Benchling: Bringing Life to Life Sciences R&D

Aditya Agarwal, Amy Wu, Caroline Xie, Matthew Jacobson, and Sruthi Ramaswami | June 1, 2020

Made by scientists for scientists

When we first met Saji and Ashu, we were immediately impressed by their deep commitment to transforming the way scientists work. Saji and Ashu first identified this massive void as students at MIT, having observed their peers in the lab relying on older tools (in many cases, paper notebooks!). Valuable data would be siloed across numerous spreadsheets, users would switch between too many software products, and data would be updated manually — a stark contrast to the acceleration of collaboration in the broader technology industry.

What ensued over the years was an incredible pace of product innovation, deep collaboration with academic and industry partners, and an unrelenting belief that now is the time for cloud-based infrastructure to support life sciences research. Indeed, today, more than 230,000 scientists and 1,000 R&D organizations have standardized on Benchling as their platform of choice.

The fundamental insight that drew us to Benchling and its incredible team is that Benchling is the core system of record and engagement that can accelerate research and collaboration for organizations of all sizes, from small biotech startups to the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Benchling’s unified R&D platform addresses many important aspects of a scientist’s daily workflow, with a modern electronic lab notebook, molecular biology suite, registry, sample tracking and more.

We are excited about how Benchling enables cross-team collaboration with complete experimental context, centralized project management, one-click, automated workflows and rapid iteration. No longer do scientists need to rely on manual record keeping systems, legacy on-prem software, and siloed workflows. Delivering a modern system of record to power critical workflows in large, vertical markets is an exciting theme we have seen in other companies we have been fortunate to partner with, including Procore, ServiceTitan, Restaurant365, Truckstop, Zinier and Relativity.

"Managers noted that Benchling’s platform is very well integrated across its multiple modules, enables better monitoring and visibility, and allows researchers to leverage work from their peers."

Benchling is made by scientists for scientists. Unlike legacy platforms, Benchling is designed with a deep and meaningful understanding of the R&D process. This stood out to us in our conversations with customers, who highlighted the self-service, intuitive experience that is embedded in the Benchling platform. Managers noted that Benchling’s platform is very well integrated across its multiple modules, enables better monitoring and visibility, and allows researchers to leverage work from their peers. Customers were emphatic about how Benchling has improved their productivity; one customer even shared that they have seen a 15–20x increase in the amount of sequencing and experiments they are able to push through. Customers also see a 90% increase in user adoption over legacy systems and an 85% decrease in time from experimentation to data entry.

Given its roots in the MIT community, Benchling is very focused on ensuring that academic scientists can capitalize on their scientific potential and offers its product for free to academics and educators. Many students bring the product to their workplaces post-graduation, creating an incredible flywheel within the research ecosystem.

Above all, Benchling’s platform can meaningfully accelerate life science research for the benefit of humankind. The global biologics market is growing quickly (constituting more than 40% of pharmaceutical pipelines today), and modern biology is producing data at a vastly greater quality and complexity than before. Benchling is well positioned to drive mission-critical applications of cutting-edge biotechnologies in healthcare, agriculture and other industries. In particular during these unprecedented times, Benchling is making a very real, critical impact as they empower scientists to characterize the COVID-19 virus and develop diagnostics, vaccines and treatments at a faster pace than ever seen before. Benchling is also offering its full platform pro bono to any COVID-19 testing lab.

The entrepreneurs we work with at ICONIQ are deeply passionate about accelerating progress in science and healthcare through technology and have dedicated meaningful resources to these efforts. We could not be more thrilled and grateful to join Saji, Ashu and the Benchling team on the journey ahead. Innovation in science & technology is the foundation to advancing humanity, and we are excited to partner with the next generation of transformative healthcare IT companies.