Newable Ventures client profile – RAB Microfluidics
RAB-Microfluidics is a technology company that has developed a microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology to diagnose early signs of failure in lubricated heavy machinery.

The company was founded in August 2016 by Dr Rotimi Alabi following his seminal research on industrial oil analysis during his PhD at the University of Aberdeen.

RAB Microfluidics seeks to help businesses who own and operate heavy machinery across a multitude of sectors, like main engines in shipping vessels or gear boxes in wind turbines, by providing analytics 1000 times faster and 10 times cheaper than current lab sample practices. According to a Frost and Sullivan Report in 2015, companies that rely on heavy machinery including shipping lines and power suppliers spend over £2Bn every year on Oil Condition Monitoring with a further £2Bn spent on equipment failures and breakdowns.

Since founding RAB Microfluidics, the company has established a growing customer base of leading firms across the shipping, power generation and aerospace sectors.

What is the RAB offering?

RAB Microfluidics provide a hardware, software and data analytics offering to businesses who own and operate heavy rotating lubricated machineries. The hardware is provided on an annual rental basis with the software and data analytics provided using a SaaS model.

Monitored oil condition data from the machinery is collected using the RAB-Microfluidics hardware and then aggregated and synthesised with the operational data to establish a rich understanding of the machine’s condition in real-time. This information is then transmitted to a web-based platform (accessible from any location) where it is analysed and visualised for end-users to monitor machinery condition.

A start-up’s first years can be very challenging, how has the journey been so far?

There are several reasons businesses, especially those in the technology space, struggle in the first few years. Most technology start-ups seek to use new, unproven and often untested technologies to address challenges. By virtue of this, there is always a requirement to establish reliability in the technology, carry the end-user and market along, displace incumbents, build a team, and do all of this, with little or no funding.

Often entrepreneurs do not have the relevant experience to set up a business and as a result have to learn on the job. When we founded RAB-Microfluidics we ensured that we established as a founding team, the things we did not know about running a company, or establishing our technology, and then the forms of support we would need to build a world class business. We are on the path to doing this due to the support we are getting from the ecosystem we have embedded ourselves in, from investors like Newable, to our advisory board, angel network, incubators, the list goes on.

How important is support from investors for RAB?

The life blood of any business is money. Investors are one group of people that have access to financial resources, so it is critical to be able to convince them to buy into your vision for the company. For RAB Microfluidics, we had reached the stage in 2020, where we needed £1.2m of investment. That’s where Newable stepped in and worked with us to refine our pitch to investors, and then they provided us with £510,000 of investment!

As a result of Newable’s investment, the company can now kick on and reach the next stage of developing our manufacturing prototype and commercialise RAB Microfluidics’ first product by March 2022. We count ourselves as lucky to have been able to secure support from investors like Newable who believe in our mission, and who are personally supportive of my vision for the company. One of the added benefits of securing investment from a thriving angel network like Newable, is the experience and expertise that investors can bring to the table to advise and guide the company in the right direction.

What have you learnt about being an entrepreneur?

It is hard work to create value and to make a dent in the world, but it can be very rewarding when you are on the path to making that dent in the world, and hopefully being able to successfully achieve your vision.

Can you tell us more about your recent fundraise and things to come?

We recently closed a £1.2m fundraising round in December 2020 led by EOS Advisory, an angel group based in Scotland, which included a £510,000 investment from Newable Ventures, including matched funding from British Business Investments. We will now be looking to use this funding to fuel our next stage of commercialisation growth and expect to launch our product in Q1 2022, so it is a very exciting time for us.

Newable’s Welcomes RAB

Avantika Gupta, NVL’s associate investment director reacted to the completion of RAB’s Pre-Series A round by noting;

“NVL are delighted to have been given the opportunity to invest in RAB Microfluidics. Working with Rotimi has been an absolute pleasure, not least because of his enthusiasm and belief that his product can revolutionise oil testing in industrial settings. I would like to congratulate Rotimi and the rest of the RAB team on the success of their investment round, and take this opportunity to welcome RAB into the Newable group”.

Dr Rotimi Alabi, adds;

“The dedication and support shown by the Newable team during the investment process has been amazing. This investment is a key milestone in RAB’s history as it will enable the company to secure regulatory approval for our product before we go to market in 2021. I would like to thank the Newable Ventures team for the confidence that you have placed in us as a company, and we look forward to working closely with you in the coming months”

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