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Investing in 'lab-on-a-chip' tech from RAB-Microfluidics

Investing in 'lab-on-a-chip' tech from RAB-Microfluidics

Our work with RAB-Microfluidics has helped the company perfect its cutting edge ‘lab-on-a-chip’ technology. RAB’s lubricating oil testing system is one thousand times faster than usual methods and can dramatically cuts costs for marine companies. From investment to weekly mentorship, learn about the kinds of support we offer.

RAB-Microfluidics is the brainchild of Rotimi Alabi, an Aberdeen University graduate from Nigeria who turned his PhD into a business idea.

He and his team developed ‘lab-on-a-chip’ technology which tests lubricating oil samples from heavy machinery, such as pumps and generators, at sea. Samples can then be analysed on site instead of being shipped to onshore laboratories.

Making conventional laboratory procedures rapid, mobile and routine, the technology helps companies save on costs and time.

Rotimi explains: “We’re a technology company that help diagnose early signs of failure in lubricated heavy machinery and prevent such failure from occurring by delivering lubricating oil analysis in real-time. This is more than 1000 times faster and around ten times cheaper than the current approach, which is based on sending oil samples to laboratories.”

Supporting an innovative vision

Account Manager Paul Crookshanks has co-ordinated our support of the business, which showed huge promise from the outset. “The team has grown an idea into a product ready for an international market, and one which has shown great innovation throughout,” says Paul.

Our support began with the High Growth Ventures support programme which progressed technological developments, validated market opportunities and raised investment. It also allowed Alabi to develop his leadership team.

This support is continuing, with help from Scaling Services alongside advice and Growth Investments guidance.

Practical guidance for growth

The company also took part in Unlocking Ambition, Scottish Enterprise’s flagship business growth and leadership programme, which offers participants an intensive line-up of entrepreneurial masterclasses.

As Director of Commercialisation at RAB, Jamie receives ongoing strategic support from us. “We have a monthly meeting and I always have a list of things I am doing – sometimes it’s Paul just saying where we he can support us, in other cases I may ask him a direct question.”

Our day-to-day relationship transcends funding, says Jamie. “The support is what’s most valuable. I’m doing the Scottish Enterprise Entrepreneurial Academy workshops – they're fantastic. I've been doing presentations and building branding and sales – putting it in to practice.

"I’ve done things like this in the past, but these are very focussed workshops and there’s good interaction and networking opportunities with other businesses."

Our role as investor

Jamie’s in no doubt that the support he and his colleagues have received has been crucial. It has helped the team develop the technology as well as the plans to expand it to other industries in the future to sectors like manufacturing, renewables and power.

As the company begins trading its product, Jamie has looked for help with going to trade shows. “I wanted to go to Norway to exhibit in the Scottish pavilion. Paul put me in touch with the overseas development people at Scottish Enterprise and within seven days we had approval for a grant. That was invaluable. It opened us up to dozens of clients who'd otherwise be very difficult to meet in one go.”


Scottish Enterprise is a co-investor in the business. This has been a really big help. We have a representative who comes to our board meetings and gives us on-the-spot advice. We give them an update and they say whether it looks good – they’re always there for us when we need them.

Jamie Grant (right), Director of Commercialisation, RAB-Microfluidics

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