Sabine Louët is the founder and CEO of SciencePOD, the Dublin-based company that provides a collaborative content creation platform, which offers organisations related to science, medicine, technology and innovation, the solution to scale their editorial capabilities. It helps them streamline the process of creating any content about their products and activities without incurring additional overheads.
Her career in science and technology publishing spans 20 years. It includes experience working for international science publishing houses in London, New York and Connecticut, such as the Nature Publishing Group (owned by Macmillan, now part of Springer Nature)—where she was the News Editor for the international peer-reviewed journal Nature Biotechnology—and strategic pharma intelligence publishing house Windhover (now part of Informa). She originally trained in Fundamental Physics, at both the University of Strasbourg, France and Imperial College, London, UK.
GoINPHARMA™: Sabine, thank you for sitting down with us to talk about your company and the idea behind. How did it begin and what has been the journey so far?
Sabine Louët: SciencePOD was founded in October 2014 in Dublin, Ireland. Having worked for prestigious international science publishers, I noticed that organisations, such as research institutes, NGOs or industry, did not always find it easy to have their scientific or technology work covered in accessible language through high-quality articles.
This means they were missing out on communicating to the people who matter to them—be it experts outside their own field to collaborate on multidisciplinary research, business partners, collaborators, customers, patients or even the wider public. I felt this was a shame that so much exciting research and innovation was happening globally both in industry and academia that was not understood by the very people who ultimately would benefit from it.
The key stumbling block was the accessibility of talented publishing professionals and the know-how to tell their story. I had the idea to gather a community of science writers capable of explaining the science, and editors perform a quality control step to ensure that the final digital content telling their story was delivered at international publishing standards. As a physicist by training, I have had a growing interest for the application of physics in technology. And as internet technologies developed and traditional businesses migrated to the cloud, there was clearly an opportunity to bridge the lack of readily available professional writers and editors—dubbed content creators—to help organisations tell their story in simple terms. Besides, by creating an international network of content creators, I also addressed the need for communication to happen in people’s native language and not always in English.
GoINPHARMA™: Our readers are very much focused on the pharmaceutical sector, and in this sense I wanted to ask you what are the challenges your team faces when it comes to writing and editing for this sector?
Sabine Louët: Our content creators each have a topic expertise. When they cover biotech or pharma, they would have at least a degree in a related field, if not a PhD, as well as first-hand experience in publishing. They combine a dual expertise, which allows them not only to understand the science and the regulatory constraints but also to tell their story in a clear and concise manner. We have already worked with MedTech multinationals and some biotech start-ups and we are very conscious of the regulatory pressure a lot of companies operate under. We always work as an adjunct editorial capacity to existing team. We are used to listening to their expectations and making sure we establish a clear brief that is very detailed to guide our content creators. Ultimately, this is the best way to deliver content meeting their expectations.
GoINPHARMA™: You mentioned before that SciencePOD benefits from a network of 350 professional science writers whose activities and interactions with clients are managed by your own cloud, how does this complex structure work?
Sabine Louët: The SciencePOD platform transposes to the cloud a process that used to happen via email and through uploading and downloading of attachments at every step in the process. Given the web technologies available today, it appears to be a rather antiquated process. So we set out to change that and make the life of thousands of people commissioning quality content every day easier. Our platform offers the possibility to seamlessly order content to our talent pool and monitor the content creation process. This means that once clients have defined the type and volume of content they need, and ordered a bundle, we can triggers the creation of the content that clients have chosen over the lifetime of the bundle.
Our clients have two options. The first, Managed Content Creation, is for clients who do not want to get involved and let our in-house commissioning editors order the content on their behalf after an initial brainstorming to define their needs. The second option will be available once we have enhanced our platform, next year. Our clients who wish to do will have the convenience of using the SciencePOD platform to order their own content to our talent pool and monitor its progress in a transparent and accountable manner.
GoINPHARMA™: Your big network of professional writers and the cloud remind us of the new business model called “shared economy (i.e. Uber and Airbnb), can you list the new benefits that a company that approaches you could experience?
Sabine Louët: Yes, you are right. In fact SciencePOD’s cloud-based platform allows teams of these professionals, located in widely distributed areas, to be assembled and work collaboratively in a single virtual space. The benefits are manifolds: the SciencePOD platform makes it convenient to search and allocate each job to the right team depending on need. As such, SciencePOD offers flexibility without the overheads. The work of each content creator in the team can be tracked, providing ongoing quality control and more effective collaboration. Indeed, our editorial process is transparent, providing progress accountability in real time. The platform allows clients — from the communication, product, medical or marketing teams, for example — to review any content in the cloud before it is finalised.
To deliver the right content, our clients have access to a widely diverse network of writers, who can meet their needs as these evolve. One day they may need a diabetes writer and the next someone who writers about oncology. This means that they no longer need to rely on a single regular writer whose expertise cannot be as wide as the collective expertise of that our talent pool offer. The expertise of content creators spans the entire gamut of scientific, technological and medical disciplines. Another benefit is that our network of content creators extends to geographically diverse areas, thus providing access to the right editorial talent in the right location. Our journalists and writers form a global community with multiple language skills. The world is our clients’ oyster!
GoINPHARMA™: And now I would like we talk about the future: what comes next? Moreover, are you up for a finance round?
Sabine Louët: We are in the process of scaling the company up. This requires an investment, which we are seeking to get through a crowdfunding campaign. This has generated huge interest on both the part of the publishing industry and the biopharma sector. In the latter, there are clear needs to communicate the complexity of the work performed in the biopharma industry. People have experienced the problem we address and see the solution we bring as adding value.
The beauty of this idea is its replicability. We are actually expanding our business horizontally by gaining more clients in various R&D-based industries and adding more languages or territories. But we can easily expand vertically by entering completely new sectors beyond science.
If you look at the market the numbers are pretty rosy. The market is growing at an incredible pace, in fact the estimated growth rate for the next few years is 15% per annum and we are aiming at the top 3% of this multi-billion market. We are definitely surfing on that wave. Now, we are asking people to become part of our story by investing in us now, so that we realise our full growth potential and help them deliver clear, concise, compelling content. And we definitely can help professionals in the Pharma sector communicate in a more compelling way.
SciencePOD makes specialised scientific and technological ideas accessible to both lay and other targeted audiences, using its established international stable of talented and experienced writers and editors. SciencePOD’s collaborative content creation platform, offers organisations the solution to scale their capabilities and streamline the process of creating any content about their products and activities without incurring additional overheads.