Research software creator scales up to meet global demand

A Cambridge business that creates research software for behavioural scientists has doubled staff numbers and turnover since COVID-19 restrictions made laboratory-based experiments impossible.

 

Cauldron Science co-founder Jo Evershed now has 10,000 licence users worldwide for an intuitive behavioural research platform, Gorilla Experiment Builder.

 

The company began the year with five employees and now has ten on the payroll.

 

To seize the opportunity Cauldron Science needed support around driving rapid growth while managing issues around capacity. Therefore Jo turned for support to Enterprise Europe Network’s senior innovation adviser, Kirsten Masson.

 

A strategy for scaling up

 

She had worked closely with Jo since she was named an Innovate UK Women in Innovation Award winner after launching the business in 2016.

 

When the universities were forced to close their labs, Kirsten was ideally placed to help Jo develop a strategy for scaling up and creating new roles to cope with the sudden growth.

 

Cauldron Science achieved its own ambitious yearly targets before August 2020 as turnover doubled.

 

Jo said: “Growing quickly is great but it can be really nerve-racking. EEN helped me take a step back and have the space and time to think strategically. I have learned that you cannot grow your business if you don’t think strategically.”

 

Looking to grow into other markets

 

The company is looking to enter other industries such as marketing, advertising and product design and is on course to achieve a ten-fold increase in profits within the next three years.

 

Gorilla Experiment Builder is used by many international universities and 40% of UK universities, including UCL, the University of Oxford, LSE and Cambridge University.

 

The need for virtual-experiment software during the pandemic drove a 200% increase in Cauldron Science’s client base and ensured a 100% renewal rate for existing licenses.

 

Those with licences for other lab-focused tools quickly switched to Gorilla software. It enabled important COVID-19 research to be carried out, yielding authoritative results to inform policy making.

 

The flexibility of the platform helps behavioural scientists gather data online, outside of the lab. This means they can trade small amounts of control and precision for a huge increase in representative samples and pace of research.