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Part 2: Bento Lab Interview

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alistair

marketing, music and design @Alistair_Read1
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Part 2

The Kickstarter seems to be doing really well?

It’s really blown us away – we were confident that we were going to reach our target but we didn’t expect it to be reached in 33 hours! Now we’re at 250% with 20 days to go. It’s interesting to see where we go from here because there’s so much infrastructure for this aspect of biology to built on – so its hard to know where to even start.

I think what’s also been exciting is the number of applications that come out of having a bit of publicity. Yesterday I had a conversation with a doctor, they have to send all their tests off to America to be sampled. He’s a gynaecologist, he works with young girls that have been raped and they never have enough evidence to demonstrate that has happened, so that’s much further down the line but you start to see that when you push for cheaper and accessible DNA tools you enable a lot of technologies that we take for granted but don’t necessarily apply elsewhere.

Is this a long-term project or a one-off?

We hope it will be a longterm thing, obviously that is not just for us to decide but also the market as well. The Kickstarter has been a real great vote of confidence, which has been fantastic. For now, we have a sense of mission and we definitely want to get to a point where we feel like we have accomplished a great chunk of that infrastructure we wanted to build.

What was your major in undergraduate?

My background is in computer science, but since the first year of my undergraduate, I have been very interested in biotechnologies and did some research on computational approaches to biology – that’s how we met as well.

I started off in science and am still in science and along the way was involved in social enterprise and science outreach, the two have kind of combined with what we’re doing with Bento Lab. I’ve always been a project/entrepreneurial person, even if it wasn’t companies, from making computer games and making productions and so on. I think I’ve always, even as a student, been itching for a project to do. So for me it was totally natural.

There was definitely a big decision at some point last year because really, we were a group/project for some time but to become a company – we’ve always thought about that but we never really made that step until last year. And for me it was a decision – do I start a PHD now or do we do this company. We both felt, or definitely I felt, if we weren’t going to do it now – we were never going to do it and it was the right time.

Posted 10th Apr 2016
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