Q&A with Instatype
Instatype have created a needle-free, point-of-care blood group testing device that is 8 times faster than the current model, saving thousands of lives and millions of litres of rare blood type reserves. See them pitch at the Imperial Showcase on April 27th.
What was the point of inspiration for your innovation?
Quite simply put: Burgers. After a day and a half of intense brainstorming and countless discarded ideas at a weekend-long bio-hackathon event where our team members met, we decided to call it a day and get dinner together at GBK. The other teams had made a fair bit of progress, and it was clear that our chances were slim given that we only had the next morning before the closing pitches for the event. At the brink of throwing in the towel, the idea came to us during a final round of brainstorming over some burgers. We got an early start the next morning, made one hell of a comeback, delivered a killer pitch, and the rest was history.
How did you come together as a team?
We were formed at the start of July 2015 when our five current team members met at the Bioversity Hackathon and defined the idea. We quickly realised that our group shares a passion and skillset for the application of biotechnology to medical devices, and were particularly interested in developing a device analysing blood extracted with minimally invasive technology. With this in mind, we explored numerous options (which were discarded at an early stage) and settled on blood grouping, given the market size and potential for disruptive innovation.
What has your journey been since then? How has the VCC helped?
Encouraging preliminary research, a successful first pitch, and continued momentum from the group initiated our project. Since then, our solution has progressed through numerous conceptual iterations as hypotheses have been tried and tested over the course of Bioversity’s five-week accelerator, Synbicite’s Lean LaunchPad programme, the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s Student Challenges Competition, Oxford Biotech’s BioStars competition, and most recently the Venture Catalyst Challenge. The VCC specifically has really helped us to clarify our value proposition, identify our target market, size our market and refine our pathway to commercialisation. Additionally it has enabled us to establish numerous vital contacts & secure office space at the Imperial College Incubator for the coming 12 months.
What is the vision for your company?
Our vision is to bring blood grouping to the bedside with a solution that is convenient, fast, cost-effective, safe, virtually painless, user-friendly & efficient.