Connect-In finds the smart tag solution
The project: As part of the Creative Clyde project, Scottish Enterprise partnered with Innovate UK who invested £640,000 in 11 Creative Industries companies through the Creative Clyde launchpad competition.
Connect-In were one of the successful companies to benefit from significant investment and ongoing support from Scottish Enterprise. The competition has allowed them to develop and commercialise their flagship product, Xupo.®
The challenge: Losing something valuable to you, whether that’s your keys, suitcase, wallet, laptop or phone can be both stressful and expensive.
Trying to locate items – some of which have now come to be seen as absolutely essential to our daily lives – can also be extremely time-consuming and might even have an impact on our ability to do our jobs properly.
Whether your precious possession has actually been stolen, crammed down the back of the living room sofa, ‘borrowed’ by your sticky-fingered toddler or lost by the world’s least favourite airline, all you care about is getting it back.
The purpose: That’s where Xupo® comes into its own. A very modern solution to an everyday problem, it’s a small Bluetooth device which can be attached to any item to allow it to be tracked and located from a mobile phone or tablet.
The device is a market leader in the emerging smart-tag category thanks to a couple of disruptive USPs – it offers an extended battery life of over a year and boasts a two-way communication platform.
And it’s flexible enough to enable a whole array of applications – from domestic to industrial uses in asset tracking and proximity-based beacon apps.
The people: Xupo® was developed by Glasgow-based Bluetooth firmware specialist and Connect-In, established in 2011 with a mission to use mobile technologies to solve everyday problems.
Chief executive Raj Sark, said: “ We succeeded in the Innovate UK Digital and Creative Launchpad competition in 2013 and received grant funding to develop the energy efficient Bluetooth Smart™ platform firmware, on which Xupo® is based.
“Since then we have also benefited from the invaluable support of Matt Brown and Ian Morgan from Innovate UK, who have helped us move from the research and development phase into commercialisation and advised us on routes to market.
“In 2014 we hosted a successful crowd-funding drive on Kickstarter to begin manufacturing Xupo® for commercial sale through our own website and on Amazon. Over 1,600 units have been shipped to campaign backers – with significant interest from consumers and investors in the US.”
The outcome: Xupo®, now in its second generation and much sleeker and more user friendly, is only slightly bigger than a £2 coin.
Priced at £20 per unit, it’s the slimmest tracker in its class. And its two-way calling function means users can call their smartphone from a registered Xupo® – in case that’s the device which has been lost.
The impact: Xupo® has a vast potential of applications beyond asset tracking. It becomes a Bluetooth remote controller and the Xupo® app has a remote camera function, allowing users use to take pictures and share with on social media.
Having moved on considerably from its start-up origins, Connect-In has grown into one of Scotland’s most promising creative industries companies.
Backed by commercial investors, the company is now scaling up production of and has just fulfilled a pilot order from one of the UK’s biggest insurance firms.
In early 2017, Raj and his business partner Vincenz also took part in the BBC’s popular business series, Dragons’ Den.
While one of the ‘dragons’, Peter Jones, made a £100,000 'investment offer' into the company in exchange for 30% equity, following further negotiations both parties decided not to proceed.
As Raj later explained: “We are now glad it did not happen. Our goal was to use part of the £100k potential funding to bring out a new and rebranded product Xupo and need for that funding no longer exists.”
Connect-In have already raised more than £250,000 in external financing and have a granted UK patent as part of their core IP. Negotiations are also under way with corporate, local and silicon valley based investors for growth capital, a serious VC-round due to culminate with the EIE 2017.
Further information is available at http://www.myxupo.com/
This case study was published in February 2017.
The above case study has been made possible through the generous support of Creative Clyde and the named contributors.