Inventor 'takes positives' from show
Scots inventor defies Dragons as sales flood in
Alison Grieve in the Dragons’ Den
A Scottish entrepreneur and inventor who entered the BBC’s Dragons’ Den tonight has joined the ranks of success stories that got away.
Edinburgh-based Alison Grieve’s ergonomic holder for mobile devices was rejected by the Dragons, but since filming she has watched the sales flood in.
The G-Hold has so far brought in revenue of £150,000, double the amount she had looked to raise in the Den.
Ms Grieve’s company has scaled up rapidly, moving to larger premises and increasing its assembly team, based in Scotland, to produce the 10,000 G-Holds required monthly to meet demand.
The growth stems partly from the product’s success on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in the US, but also from large tablet rollouts in education, healthcare and corporate sectors.
“I am very grateful to have experienced the Den and would do it all again,” she said. “Of course, it’s much easier to say that from the context of our recent successes but having been on this journey for seven years, I knew I would take positives away from meeting the Dragons regardless of what happened next.”
She began developing patented ‘handholding’ technology in 2010 for the food service industry, launching a range of non-toppling trays, branded Safetray.
A former waitress, she came up with her first invention after witnessing a spectacular accident involving a tray of champagne glasses toppling over at an important function.
“Our mission has always been to broaden the use of our handholding technology across multiple industries and applications.
Hand held: the device has ergonomic benefits
“Once we had proven our concept, we saw a massive opportunity to develop new technology for mobile devices. And with almost a billion tablets having shipped since the launch of the first iPad, we are now reaping the rewards of that decision.”
The ergonomic benefits of the G-Hold have been validated by various muscular skeletal experts.
Gavin Routledge, Vice Patron of the British School of Osteopathy, said: “The last few years have seen a significant rise in the number of kids with neck and back pain, which clinicians increasingly put down to the use of hand-held devices.
“The G-Hold design ensures that it massively reduces the strain on neck, shoulder, arm and hand; making for pain-free use of tablets.”
The G-Hold is already being used across 100 schools in Aberdeenshire, Apple Distinguished Programme CalStateTEACH and most recently tech solution company XMA, feeding into the Scottish Government National Framework for Tablet Devices in Education.
The company anticipates G-Holds fast becoming a standard part of the tablet tool kits provided across Scottish schools and further afield.
Aside from its health benefits, the brand has also been growing in ‘cool factor’ with celebrity users including former Gadget Show presenter Suzi Perry, Grammy award winning Gregory Porter, Scotland’s rugby team coaches and physios and sports presenter Lee McKenzie.
Alison is currently in Berlin at the IFA consumer electronics trade fair and intends to capitalise on the rise of augmented reality (AR), with games such as Pokémon Go and 360 degree videos creating greater need for handholding technology.
“My prediction is that AR will soon be a part of everyday tablet usage, particularly in education where traditional text books can come alive, engaging children in learning like never before. The G-Hold supports that experience physically, comfortably placing the whole world in your hand.”