The material selection platform
Coatings Ingredients
The material selection platform
Coatings Ingredients

Uncountable's Cloud-based Platform for Data-driven Innovation in Coatings

SpecialChem – Apr 15, 2024

TAGS:  Science-based Formulation    Sustainability / Natural Coatings    

An Interview with Noel Hollingsworth, Co-founder and CEO at Uncountable

Data Management - Uncountable Today's rapidly evolving R&D calls for streamlined data management and accelerated innovation. Uncountable offers all-in-one Laboratory Management Software catering to the needs of R&D teams.

Uncountable's cloud-based platform integrates with critical data systems and tools used in laboratories. It provides a tailored solution to the customers by meeting their industry needs. The software caters to industries like:

  • chemicals,
  • advanced materials,
  • pharma and biotech,
  • food and agriculture

But do you know what inspired the genesis of Uncountable and what sets it apart in the market?

We conversed with Noel Hollingsworth, Co-founder and CEO at Uncountable. He shares insights on how the unified platform has made R&D decisions easier for those working in the coatings industry.

#1. Describe Uncountable.

Uncountable provides an industry-leading unified laboratory informatics and data management platform for enterprise R&D organizations, helping scientists, chemists, and researchers accelerate the pace of innovation.

Uncountable's all-in-one solution modernizes and streamlines data management and analysis by providing R&D teams with a single, easily accessible web-based platform that is fully integrated with all the critical data systems and tools used in the laboratory, including:

Management System Importance
Scope and Functionality of ELN

#2. What’s the story behind Uncountable?

Uncountable was founded in 2016 in San Francisco, California, as a venture aimed at addressing the most pressing challenges in the R&D sector. My co-founders, Jason Hirshman (CTO), Will Tashman (CRO), and I utilized our deep expertise in computer science and machine learning to envision a product that could accelerate R&D processes tenfold.

We recognize it’s a challenging goal as we work with intelligent organizations that put a lot of years into this. However, our motivation in reaching this goal stems from our belief in the transformative potential of rapid innovation. Consider the profound impact on society if critical developments, such as the COVID-19 vaccine, electric vehicles, or plant-based meats, could occur ten times faster than they do today. Our vision is to catalyze such accelerated innovation across various fields, significantly helping those working on those projects achieve this much faster.

This focus on efficiency extends to:

  • enhancing collaboration across teams,
  • ensuring that vital information is quickly shared and understood,
  • allowing for faster progression on essential project elements

Our strategy for enhancing R&D efficiency is multifaceted and does not rely solely on AI or machine learning. A crucial aspect of our approach is improving experimental efficiency, which can include aiding scientists in avoiding redundant experiments. Such redundancy wastes time and resources, as experiments previously conducted by colleagues, who may be located halfway around the world, are unknowingly repeated. Uncountable’s platform facilitates better collaboration across teams and ensures that vital information is communicated quickly, allowing for faster progression on essential project elements.

As we continue to refine and expand Uncountable's platform's capabilities, our goal is to enable organizations to innovate at unprecedented speeds. By doing so, we believe we can play a critical role in ushering in a new era of rapid scientific and technological advancement.

Uncountable catalyzes innovation across various fields

Fields Uncountable 1

#3. What inspired the development of Uncountable’s Unified Laboratory Informatics & Data Management Platform?

Uncountable was originally a machine learning-focused company applying Bayesian Optimization to help teams innovate faster in the R&D sector. However, it became clear that the primary challenge wasn't the complexity of machine learning algorithms but rather the quality of data available. We realized that these organizations did not have access to high-quality data from their previous work. Any machine learning expert will tell you that better data beats better algorithms every day of the week. Collecting this data in an R&D organization yields:

  • superior outcomes,
  • enhances data searchability, and
  • enables better inter-team communication

After recognizing this, our mission shifted towards solving the critical issue of data organization and accessibility. This challenge was particularly daunting given scientists' preference for pre-existing tools like Excel, which lacks the necessary structure for effective collaboration across geographically dispersed teams.

To bridge this gap, we developed the Uncountable platform. Our goal was to create a platform that could be just as intuitive as Excel while providing the structured data management of a database (akin to Salesforce or SAP). By doing so, Uncountable’s platform ensures that foundational data integrity is prioritized – facilitating greater collaboration while setting the proper foundation for advanced data analysis for R&D organizations.

#4. What are some ways that make Uncountable unique?

Uncountable's platform offers comprehensive data management, maps the scientific process seamlessly, provides extensive visualization and analytical tools, and incorporates cutting-edge machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities.

Comprehensive and structured data management for end-to-end R&D integration

A key differentiator for Uncountable is its unparalleled capacity to capture high-quality, structured data from every touchpoint across the entire R&D value chain, setting it apart from competitor solutions. Unlike other platforms that may only integrate certain aspects of R&D data, Uncountable offers a truly end-to-end solution for enterprise R&D organizations. It efficiently consolidates and structures a wide array of critical data, encompassing:

  • physical lab equipment and instruments,
  • experimental processes and design,
  • data analysis,
  • inventory tracking and management, and
  • formulation

This systematic approach to data management is pivotal for R&D organizations. It ensures that every piece of data, regardless of its source or nature, is meticulously organized and readily accessible in a format conducive to advanced analysis.

Such structured data is essential for effectively applying AI and ML technologies. It enables these systems to accurately interpret and learn from the R&D data, leading to more precise predictions, deeper insights, and innovative solutions. This level of data organization and structure streamlines scientific workflows, enhances collaboration, and aids in maintaining compliance with industry standards, thereby amplifying the overall efficiency and productivity of R&D operations.
Uncountable Upholds Compliance & Regulatory Standards

Complete mapping of scientific process into structured data system

Most systems today can only capture a small percentage of the scientific process or offer an unstructured approach to recording data that does not scale with a global organization. Uncountable can capture the entirety of the scientific process with a structured data capture system.

