This week, we were going to celebrate with many of you the wonderful fact that CR has been around for 15 years. We will celebrate but want to hug and be close, so we wait a bit… while waiting, we want to highlight some of what has happened throughout those 15 years in three 5-year captures: From Advanced Analysis, via the Scientific Rescue Team to the Strategic Science Partner we are today.

Let us just first set the stage for when the first baby steps were taken…

2005, when we were managing with all our registration papers for the company, the first ever YouTube video was uploaded. Yes, YouTube has not always existed, and CR is as young.
During those days, the phrases “sharing economy” or “Collaborative Consumption” was not used. The latter was coined by TIME Magazine one of the top 10 ideas that will change the world, when we were already six! (2011). In fact, Airbnb was founded three years after CR and Uber one year later still. So it was a bit unheard of that a company thought that academic resources could be used through mediators for the benefit of corporations and companies, and that a company would build on accessibility rather than property. Indeed, it took us a lot of energy and time to explain what we wanted to do in discussions with the different legal entities at the University as well as insurance companies and indeed, potential and future clients. This was ten years before Open Lab and Open Door became natural parts of the institutions way of working with the world.

But we got going, and we are forever grateful for the trust given to us by the various chemistry departments at Lund University not only for the possibility to continue to use the instruments we had used as PhD students, but also for connecting us with some of their contacts within industry. Some of those contacts have remained important for both us and the researchers. For me personally, some have grown into true friendships.

During the first five years, the team grew from just being me (Anna Stenstam) and Karin Bryskhe (co-founder) together with Tobias Halthur (now both COO and CSO and with a history of over 60 client relations!), Carin Malmborg (now ÅF), Stefan Ulvenlund (now Enza) and Nardeen Mezel. For a short period we were happy to have Marité Cardenas (now professor at MAU) and Katharina Urbahns with us too.

Oh my, we did some crazy things in the beginning, to get going but also because we were so free! So free to solve problems and ask questions. We’ve tried to keep that creativity when growing and getting the structure needed… those were very crazy times, we built what we couldn’t find and well… let’s say that sometimes our ambition was more sustainable than what we built… (hint: it only takes a night for a tin can to corrode if you have alkalic solutions in it and then you will have that solution on the floor of the lab instead).

The first five years we sat in the basement of the Chemical Center, without our own lab space or coffee room. We washed the coffee cups in the bathroom sink and apparently I put both a vacuum pump and a device to measure magnetic susceptibility on my desk (see picture). But we had visitors there, from local start-ups as well as global corporations. We were even audited for a pharmaceutical company and passed! We discussed with so many different academic groups and no doors were closed, no faculty borders visible for us and once we got started, everybody really wanted us to succeed.

We were not always free to disclose what we had done or even for whom we worked but some of those wonderful learnings are still on our web and many of you know who you are. Thank you for your trust, for being part of those early years and for sharing our joy and coaching us into being who we are now.

For CR with love,