We have just found out that CiteAb has been shortlisted for the Bath Business Award for the ‘Innovative Startup Business of the Year’.

As you can imagine, we’re all thrilled to have our work recognised in this way. We think CiteAb is great, but it is always great when others see the potential that we do!

logoFor those who don’t already know us well, we thought we’d share our story with you. CiteAb was initially the brainchild of University of Bath biology researcher Dr Andrew Chalmers who was frustrated by the time and money wasted finding the right antibodies for his laboratory.

Andrew approached Bath web development company and future business partners, Storm Consultancy, with a proposal to create a new company focused on solving this problem.

What started out as a small-scale project grew quickly in its first months. CiteAb was first launched to researchers in March 2013, and by May 2013 we were listing 1 million antibodies and had made connections around the world. Fast forward to January 2014 and we spun CiteAb out of the University of Bath and became CiteAb Ltd, and just last month we announced the listing of our 2 millionth antibody!

The past year has definitely been a whirlwind, and we’ve loved meeting and speaking with many of you as we’ve grown as a resource. There are now six of us at CiteAb towers – you might have already spoken to our founder Andy, our CEO David, our business development manager Matt, our technical leads Adam and Paul or our marketing lead Katrina.

A key technical challenge when we were developing CiteAb was the quantity of data that had to be collected from different sources and homogenised. We list over 2 million antibodies, making us the world’s largest antibody database. We also list 180,000 publications, 411,000 citations and 109 antibody suppliers. All this data must be stored in comparable formats so that ratings are possible. Adam and Paul met the challenge by building an architecture that was able to respond quickly and accurately to many different complex searches.

Obviously a service like CiteAb has to be monetised in order to operate in the long-term. Other search services available to researchers tend to operate on potentially biased business models – either allowing antibody suppliers to pay to be top-rated or basing their rankings on reviews which can be flawed or difficult to collect. Researchers are aware of this, so it was really important to us that CiteAb remained impartial and is able to give them the confidence they need to make an informed buying decision.

For that reason, here at CiteAb we use an alternative business model which doesn’t allow for any influence from antibody suppliers. Instead, we sell world class custom data sets to antibody companies.

These sets are able to tell which countries are investing most in bioscience research, which companies are seeing growth or decline, which antibodies are most successful, which areas of bioscience research are seeing growth and much more. This is information that antibody companies require to make investment and marketing decisions, but this business model also ensures we never compromise on our promise of impartiality that we make to researchers.

We also offer paid-for profiles for antibody companies. All of the antibodies listed on CiteAb are listed for free to ensure as many as possible are available for researchers. However, some of the companies listing choose to enhance their profile on CiteAb – this doesn’t increase the ranking of their antibodies but does allow them to display their logo and other company details once a researcher clicks through to one of their products.

Since the launch of CiteAb as a resource for researchers in March 2013 the site has attracted hundreds of thousands of unique users from over 150 countries. Users have come from major universities like Oxford and Harvard, research institutes like MIT in the USA or Karolinska in Sweden, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies like GSK and Pfizer. A large percentage of users return to the site, proving that they find the resource useful.

We think CiteAb is a prime example of a disruptive technology product which is helping to reshape the way people interact with their industry and we’re all very enthusiastic about its potential. We’re really looking forward to working with you, and are excited about where the company will be by the end of 2014.

~Katrina and the CiteAb team