Two Midlands entrepreneurs are closing in on bringing to market the world’s first automated painting robot for domestic households.
Rutland residents Jack Cornes and Harry Smith set-up Hausbots in November 2017 to develop their robotic prototype, which sticks to walls using tank tracks made out of suction cups.
Since the duo won Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards last year, where they collected £10,000 of funding and £10,000 of mentoring, Hausbots has received around 100 expressions of interest in the concept, ranging from housebuilders and landlords through to warehouses, plasterers and wind turbine manufacturers.
Jack and Harry will also be moving into 300 square foot premises in Birmingham’s Custard Factory in September where they can prepare the product for demonstrations to potential customers.
Hausbots has also used Baldwins’ investment to secure a patent on the product, while also funding 15 3D printers for a variety of different materials.
“We were working out of my parents’ garage before the office move, but these new facilities will accelerate the development of the product to the stage where we can be demonstrating this to potential customers,” Harry said.
“We have made great progress in ensuring the product is operationally reliable. For example, beforehand the air seals on the suction cups were wearing out quickly, but through a change in manufacturing methods we have been able to address this.
“The product is now approaching the exciting stage where we can do site demonstrations to everyone who has expressed an interest.”
Until their first major investment lands, both Harry and Jack are making a living by using their 3D printers to produce prototypes for a variety of start-up businesses.
Jack added: “We’re hoping to finalise our first major investment in the next couple of months. We’re aiming to be out demonstrating the product using a joystick by the end of this year, and to be demonstrating a fully autonomous version shortly afterwards.
“This is a highly-ambitious product that we are creating so we will be launching this at a slow pace to ensure the product is right. As we approach 2020, all being well, we will become self-employed decorators so we can oversee the performance of the product before selling the product into the mainstream market.”
David Baldwin, Board Director at Baldwins, has been advising Harry and Jack on the launch of their new business venture since they won the Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards, which are open again this year to anyone aged 18 to 25 with a business idea.
He added: “Hausbots is at the start of an exciting journey and are great examples of why we run the Baldwins KickStart Awards.
“They have dovetailed their investment with seeking advice from our team of experienced accountants, and have spent their investment wisely to give themselves the best chance of success with what is a truly innovative product.
“Every entrant to the Baldwins KickStart Awards will receive help in developing their business idea, whether it is feedback at their application stage or ongoing advice throughout the awards and beyond.”