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Startup Spotlight: Transforming laboratory equipment acquisition with Questpair

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In this interview series, we take a closer look at the startups at the JADS Playground. We spoke to Teun Vissers, who evolved from scientific researcher to entrepreneur, bringing a unique perspective. Teun is a co-founder of Questpair, a startup changing how laboratory equipment is bought. We’ll explore Teun’s background, the story behind Questpair, and his thoughts on the startup scene at JADS.

Can you tell me about your background and your connection to JADS?

I started my career as a scientist, conducting research at universities. I originally studied chemistry in Nijmegen and then continued with a PhD in soft condensed matter physics in Utrecht.  In the years after, I moved to Rome (Sapienza University) for a postdoc in computer simulations and after that a fellowship at the University of Edinburgh on physics of living matter. My research background heavily involved data science experimentation.

“I co-founded QuestPair with a high school friend, Jan-Willem Verhees. We aim  to match equipment buyers with suitable instruments to perform their laboratory measurements and analyses. My scientific background has been instrumental in understanding the intricacies of this process. My partner brings a lot of experience in software development to the table which is invaluable in creating an online solution.”

Tell me about your startup, Questpair

“Our journey with QuestPair began when we noticed that purchasing laboratory equipment can be a frustrating experience. As researchers ourselves, we understood these challenges firsthand. There’s a lot of equipment out there, but buyers often struggle to find everything they need in one place. Information is scattered across different platforms, and it’s not always enough. This is particularly true for the growing market of used lab equipment.

So, we decided to find a better way, by making the distance from the start of a search to the actual purchase as small as possible.. Using advanced technologies such as natural language processing and large language models, we’ve built a comprehensive database of laboratory equipment. Our goal is to make it easier for researchers and lab managers to find what they need and simplify the buying process for sellers. QuestPair is a global platform that catalogues all available laboratory equipment and where it can be purchased. We provide examples of how the equipment has already been used in research and create a matching platform for buyers and sellers, focusing primarily on B2B interactions in the laboratory equipment sector, spanning both fundamental research, medical and commercial fields.

We are already adding features to  engage users through interactive questioning to better understand their requirements and make equipment suggestions.

We’re also exploring the possibility of expanding into consultancy services, where experienced professionals can provide insights and guidance based on their expertise.”

What is your connection to the JADS playground?

When I moved to the Netherlands from Scotland, I became involved in the local startup community and received support and guidance from organizations like BOM and the Brabant Startup Fund. We aimed to integrate more deeply into the AI and data science ecosystem, leading us to JADS.

The JADS playground has been an invaluable resource for us. Community events have facilitated connections with like-minded individuals, and we’ve benefitted from collaborations with JADS students and affiliates. Recently, we’ve also welcomed Harm Booy into our team, who studies data science in business and entrepreneurship at JADS. He is now involved in the development of data science algorithms and data-driven content marketing.

Our platform provides valuable insights for both buyers and sellers in the laboratory equipment market, and the ongoing testing and development process aligns well with the combination of data science and entrepreneurship at JADS.

What is unique about the Playground and JADS?

What sets JADS apart is its seamless integration of data science and entrepreneurship. While many institutions excel in scientific or technical aspects, JADS emphasizes practical applications and business relevance from an early stage, instilling a different and critical mindset in students that can be a strong advantage in many situations. 

Additionally, the connections and interactions facilitated by JADS, including those with industry professionals, contribute significantly to its uniqueness.

What advice would you give other Entrepreneurs?

I think that one of the biggest pitfalls for scientific foundersis falling in love with your technology without thoroughly assessing market needs. It’s crucial to validate the demand for your solution and pivot if necessary.

Finding a goodbalance between persistence and knowing when to switch strategies is essential. Entrepreneurship demands resilience, but it also requires the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. We’re not quite there yet, but I think we’re moving in the right direction!

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