Science Exchange (company)

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Science Exchange
Industry Science
Online marketplace
Founded 2011
Founders Elizabeth Iorns, Dan Knox, Ryan Abbott
Headquarters Palo Alto, California, U.S.
Key people
Elizabeth Iorns (Founder & CEO)
Dan Knox (Co-founder)
Number of employees
21 (Nov 2014)[1]

Science Exchange is an online service that allows scientists to outsource their research to scientific institutions such as university facilities or commercial contract research organizations.[2][3] The online science marketplace was founded in 2011 by Elizabeth Iorns, Ryan Abbott, and Dan Knox and is located in Palo Alto, California. Science Exchange took part in the startup accelerator program Y Combinator in the summer of 2011.[2][3][4][5]


In 2011, while an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Iorns came up with the idea for Science Exchange after needing to conduct immunology experiments, but having difficulty finding potential collaborators or providers to work with.[6][7] Iorns formed Science Exchange with Knox and Abbott, and the company applied for a place in the Y Combinator startup accelerator program.[5] The company was accepted into the Summer 2011 batch of Y Combinator and launched the first version of its website in August 2011.[5] In 2012 Iorns was recognized by the Kauffman Foundation for her role in starting Science Exchange.[8][9][10]

Business model[edit]

Science Exchange functions like a freelance marketplace utilizing a model similar to Elance or ODesk. A researcher posts an experiment they would like to outsource and then receives bids from experimental service providers. The researcher selects a bid, and Science Exchange facilitates communication, project management and payment via its platform.[5][6][11] The company receives a service fee based on the value of the project.[5]


Reproducibility initiative[edit]

In August 2012 Science Exchange partnered with the open-access scientific publisher Public Library of Science (PLOS) to launch the Reproducibility Initiative, a program developed to assist researchers in validating their findings by repeating their experiments through independent laboratories.[2][12][13] The program is facilitated by the Science Exchange platform, which matches scientists with experimental service providers according to areas of expertise. Iorns has been a longtime spokesperson on the issue of reproducibility in academic research.[10][14]

Independent validation program[edit]

On 30 July 2013 Science Exchange launched a program with reagent supplier, based in Aachen, Germany, to independently validate research antibodies.[15][16] [17]


In June 2011, Science Exchange received a $100,000 investment from StartFunds' Yuri Milner, a $50,000 investment from angel investor Ron Conway, and a $20,000 investment from Y Combinator as part of participating in the startup accelerator program. In December 2011 the company announced it had closed a $1.5-million seed financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz.[3][4][5][18][19] In May 2013 the company closed a $4-million Series A financing round led by Union Square Ventures, Tim O'Reilly's O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and several leading angel investors including Esther Dyson, Joshua Schachter, Lisa Gansky and Yuri Milner.[20][21][22][23] In March 2016 the company announced it had closed a $25-million Series B financing round led by Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital.[24]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Sharon Begley (14 August 2012), More trial, less error: An effort to improve scientific studies, Reuters, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  3. ^ a b c MixRank,, Science Exchange, Sprintly, Financial Post, 7 December 2011, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  4. ^ a b Ron Leuty (2 September 2011), Market for Science, San Francisco Business Times, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Jason Kincaid (16 August 2011), YC-Funded Science Exchange: A Central Marketplace For Core Research Facilities, TechCrunch, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  6. ^ a b Zoë Corbyn (19 August 2011), An eBay for Science, Nature, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  7. ^ Leading a Movement to Change the Pace of Scientific Research, Scientific American, 2 April 2012, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  8. ^ 2012 Kauffman Foundation Postdoctoral Entrepreneur Awards Recognize Entrepreneurship Excellence in Researchers, Kauffman Foundation, 14 March 2012, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  9. ^ Ron Leuty (27 April 2012), One-on-one with Science Exchange's Elizabeth Iorns, San Francisco Business Times, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  10. ^ a b David Zax (4 April 2012), Dropping Some Science: Scientists, Ditch The Academy And Become Entrepreneurs, Fast Company, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  11. ^ Alex Campbell (15 September 2011), Online Marketplace Helps Professors Outsource Their Lab Research, The Chronicle of Higher Education, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  12. ^ Carl Zimmer (14 August 2012), Good Scientist! You Get a Badge, Slate, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  13. ^ Reproducibility Initiative to Increase the Value of Biomedical Research, Bio IT World, 17 August 2012, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  14. ^ Elizabeth Iorns (6 April 2012), The Need for Reproducibility in Academic Research, Science Exchange, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  15. ^ Meredith Wadman (31 July 2013), NIH mulls rules for validating key results, Nature, retrieved 8 August 2013 
  16. ^ Nicola Kurth (March 23, 2014). "Rettet die Wissenschaft". Spiegel Online. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  17. ^ Jeffrey M. Perkel (March 2014). "The Antibody challenge". BioTechniques. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  18. ^ Jason Kincaid (2 December 2011), Science Exchange’s Marketplace For Research Facilities Gets A $1.5 Million Boost, TechCrunch, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  19. ^ Ron Leuty (5 December 2011), Science Exchange Raises $1.5 M, San Francisco Business Times, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  20. ^ Peter Kafka (29 April 2013), Science Exchange Raises $3 Million to Help Outsource Experiments, AllThingsD, retrieved 3 May 2013 
  21. ^ Andy Weissman (29 April 2013), Science Exchange, USV, retrieved 3 May 2013 
  22. ^ Bryce Roberts (29 April 2013), Our Investment in Science Exchange, OATV, retrieved 3 May 2013 
  23. ^ Science Exchange (30 April 2013), Science Exchange Series A Financing, Science Exchange, retrieved 3 May 2013 
  24. ^ Sarah Buhr (23 March 2016), Science Exchange moves into big pharma with $25 million in Series B funding, TechCrunch, retrieved 30 March 2016 

External links[edit]