Tell us a little bit yourself and how Sugru came about?
My name is Jane ni Dhulchaointigh and I’m the inventor and CEO of Sugru mouldable glue. I came up with the ideas whilst studying product design at the RCA in London. It wasn’t long before I realised I was a rubbish designer and didn’t want to make new things when there was already too much stuff in the world. It was whilst I was playing with different materials that the first idea for Sugru came about. I wanted to make something that allowed other people to be designers, something that would enable others to fix and redesign things to work better for them.
Invented to help people repair and improve things, Sugru is an award-winning material that moulds like play dough, sticks to almost anything and turns into a strong flexible rubber overnight. Launched back in 2009, more than ten million single-use packs have now been sold in over 170 countries and territories worldwide with the company growing an average rate of over 30 per cent year-on-year from 2013 to 2016. Growth is forecast to increase to 50 per cent year-on-year until 2019.
You guys kicked off your second equity crowdfunding campaign this week, which is very exciting! Hows everything going?
Following a record breaking crowdfunding campaign in 2015, we’ve recently opened up to investors once again to help support expansion overseas and new product innovation. We’re working with equity crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, and hope to raise £1.5 million by offering people the chance to invest as little as £10. People can find more details at www.crowdcube.com/sugru and we have until the end of April to reach our target.
We’ve come an awfully long way since we tested the waters with our first crowdfunding campaign back in 2015. As well as launching overseas and working on new products and technologies, we’ve enjoyed huge milestones with our loyal community of over two million users around the world. Celebrating ten million Sugru fixes last year not only indicated the public’s increasing appetite for wanting to fix and improve the things around them but also reflected the community’s enthusiasm and energy for sharing tips on how to best use the product. The company wouldn’t be anywhere without these people so it makes sense to have them on board as we launch Sugru to the next generation of makers and creators.
Why did you choose to crowdfund with Crowdcube again?
Crowdcube had some great success in launching campaigns for company’s that weren’t strictly start ups and that appealed to us as we were already 5 years old at the time of our first campaign. With their support and advise we overfunded in 2016 for 355% and this time round we’re looking to raise £1.5m
What are you planning to do with this round of funding?
Expanding overseas and new product development. Since 2015 we’ve successfully launched in France and South Africa but we have plans to launch this year in Canada, Australia and New Zealand whilst extending its reach in Europe. We’ve also invested in the company’s research and development which has resulted in a brand new formula being developed, allowing children as young as eight years old to use the product. Scheduled to launch later this year as the first in a series of new formulations designed to encourage more people to fix and repair their things, the new technology is expected to open up significant opportunities within the craft and stationery markets. It’s really exciting.
What do you fear the most about the equity crowdfunding raise?
There’s never really a great time to launch due to lots of other work commitments but once we decide to go for it and start to involve the whole team – it’s genuinely a great experience.
From experience what was the hardest and most unexpected part about fundraising?
Preparing for the aftermath is hard. It’s a lot of work. We acquired 2700 new investors in about 2 weeks back in 2015 all of who needed regular updates. Hopefully we’ll be in a similar situation this time and at least we realise the work involved.
Are you doing anything differently?
The reasons why we’re doing it are different which changes some of the content but the strategy remains the same.
What are your top 3 do’s on raising funding?
1) Hold an event to meet potential investors
2) Get your whole team involved at some level
3) Stay true to yourself – don’t try to be something you’re not just to appeal to certain investors.
And finally, what advice would you give to investors?
Do some research and try the product before you invest. After investing – stay in touch. I love hearing from investors who often email from around the globe to suggest everything from local radio stations to contact and stores they’ve visited and feel we’d be perfect for. It feels like we have an army on the ground.