We recently hosted a conversation between Julie Legault and Justin Pahara, Co-Founders of Amino Labs, and Hisham Ibrahim, Lean Startup Co. Faculty Member, focused on building a product designed to bring biotechnology — an area of science typically only accessible to experts in the field — to non-experts and beginners.
In Julie, Justin, and Hisham’s conversation, they discuss:
– How they discovered the problem with bringing biotechnology to beginners and how that led to the creation of Amino Labs.
– The iterative process they used to build a product that served their customer’s need, not their want.
– How they wrote a book about genetic engineering for beginners using an iterative process.
And much, much more…
When Julie Legault was a masters student at the MIT Media Lab, she was encouraged to try new things and to do things she wouldn’t normally do. So when Justin Pahara’s first startup, Synbiota, put on a workshop about a new technology called synthetic biology, Julie gave it a try.
For her, it was a game changer. “I just discovered something amazing and I can make projects with this,” she remembers thinking. She and her fellow grad students got really interested in synthetic biology and all of its applications, so they tried to utilize their new knowledge in MIT’s biotech lab. But that’s where Julie recognized a big problem in the biotech space — there was a huge barrier to entry. If you weren’t an expert, it was very difficult to learn or gain any type of experience in it.
Initially embarrassed by her inexperience, Julie turned the idea that there are no tools that allow beginners to get interested in biotechnology into her graduate thesis. She got overwhelmingly positive feedback, so she kept moving forward with the idea. Eventually, it led her to getting back in touch with Justin for his help and expertise in the area. Together, they founded Amino Labs, a company that builds hardware and provides experiences that makes bioengineering accessible to children and non-scientists.