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Startup spotlight: Graeme Fielder, Lab Trader NZ

Startup spotlight: Graeme Fielder, Lab Trader NZ

Graeme Fielder is mixing science and business nous in his new startup, an online market for used lab and technical equipment.

Graeme FielderMy first job was…  like many New Zealanders, selling potatoes from the vege garden at the front gate. Sales came from family members dropping by, probably out of pity.

And now I'm… the founder of Lab Trader NZ.

In a nutshell, we do… at Lab Trader NZ we connect researchers and their organisations, to enable them to buy and sell used scientific and technical laboratory equipment.

And we do it because… Dollars are hard to come by in science, budgets are tight. By providing a source of quality, affordable equipment and a channel to extract value from underutilised equipment, we enable researchers the means to achieve their desired technical capability, efficiently.

We started out… as a pivot on a previous entry into Spark, the University of Auckland Entrepreneurship Challenge, and launched two months ago. From my days in the research laboratory I realised the high cost of new equipment and the consequences of not being able to acquire it. Simultaneously, I observed that many research centres had pieces of equipment that were underutilised. A solution to both these experiences could be achieved simply by connecting them, connecting a buyer with a seller and vice versa.

And now… we have a range of customers including private businesses, universities and crown research institutes. We are currently brokering over $80k in equipment transactions and have saved researchers $20k so far.

Our philosophy is… to support the New Zealand research community by making lab equipment more affordable. 

Right now, we're focusing on… making sales and working with the procurement systems of research organisations.

The biggest business lesson we've learned… stop delaying yourself and just start your business now! This especially applies to web-based businesses where you can validate your market at low expensive these days. Focus on getting your minimal viable product or service in the hands of your customer ASAP.

If I wasn't doing this, I'd… be moonlighting as the founder of another startup.

I'm inspired by… young Kiwis starting businesses and taking on the global stage.  

Graeme Fielder is a business-savvy scientist, Spark & Chiasma alumnus, founder of Lab Trader NZ and  business development manager at the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research.

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