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Laboratory testing startup makes R&D projects smoother

Measurlabs set forth on the path to success from Kiuas accelerator in Espoo's startup community. The laboratory testing startup helps other innovative companies grow by providing readily available R&D and quality assurance testing services. True to the company's beginnings, Measurlabs gives back to Espoo's community by coaching new startups to dream big at the Kiuas accelerator.

Finding laboratory testing services tends to be difficult. This is what two doctoral students, Teemu Myllymäki from Aalto University and Kalle Lagerblom from the University of Helsinki, noticed while working on their PhDs in 2017.

"There were often situations where we needed to perform a certain type of analysis, but it was really difficult to find the right equipment. And then in the end, after a lot of searching, it would turn out that the device actually existed within the same university building," Myllymäki recalls.

Noticing that other researchers and industry professionals struggled with the same problem, Myllymäki and Lagerblom saw a business opportunity in making testing services more accessible. This is when they founded Measurlabs, a company that today boasts 700+ partner laboratories and a selection of 2000+ laboratory tests available through their website.

Easy availability of testing services is essential to growing a business

The services that Measurlabs offers support the growth of other innovative companies like Picosun and Sulapac. As new companies do not usually have the capacity to perform extensive R&D and quality assurance testing themselves, the easy availability of laboratory services is crucial to their success.

Measurlabs offers testing services to all kinds of industries from thin films to biorefinery and packaging materials. Their goal is to be a one-stop shop for buying measurements and to provide expert service throughout the process — from creating the testing plan to assisting in interpreting the results.

Foundations of success in the Espoo startup scene

Espoo-based Kiuas startup incubator was an integral part of the beginning of Measurlabs' success story. In the fall of 2017, Myllymäki and Lagerblom pitched their business idea at the Kiuas TeamUp pitch competition, placing second.

"Kiuas was an excellent start to our journey. The best part was the community of like-minded people, who dreamed big, and wanted to have a real impact on the world," Myllymäki says.

Having two founders with science PhDs was another important building block of success. Even though the stereotype of a doctoral researcher differs considerably from that of a startup entrepreneur, Myllymäki sees a lot of similarities between the two worlds.

"Working in academia as a PhD student is surprisingly similar to the early-stage startup hustle. You don’t know any of the answers so you do a lot of experiments, learn fast, and live in a continuous state of uncertainty. The best learning was what happened on a personal level: how to be productive and able to focus on the right things."

Giving back to the startup community

Measurlabs has come a long way from its early stages when Myllymäki and Lagerblom ran the company from a university backroom with the help of an Excel sheet. They now have more than 20 employees and are well on their way to surpassing a yearly revenue of 1.3 million euros.

As a former Kiuas graduate, Myllymäki thinks it's important to support other startup entrepreneurs in their journeys. This is why he now coaches early-stage startups in Kiuas himself.

"It's super rewarding to be able to share the learnings we've had from our early stages," he says.

When asked what advice he would give to other startup entrepreneurs, Myllymäki's answer is clear.

"You cannot learn entrepreneurship by any means other than by doing. You just have to start working on your idea and give it everything you have. Sometimes ideas and teams are successful and sometimes they are not. You'll never know if you don't try."

Image: Measurlabs