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eScience Labs filling a niche in online education world

Nicolas Benedict is the founder of eScience Labs. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Online education is allowing thousands of people across the country to earn or finish degrees, but there are still bugs to work out. It’s easy enough for the English major to read a poem online, but what about the chemistry student who still has to find a way to do experiments?

That’s where eScience Labs comes in. Founded by Nicolas Benedict (BA ’93, PhD ’01) in 2007, the Denver-based company creates lab kits that it ships to online learners around the world. The company’s more than 300 kits include hands-on tutorials in biology, environmental science, anatomy, physiology, forensics and more.

“Education was changing in a lot of areas, and we didn’t really see a good solution for the lab component for online education,” Benedict says. “There was another company that was out doing it, but it wasn’t really up to the caliber and the safety that I would have expected. So we looked at the education market and where it was going and decided that there was room for somebody to come in and do it better.”

EScience Labs works mostly with colleges and universities, he says, but it provides kits for high school and home-schooled students as well. The system makes it easy for teachers to select or custom-build kits that match their curricula.

“We like to be able to go to a teacher and say, ‘Listen, it’s your course. You teach it the way you like it; just tell us what you need and we’ll take care of the lab part of it for you,’” Benedict says. “We’re not going to try to tell the teacher how to teach their course or what to teach or when to teach it—we’re simply giving them the tools so they can do it how they want to and when they want to.”

The response, he says, has been great, whether it’s from teachers happy to take the scheduling pressure off school lab space or from a working parent who can earn a biology degree from home.

“I walk through the warehouse, and I look at all the boxes sitting there, and I think, ‘Every one of those is a student,’” he says. “We’ve impacted over 100,000 students at this point. The ability to be able to build a business that’s growing, that’s making some money, and it’s filling a need and doing some good things, that’s great.”



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