KLP Resident: Biomatters
What they do: Software toolset for Molecular Biologists
Company HQ: Auckland, New Zealand
Matthew Landry: CTO
Top three apps: Google Maps, Google Mail and Google Voice
Quick bite near the KLP office: Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building
Favourite SF Nabe: North Beach
Tech prediction for 2013: More use of cloud based services for informatics
What does Biomatters do?
Our primary product line is a desktop software application called Geneious. It’s kind of like a Microsoft Office for Molecular Biologists. So it’s a broad set of computational tools for data management, visualisation, presentation, and image generation. Tools that a Molecular Biologist would use in order to do computational analysis of DNA, proteins, etc.
Is your software mainly used in the academic sphere?
It is very research focussed, so we have a very strong presence in the academic field. We’re in all 25 of the top 25 Universities of the world, and 90 out of 100 of the health R&D centers. There are of course a lot of companies that use our software as well, but the heavy R&D focus most often puts us in government research labs and universities.
Tell us about Biomatters presence in the US?
We have an office on the East Coast in Newark, and a virtual sales office here in San Francisco. Both the CEO and I really like San Francisco, and our regional sales director is based here. The Kiwi Landing Pad makes San Francisco a really convenient place for us to have a desk, have an address and a place to come, sit down, do interviews, have meetings, and spend our time here well.
Has having a presence in San Francisco benefitted Biomatters?
Absolutely, I think it’s a combination of probably three factors:
1. There’s a lot of university activity in our particular industry, and the colleges in this area (UC Berkeley and Stanford) are very well known in Biotech.
2. There is a lot of commercial industry here.
3. It’s a great area for us to identify and accrue talent.
Does Biomatters recruit in the SF Bay Area?
We’d like to do more of it. Traditionally we’ve been highly focussed in Auckland. But the reason that i’m here this week is that we’re wrapping up a new product line, and I think there’s good reason to have two development teams. If we’re going to have a remote development team, it needs to be in San Francisco.
Are you primarily looking at San Francisco because of the software talent?
It’s a combination of a few things. There is good customer prospecting here, and the talent is unequaled in terms of application development. San Francisco is the best place for that. You pay for it, but that’s because it’s the best.
On top of the talent, there’s a direct flight from Auckland, so it’s easy to get in and get out. And the time difference isn’t that bad. It’s pretty much the most convenient place in the US to get to from Auckland.
What’s going on for Biomatters in 2013?
We’re bringing out a new product line called the Molecular Profiler, and we’ve just launched a BETA of the application. There’s a new development that one of the big hardware providers in this space has developed a sort of App Store for Bio Informatics. We’re one of the early companies to launch an app in the store, and we feel pretty strongly that industry trends speak to the app store making sense in Bio Informatics. Go figure. So we’re going to be focussing on strengthening up that new product line.
Is your new product line cloud based?
The Molecular Profiler is totally cloud based, HTML5 web apps, and all of the data stored remotely.
What do your customers like about your software?
The ease of use and the user experience, which is really second to none. We leverage a lot of open source algorithmic techniques. It’s a heavy science based field with a lot of demand for peer reviewed open source algorithms underlying the analysis. But the way you access them, and they way you organise and work with your data, is wholly up to the user interface of the application. And that’s where we’ve had a lot of strength, because why spend a lot of money on software if you could get that same thing for free? It’s a matter of how frustrating and how time consuming that free version is, versus using ours, which is a well designed and well constructed tool.