course the beer, the Dirndl, and leather trousers. However since June, there is now something else that makes Munich so great…

There is a growing community of LabTech startups building amazing software and hardware. This, combined with the thriving biotech industry that has been developing over the last few decades (mainly around Martinsried and Garching), and the academic community (TU Munich, LMU, and the Max Planck Society) has made Munich a prime spot for innovations in the laboratory field. Therefore, I was thrilled to have been invited to “Tomorrows’s Lab & Startup Date Night” Meetup on June 27th.

How Matthias, co-founder of essentim, introduced the event was truly epic:

“We’re organizing this meetup, and we’re going to call it “lab of tomorrow” because everyone else calls their program, project or event “Lab of the future”. And that just sounds too far away in the distant future.”

Format

The event was very startup-like, with no-frills and no-nonsense. It was quick and dirty, meaning that preparing everything took less than two hours including time to organize the startups. It was an awesome evening full of making new contacts and discovering concrete ideas on how to partner up. This left out the classic pretentiousness found in meetings with more established companies.

  • Each company
    • Had it’s own room to showcase their products at the venue shared by essentim and innome
    • Set up a screen to have a small presentation
    • Brought flyers and a roll-up
  • Augustiner, Tegernseer, and Gösser Radler was chilled in the fridge for LabTech startups and visiting researchers
  • Pizza was served at 7pm
  • There was a romantic sunset that could be viewed from a balcony

Meet the innovators of today

Here are some of the innovators of today that I had the pleasure of meeting, who clearly drive the lab of tomorrow:

 
 

Irubis offers a device for online monitoring of bioreactors. As Anja, co-founder of Irubis, explained to me, measurements of glucose and lactose are usually done manually, by taking a sample and doing an “offline” analysis. Irubis’ solution enables an automated and continuous online measurement measures using mid-infrared spectroscopy with an innovative autoclavable flow-through cel. Their shoe carton sized device also realizes a continuous regulation of the process parameters glucose and lactate. They are already cooperating with renowned partners in pharma and biotech.

 

I knew Matthias, Florian, and their company essentim before the event but, I learned much more about their laboratory sensors while I was there! In brief, their wireless “Scope” sensors allow laboratories to measure temperature, humidity, pressure, and motion. The sensors also have the ability to control all these parameters through a web-based and mobile platform. It’s possible to drop a sensor into an incubator or attach it to any smooth surface using a Gecko-foil. Gecko-foil, which is very cool, can be attached or detached as often as you’d like.

What I experienced at the meetup showed me just how easy it is to attach new hardware modules to the sensor. All that’s required is a carbon-dioxide, or additional temperature measurement, and another sensor module to attach and the scientist is fully in control!

 
 
 
 
 

Another company that I knew before the event was innome. However, after the event I have a new understanding of how interesting their core innovation really is. Just imagine, they can print sensors! Yes, it’s as simple as printing them and they’re ready to go! Be it temperature or pH, their printed sensor foils can be used in most laboratory applications. There are a ton of lab applications for these, including attaching them to cell culture plates for continuous readings or using them for a single application, like a pH measurement.

 
 
 
 
 

Last but definitely not least, there was Claudio, Micheal, and their company FLUICS. They offer plug & play bar-code printing for labs. Yes, for many high-throughput labs, bar-code labeling of samples is no big news. However, for research and development labs, with much smaller numbers and a higher need for flexibility in terms of labeling, hand-written sample labels are still state-of-the-art. FLUICS is about to change that!

They allow you to print custom bar-code labels by using your mobile device and manage your inventory on the go. Don’t worry about high running or set-up costs either! I learned about FLUICS’ attractive pricing model and I must say, well done.

Get in touch with FLUICS at connect@fluics.com to learn more! Also, the labfolder material database is already integrated with Fluics. If you’d like to print a bar-code for an item in your labfoldr MDB, let us know!

Until next time…

The startups that presented at the Tomorrow’s Lab & Startup Date Night are only a fraction of the LabTech scene in Munich. There were a number of attendees from the industry and academic research, as well as attendees from established LabTech companies like Waldner, known for their everlasting lab furniture. This gives me hope we’ll see a much wider range of companies at the next event.

I’m sure we’ll manage to organize a Tomorrow’s Lab & Startup Date Night in Berlin in the near future too. Especially since Munich to Berlin is only a smooth four hour ride with ICE! We at labforward hope to get the Isar-Spree-axis going and see some of you for Buletten, Currywurst, and Berliner Pilsner!

 
I’d like to extend a big thank-you to Matthias for inviting me over!
I'd like to also thank his co-organizer Jérôme, Visionary Lead & Founder at UnternehmerTUM and recent consultant at Netflix for their upcoming series on biohackers (I'll be reactivating my account for that!).

About The Author

Simon is one of the founders and CEO of labfolder. He envisioned labfolder while doing his PhD at the MPI of Experimental Medicine. His focus at labfolder is business development and bringing the company to ever new levels.