Our Digital Accelerator programme has recently come to a close and the successful applicants have been chosen to receive £12,500 in seed funding to help support their digital concepts.
Ran in partnership with Silicon South, this Dorset-based accelerator was aimed at businesses based in the North, Midlands and South West to support innovative products ranging from app development to animation and everything in between.
Senseye entered into the programme to develop a product which helps companies get more from their assets. We talked to CEO Simon Kampa about his plans for his emerging company, working with limited resources and how our Digital Accelerator helped them on their way...
Tell us a little about your background and how you found yourself in this line of work…
The team behind Senseye are all engineers and we’ve solved problems for large businesses, and we’d now like to take those technologies to a wider market and smaller businesses in particular.
Can you explain a little about the service offered by Senseye?
As a team we have a combined 35 years in supporting large organisations reduce their costs in operating and maintaining large equipment and machines, such as helicopters, trains and oil platforms. Traditionally these companies use complex monitoring and sensor systems to tell them how their equipment is performing. These systems cost millions of pounds and require large teams to operate, meaning small businesses are priced out.
We’re looking at solving that problem by offering a solution for smaller businesses by developing a simple web-based product that will help to increase the reliability and performance of equipment and machines.
Senseye allows companies to harness their assets – how useful is this if done correctly?
The chief benefits are in increasing the availability (i.e. up time) of equipment, ensuring they run to their optimum (thereby increasing the performance and/or yield which leads to increased revenue) and reducing the cost of maintenance.
How did the idea for the product come about – what influenced it?
Our work with larger organisations and witnessing what they are able to achieve. Also, the technical innovations happening with the Internet of Things, Big Data and the reduction in communications costs means the time is right for a product like ours.
What gap in the market did you notice and how do you plan to fill it?
Smaller businesses do not currently have an easy-to-use and cost effective solution. So they either ‘make do’ and react to sudden failures and inefficiencies or they use standard analytics tools. The problem with these tools is that so much information is made available you need to be a real expert to find the key bits of information that are relevant. Our product is easy to use and doesn’t require specially trained engineers to use it. Moreover, the existing tools mainly focus on retrospective analysis and not on predicting future trends, unlike ours
You plan to launch in the agricultural market – why did you chose this market to launch in?
Several people suggested we look into it. Agri-tech is receiving a lot of focus from the government. It’s not an area that receives much attention from the IT industry so competition is less. We’ve also secured a government grant to start trials in March.
What would you say has been the most important thing you’ve learnt whilst on the programme?
A better appreciation of how investors view start-ups.
From your experience, what benefits can accelerator programmes offer start-up companies?
They are ideally focused for people who have a great idea but lack some of the business skills to make it a reality.
You team is quite small – From your experience, what’s the key to starting a new company with limited resources?
My previous job was running a 60 person company so now running a start-up with only a handful of people is quite different. I would suggest that key is to regularly communicate and manage your cash/investment very carefully. Things always take longer and cost more than you expect.
What did the funding you received from Creative England allow you to achieve?
It allowed us to employ an engineer earlier than we would have been able to otherwise.
How will it help you moving forward?
We will bring our plans forward by 3 months.
What do you have planned for 2015?
Refine the product-market fit, secure some initial interest and customers and release the first commercial version at the end of the year.
Find out more about Senseye by visiting their website.
To find out more about our Digital Accelerator teams and the products they're developing head here.
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