We think magic happens at the interface of science, creativity, and technology. Our team—made up of PhD scientists, veteran teachers, experienced developers, and Emmy award-winning filmmakers—is an example of the kind of symbiosis we want to foster between education and the real world.
Buzzwords, egos, and ambiguous,
"BenchFly makes it easy to collaborate with students and experts across unlimited career fields. The personalized feedback you get though video and data analytics, makes classroom experiences more real and helps students see how their education relates to the real world."
Ensuring we fulfill this promise drives every decision we make.
BenchFly was founded out of MIT by third-generation chemist Alan Marnett in Cambridge, MA. Borne out of frustration with the difficulty in finding access to expert instruction, BenchFly started with a simple idea: streaming video — relatively new at the time — had the potential to democratize access to insider knowledge by enabling scientists to share video techniques with each other directly, fundamentally changing the way scientists around the world were trained.
After 15 years of research, Alan left the lab in 2009 and BenchFly was hatched.
When asked about how it worked, we often used the phrase "it's like a private YouTube for scientists." Over the course of the next couple of years, researchers in over 180 countries used BenchFly, which helped us understand how scientists were engaging with the content, what elements were required for an effective video, and where we could improve the platform to help train more people.
At the same time, we helped scientific companies produce and host videos for their products, ranging from instructional demonstrations to troubleshooting tips. We’ve had the honor of working with many of science’s most reputable global brands, from publishers (Genetic & Biotechnology Engineering News), to reagent manufacturers (New England Biolabs), to publicly-traded therapeutics companies (Cancer Genetics).
As researchers and labs continued collaborating via the platform, we wondered “what if we could use the platform to help current scientists train the next generation of scientists—high school students.” To that end, we worked with teachers, students, and The National Science Foundation to redesign and expand the platform to support student-to-scientist collaborations.
While working with educators across many subjects, we realized it wasn’t only future scientists who could benefit from connecting with professionals—it was all industries.
To paraphrase a famous saying, “you can take the platform out of science, but you can’t take the science out of the platform.” Although BenchFly is designed to support class-to-class and class-to-professional connections in all disciplines, it is built on peer review and feedback — fundamental principles pulled from our scientific roots.
In 2019, we celebrated 10 years in video education by launching the new platform – a moment of tremendous pride and gratitude for the dozens of people who have worked hard to make this milestone possible.
Launching the new platform was only the beginning — as our homepage explains, this is way more than software to us. Working with students, educators, and partners, we will continue to make dramatic improvements to BenchFly in order to better prepare all students for success in the working world they will one day enter.
"Whether in the laboratory, the workshop, or the studio, the bench is where you work. It's where you create. Through feedback, iteration, and continual improvement, it's also where you grow, where you nurture the spark of creativity and self-expression. We want to help students spread their wings and take off—it's time to fly."
— Alan Marnett, Ph.D., "Founder at BenchFly"
Learn more about using BenchFly in your classroom,
business, or laboratory.