In December 1985, The New York Times published an article on how the laptop computer was a failure. The article is very interesting, not only for us working in innovation, and highlight the challenges of marketing the visions of entrepreneurs and their products.
"The limitations come from what people actually do with computers, as opposed to what the marketers expect them to do. On the whole, people don't want to lug a computer with them to the beach or on a train to while away hours they would rather spend reading the sports or business section of the newspaper." - The New York Times
Bento Bio might meet similar challenges in their mission to make bio available to everyone. They have developed what they call the bento lab, a personal laboratory, complete with a PCR machine, a centrifuge and gel electrophoresis.
While the innovative device is still in development, with specifications changing frequently, the current model is 30cm x 21cm x 5cm and weighs 3 kg. The centrifuge has a speed of 12,000 rpm and fit 0.2ml and 1.5ml tubes, while the thermocycler can fit 12 samples of 0.2ml tubes. The gel electrophoresis can be set at 100V.
For anyone who has ever worked in a lab, there is no doubt that the device has huge potential. The ultimate goal of providing bio to everyone could yield new interest in the field, ultimately leading to new research findings or improving current procedures in healthcare. However, there are marketing challenges to the device. Cutting-edge scientists are heavily dependent on quality and reproducability and are more likely to use established brands. Getting market shares would require extensive testing and marketing funds. Depending on price, however, it could be much easier to target students or other niche markets that don't require the same quality measures.
"But the real future of the laptop computer will remain in the specialized niche markets. Because no matter how inexpensive the machines become, and no matter how sophisticated their software, I still can't imagine the average user taking one along when going fishing." - The New York TimesThe startup is confident in their vision to bring bio to everyone, and it will be exciting to follow their future and specially their marketing strategies. As seen with laptops though, it might take some time to change consumer behavior and create a need for such a device.
The bento lab is currently in testing, and the team is looking for people from different backgrounds to join their beta-testing program. If you want to join the testing, please send an email to Bento Bio and tell them how you want to use it.