MATTER Member Profile: HappiLabs
“Advocating for healthy and happy scientists”
March 11, 2015
By Mary Lee | MATTER intern
HappiLabs wants to bolster the happiness index for scientists.
The startup company, launched in 2013, is a virtual lab manager and personal shopper. Scientists are burdened and distracted from their innovative work because their expertise does not extend to addressing pricing disparities and purchasing laboratory equipment. HappiLabs takes on the responsibility of researching and acquiring the finest scientific lab supplies at a discounted price.
Tom Ruginis, CEO and founder of HappiLabs, conceived the idea for the company after visiting university research labs where scientists dedicated their lives to remedy diseases including cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and more. He found that poor customer service and exorbitant prices dampened the velocity and progress of their valuable research.
The National Institutes of Health funds $30 billion in scientific and medical research, and about 20 percent, or $600 million, is allocated to purchase lab equipment and supplies, Ruginis explained. He says HappiLabs guarantees a minimum of 14 percent to 40 percent in savings, promising potentially $90 million in savings.
The conundrum confronting scientists is simply the absence of a Yelp-like or Hotels.com-like database for this population. Scientists have no method for determining a fair price because an archive that analyzes a product’s functionality, quality and rating simply does not exist. A few companies monopolize retail of these lab supplies, chemicals, reagents and equipment, and advertise high prices to unknowing consumers.
These dominant institutions fix prices, which are “triple of what they should be charging,” Ruginis said.
The lack of transparency coupled with soaring prices block out competition; smaller distributors lack the marketing power to compete, which stifles innovation. But, HappiLabs locates these hidden yet nascent distributors that offer identical items at a reasonable price.
Customers hire on an hourly basis, supply a shopping list, and HappiLabs will secure the best deals. HappiLabs customers are guaranteed bargains, efficiency, high quality products and sustainability.
“The industry needs a customer-service focused company,” Ruginis said regarding the private sector. “Everyone’s all about profit margins,” he added, but his company cuts through the conventional current and establishes a company that is predicated on the happiness and health of its customers: scientists.
HappiLabs will leave scientists free to research and work, unfettered by administrative logistics and financial qualms.