Wearable tech entrepreneur thanks "invaluable" BBC Dragons
The entrepreneur behind a leading wearable technology brand has described his appearance on Dragons’ Den as “the best focus group”.
Ex-Royal Marine Simon Weatherall needed £80,000 to get his idea of a light-up jacket that could flash in time with heart rate off the ground.
It was while recovering from a road accident in which his car was hit by a truck and he suffered a bleed on the brain that Southampton-based Weatherall came up with his new Glofaster venture.
His application to appear on the hit BBC show was successful. While his business knowledge received praise from the Dragons, his actual product – a prototype using his four-year-old son’s jacket – wasn’t quite up to scratch.
“I knew my business inside out but I went on with sticky tape and superglue holding together a product that was a bit of hose pipe stuck onto a jacket to prove the concept,” he told BusinessCloud.
“Deborah Meaden said I clearly had what it takes but she wasn’t sure about the product.”
His pitch prompted discussion about where the technology could be applied, which proved helpful.
“One Dragon suggested the equine market and they started throwing ideas around themselves, which I thought was great – it was probably the best focus group you could get to develop your product,” Weatherall said.
He crowdfunded the product and the website received 4,500 hits and interest from several angel investors, which led to him pulling it from the crowdfunding website.
The Glofaster clothing range was developed to contain LEDs to help runners and cyclists monitor their performance without having to check their phone or heartrate monitor.
It won fourth place in the Wearable Technology Show in London and Harrods now stocks the range.
Now Weatherall is investigating how the technology can be used in the military and railways network, and says the sportswear is a demonstration of the technology that can be applied elsewhere.
He also has a digital agency and is involved in developing other products, and he has no regrets about entering the Den.
“I loved the experience but not getting the investment was the best thing that happened,” he said.
“The Dragons were lovely intelligent people and their feedback was invaluable.”
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