For example, raw materials that include a lot of information from suppliers can be used in a synthesis experiment. The results of this synthesis experiment can feed many different formulation experiments, which can then be used in scale-up experiments tied to field trial data. An end user looking at this field trial data could look at independent variables from the field trial, the scale-up experiments, the formulations, the synthesis experiments, or even the lots that went into the synthesis, all in one seamless view.

This data is searchable, graphable, and can be plugged into analysis tools. Most other tooling on the market can only model one step at a time or force the user into creating templates similar to Word documents that lack true interconnectivity. Uncountable enables global teams to truly collaborate and understand their data, even with many steps across the process.

Extensive suite of visualization and analytical tools

Because of Uncountable’s end-to-end scientific process capture, it is much easier to visualize data on Uncountable than on competitive platforms. You can easily graph the contribution of ingredients to key outputs, even tracing across multiple steps in the process.

Likewise, correlation, ANOVA, and other analytics tools are built directly into the platform. Uncountable supports 20+ visualization types, allowing scientists to match existing workflows in a system where it is easy to collaborate and share knowledge with others in your organization.

Cutting-edge machine learning and artificial intelligence

Uncountable stands out with the sophisticated use of predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms. Uncountable’s AI and ML technologies are not limited to basic data analysis. This technology is deeply integrated into the platform to provide:

  • predictive insights,
  • trend analysis, and
  • data-driven recommendations

This aspect is especially valuable in R&D for guiding experimental design, predicting outcomes, and uncovering hidden patterns in data, leading to more informed decision-making and innovative research approaches. Uncountable is relatively unique in this space in having two of its co-founders and C-suite members initially focusing on machine learning, rather than grafting it on after the fact.

#5. What benefits do you bring to Coatings & Cosmetics R&D organizations, specifically?

Uncountable provides faster new ingredient validation to optimize formulations, such as additives and pigments. Additionally, our all-in-one LIMS solution supports sustainability through traceability of ingredients across pipelines, leading to a better understanding of the carbon footprint, visibility of costs, waste management, and ingredients.

Uncountable works with several of the world’s top coatings & cosmetics companies. To name a few that we are public about working with:

  • Behr
  • Beiersdorf
  • Jotun
  • Penn Color
  • SunChemical
  • INX International
  • Indorama Ventures
AGC SCG Chemicals accelerates research

#6. What are some current and future market trends/shifts, and how do you see Uncountable leading them?

We've identified three pivotal trends shaping the future of our industry, and here's how Uncountable is leading the charge:

Digitalization 1Digitalization

Today, the shift toward a fully digital ecosystem is undeniably a necessity for any long-term and future-proof business strategy. Organizations that are equipped to sustain, survive, and outperform their competition are ones that have quickly recognized the value of adopting a modern digital infrastructure in lieu of old-fashioned tools like pen-and-paper notebooks and clunky out-of-date systems.

Uncountable is vital in providing the first and truly all-in-one digital infrastructure for enterprise R&D organizations that integrates seamlessly with other systems vital within your business. From regulatory, ERP, sales, and more, enabling these integrations is key to breaking down organizational silos and productive collaboration between R&D teams and other departments, paving the way for streamlined workflows and boosting productivity across the entire organization.

Sustainability 1Sustainability

Sustainability has rapidly gone from merely an option to a core focus for nearly all our customers. Uncountable is at the vanguard of fostering sustainable innovation.

We offer advanced tools that assist in selecting suitable raw materials and reducing emissions right from the start. Our integration with regulatory systems through features like live emission calculations streamlines the collaboration between R&D, regulatory, and sustainability teams.

This integration places sustainability at the core of the R&D process and mitigates delays in innovation, ensuring that sustainability is woven seamlessly into the fabric of development efforts.

AI 1Artificial Intelligence (AI)

With the advent of tools like ChatGPT, AI has captured the attention of leaders across every industry. However, the challenge lies in distinguishing between mere hype and genuine value.

At Uncountable, we prioritize transparency with our customers about the real-world applications of AI. Uncountable assists in preparing the groundwork for the advantages of AI by organizing data effectively to deliver custom AI algorithms designed for specific formulation use cases.

As a result, Uncountable’s unique approach empowers scientists to leverage AI advancements without requiring specialized expertise in machine learning.

Uncountable is at the forefront, driving digitalization, sustainability, and AI integration into R&D processes. This ensures our clients keep pace with current trends and are prepared for the future.

#7. Can you further detail Uncountable’s contribution to the coatings and cosmetics industries?

A key goal at Uncountable that we haven’t discussed is giving scientists access to tools of the same quality that others in their organization have. Today, there are thousands of innovative software solutions that sales and marketing teams can take advantage of. Laboratory informatics modernization has been neglected, despite it being a critical part of R&D organizations.

R&D teams are often forced to use tools that feel like they haven’t been updated in 30 years. We want to give scientists the first-class experience they deserve and continue to innovate to remain a trusted partner in these industries.

Application in Paints and Coatings
Uncountable's Research Areas for Paints and Coatings

About Noel Hollingsworthhollingsworth (1)

Noel Hollingsworth is the Co-founder and CEO at Uncountable. In his role, he works closely with Uncountable's customers to implement next-generation data management systems.

Prior to his work at Uncountable, Noel led data teams at startups and was awarded Forbes 30 under 30 for his work with machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Cleansing Agents / Surfactants Uncountable – Find out what's in store for you.

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