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29: Driving innovation by Sharing Equipment with Johannes Solzbach from Clustermarket

15MWTD - Clustermarket
On this episode, Vinay is joined by Johannes, CEO of Clustermarket, an online sharing platform connecting researchers in the science and healthcare space to scientific equipment on-demand at leading institutions. The ability to share and book equipment online enables access to tools that can help people innovate faster. Learn about Clustermarket’s why, how and what.

Topics Covered in this Episode:

  • Identifying the Problem
  • Equipment
  • How it Works?
  • Income Generation
  • Building Partnerships

Identifying the Problem

  • People in the life sciences field have ideas but often don’t have the equipment they need with high barriers to entry.
  • One of the co-founders realised the need when he was conducting experiments in the lab and didn’t have instruments needed but wondered ‘what would happen’ if he had what he needed on demand.
  • They pitched the idea to universities and pharmaceutical companies and conducted a pilot.

“We believe innovation is limited to those who have done it before, have a strong track record and are selected by a few gatekeepers who provide money to purchase resources to hit milestones and prove an innovation.”


  • Equipment type ranges from pre-clinical research to lab space.
  • They have 2500 instruments available on the platform from basic equipment such as centrifuges to specialised equipment such as microscopes worth millions.

How it works?

  • Scientist wants to do research.
  • Scientist signs up on platform free of charge and can search for service or equipment needed.
  • Scientist is able to see where service or equipment is available.
  • Request access and communicate with provider through the platform to answer all questions.
  • Lab manager can pre-approve and then requester agrees to the terms and provides payment.
  • Equipment can be offered from providers with training, a technician or full service.

“We thought why don’t we use existing resources more sustainably and efficiently to create more outcome.”

Income Generation

  • The platform model is similar to Airbnb and other online marketplaces.
  • Income is generated from the commission of successful transactions.
  • Platform can be used internally within institutions for a subscription fee.

Building Partnerships

  • University College of London bought into the idea because they had purchased a lot of equipment that wasn’t being used efficiently.
  • As more universities came on board, trust was built with universities and lab managers in regards to the model.
  • Relationships are important to build trust with both the lab managers as well as the end-user.
  • Over 280 companies and over 450 labs are using the platform in both large and smaller universities.
  • Analysis indicates the potential of getting into over 10,000 labs first in the European and then the global market with the primary goal of opening collaboration opportunities.

For more information:

Website: https://www.clustermarket.com/
Email: jsolzbach@clustermarket.com

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