BiotechZone: Past project developed a marketplace for the biotech industry
BiotechZone was an online platform that aimed to revolutionize the way scientists purchase laboratory products and services. Only seven months after its inception, the platform had established itself as the go-to marketplace for the biotechnology industry, connecting certified vendors, service providers, and experts in the field of science. BIOMATDB is a project that aims to create a comprehensive database of biomaterials and their properties as well as a marketplace and digital advisors to support companies, especially SMEs, in offering their products and properly presenting themselves at global scale. In this article, the BiotechZone project will be presented and it is explored what insights can be gained from BiotechZone that can be relevant to the BIOMATDB project.
The world of science is constantly evolving, and technological advancements are playing a major role in this evolution. The project BiotechZone contributed to this evolution by addressing the needs of the biotechnology sector. BiotechZone, founded in 2016, was a B2B marketplace for biotechnology, life sciences, and laboratory technology, with verified suppliers, service providers, and science professionals. More specifically, the online platform sought to connect scientists with verified suppliers, service providers, and science professionals, allowing them to purchase laboratory products and services with greater transparency and speed. After seven months of existence, it had established a community of 22 manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers from 11 countries, offering more than 9,000 products and 500 services. The platform aimed to revolutionize the way scientists purchase laboratory products and services, serving a market that was expected to be worth 394 billion euros in 2017.
Despite its successful launch, BiotechZone experienced some challenges, which were caused by the reluctance of many customers to purchase online and the necessity of large-scale promotion of the project’s platform. Since the BiotechZone project operated in a similar market to that of biomaterials and medical devices – the market which BIOMATDB will focus on – these possible challenges will be taken under consideration by BIOMATDB in the process of development of the future project’s technical solutions. To minimize possible risks and ensure sufficient communication and dissemination of the project’s outcomes, BIOMATDB set up a project website, as well as a Twitter and LinkedIn channel at the very beginning of the project. Furthermore, a concerted strategy was developed to ensure regular promotion of the project through the social media channels, the website and the newsletter.
Apart from these lessons learned, one other key takeaway from the research on BiotechZone was the importance of providing a user-friendly and efficient platform for purchasing products and services. BiotechZone centralized and simplified the process of searching and purchasing, enabling researchers to buy directly from suppliers and compare products quickly and easily. Another valuable insight, which was gained though the launch of BiotechZone is the advantage of fostering a strong base of demanders to ensure the success of the platform. In order to ensure user-friendliness and to obtain the support of many demanders, BIOMATDB organized stakeholder surveys already in the first months of the project to be able to collect and feed the requirements, ideas, and wishes of future end users into the conceptualization of the biomaterial marketplace and the database from the very beginning.
By providing a specialized platform for biotechnology products and services, BiotechZone offered a unique opportunity for companies and institutions in this field to reach a global audience and expand their sales. Capitalizing upon this approach and by looking at other related projects and initiatives, BIOMATDB will seek to ensure that the planned biomaterial database and biomaterial marketplace will ultimately meet the demand on the market, fill the existing capability gaps and support future development activities in the field of biomaterials.
biotechnology, online marketplace, database, biomaterials, research, innovation