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A Journey Through the Past

The ibidi story started in 1999, when Valentin Kahl, a biophysics doctoral student at the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich, was looking for someone within his research group to join him for the Munich Business Plan Competition. A short time later, Valentin Kahl, Roman Zantl, Ulf Rädler, and their research group leader Joachim Rädler (the Rädlers are not related) submitted a business plan based on the commercialization of microscopy chambers.

Read more about the company history, company name, etc., in an interview Roman and Valentin gave to the Laborjournal in October 2020.


For the first six years, the young company was located in the basement of the LMU physics building. It was there where the first products (such as the µ-Slide I) were developed, produced, and also distributed. Gradually, more and more employees joined the company, tradeshow participation increased, orders increased, and ibidi started to expand its worldwide distributor network.

Find out more about the first employees in "ibidi—20 Facts"—Fact #10.


Original movie pitch for ibidi's participation in the Munich Business Plan Competition 1999.


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The History of the µ-Slide Chemotaxis

In the course of a research project collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences Mittweida, biotechnology student, Elias (now product manager at ibidi) applied for a diploma thesis position at ibidi in 2003. His research work included experiments to determine if it was possible to create chemical gradients in the existing product, µ-Slide I, and to investigate the chemotactic behavior of cells. As it turned out, those chemotaxis experiments with the µ-Slide I were possible, but not really easy to perform. Subsequently, Elias developed a prototype of a new slide. Due to its special geometry, it allowed for the maintenance of a long-time stable gradient, and experiments of directed cell migration. In collaboration with Dr. Pamela Zengel, who was doing research on the chemotaxis of endothelial cells at the University Hospital in Munich (Klinikum Großhadern), Elias and Roman developed and patented a cell carrier system that was optimized for real-time, long-term chemotaxis experiments under the microscope.

The novel technology was published in the following article: Zengel et al. "μ-Slide Chemotaxis: a new chamber for long-term chemotaxis studies". BMC Cell Biol. 2011 May 18;12:21. doi: 10.1186/1471-2121-12-21. Read article

This idea resulted in a new product, the µ-Slide Chemotaxis 2D. This slide was later optimized for 3D applications and user-friendliness in 2010, and was henceforth called µ-Slide Chemotaxis 3D. Over time, the original 2D slide was phased out, and in 2018 the 3D slide changed its name and can now be found in the ibidi portfolio as simply, µ-Slide Chemotaxis.

Find out more about chemotaxis assays here.

In 2007, ibidi moved to the Biotechnology Innovation and Start-up Center (IZB) in Martinsried (near Munich). The proximity to other biotechnology startups, as well as to the biology and biochemistry faculty of the LMU and the Max Planck Institutes (MPI) of Biochemistry and Neurobiology, enabled a constant exchange of knowledge with other company founders and scientists. For example, this is how ibidi established contact with the scientists Michael Sixt and Roland-Wedlich Söldner. They developed the F-actin marker, LifeAct, in their research groups at the MPI of Biochemistry. In 2010, LifeAct was licensed to ibidi. A short time later, Julia, then a PhD student who had characterized LifeAct in her thesis (supervised by Roland Wedlich-Söldner and Michael Sixt), was hired as a product manager at ibidi to establish the ibidi reagents portfolio.

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Visit the very first ibidi website from 2002.



Also in 2010, the first Chemotaxis User Meeting took place at ibidi. About 100 scientists came together for talks and discussions related to the latest research findings in the field, as well as to talk about their experience with the ibidi µ-Slide Chemotaxis.

Engaging with researchers has always been a core value at ibidi. In addition to visiting customers and participating at conferences and trade shows, ibidi offers in-house and online lab courses that are also a great opportunity for interacting with fellow scientists.

Since 2008, ibidi regularly organizes lab courses for the chemotaxis and cell culture under flow applications. In these courses, the respective ibidi experts impart theoretical and practical knowledge for the planning, execution, and evaluation of chemotaxis and flow experiments.



Over the next years, as more and more employees joined ibidi, the company had to rent additional office and laboratory space at the IZB. By 2016, ibidi was spread over three different buildings and several floors, and they realized that they were slowly but surely outgrowing their start-up status. It was about time to think about moving to a bigger home...

Learn more about ibidi’s Journey Through the Present.