Start-up: Collaboration tool accelerates innovation
Most research is a closed book. Literally. Even advanced scientists document their work in old-fashioned paper notebooks, and the majority of their insights never leave the privacy of these pages. The start-up company “amie” wants to remedy this sorry state of affairs. They have created an electronic, searchable and shareable notebook for scientists, which connects to their equipment and data analysis tools. Starting their business in Copenhagen Science City provided amie with their first clients and some very appropriate beta-testers. By Jes Andersen.
Bleeding edge research. Antiquated documentation
Amie was founded out of frustration. Three young physicists were working in a University of Copenhagen team developing the world’s first workable quantum computer in part together with Microsoft. The work was about as bleeding edge as it gets, but even here, the researchers scribbled their documentation into paper notebooks. This led to a number of challenges, which amie hopes to fix with their tool, explains CEO Johannes Beil.
“We want to make sure, that researchers can document everything they do easily and keep an overview of what happened. This way, they never again lose or forget data while information about methods and results become easy to share across borders and in real-time. This should make it a lot easier to collaborate and a lot easier to hand over a project without losing valuable information and time”, says Beil and continues:
Ultimately we hope to help science progress faster, by making it easier to share”: Johannes Beil, CEO, amie.
Started business to build the tool they needed
The three founders, Henri Suominen, Giulio Ungaretti and Johannes Beil met in the Q-dev labs where they started discussing the idea of an electronic notebook for research in early 2016. After realising that no one else was going to build the tool they needed, they decided to do it themselves and started working full time on amie in August 2017. They have recently released a public beta of amie, which anyone can test for free on their website (Please note: Safari and Chrome are fully supported. Older browsers may not be)
Christmas party provided customers
The team found an office in the Copenhagen Science City start-up community COBIS (Copenhagen Bioscience Park). COBIS is right next to the University of Copenhagen with its many laboratories and state-of-the-art research equipment and although the company has no need for that, the location proved favourable, says Beil.
We could walk across the lawn to our former colleagues in QDev and test our ideas on them, but the best thing was the COBIS “Julefrokost” or Christmas party. There are almost 100 innovative companies in the start-up community, and we found our first customers, two biotech companies, just by talking about our product at the party”: Johannes Beil, CEO, amie.
International team chose Denmark
With a German, an Italian and a Finnish national in the founding team, amie is a company that could have established themselves anywhere in Europe. Beil says there were many good reasons for choosing Denmark over his native Germany, Giulios Italy and Henri’s Finland.
“It’s a very easy place to start a business with almost no red tape. Everyone speaks English, which is good for an international team like ours, and there is very little bureaucracy”, says Beil who is also impressed with the level of trust exhibited by Danes. “In Denmark, people generally assume that they can trust each other, even when they do business, which makes many practical tasks faster and easier. It’s not like that in Germany”, says Johannes Beil.
The joys of an innovation district
After a short spell in an inner city office, the start-up is now back. Amie has rented a former garage in a back yard bordering the innovation district and the team is happy to be back in a part of town where beta-testers, customers and a vibrant urban district are all within walking distance.