The founder of the Hackney-based company Sugru, who make the world’s first mouldable glue, has spoken of her gratitude after a crowdfunding campaign raised £2m.
Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, inventor and chief executive, said of the recent Crowdcube bid which saw 2740 investors backing the firm and its expansion plans: “It means a huge amount. We’ve run two really successful crowdfunding campaigns and it’s largely down to the hard work of a great team.
“The pressure was certainly on this time to repeat that first success in 2015, when we raised over £3.5m. The team worked their socks off and we nailed it. It’s incredibly humbling to see members of the public support us in this way, and they won’t be sorry – we’ve got some exciting times ahead!”
Sugru – described by Ni Dhulchaonintigh as a “space-age Play-doh” – is waterproof when cured and works at temperatures from well below freezing to above boiling point and can be used as a sealant, as an adhesive or for rubberised grip.
The company has made huge progress since it was founded in 2009, and was named one of the 50 best inventions in the world by Time magazine in 2010.
Ni Dhulchaointigh said she came up with the idea after studying Design in London, when she realised she did not necessarily want to ‘design’ – but re-design and re-purpose what’s already there.
She said: “I really enjoyed studying Fine Art in college so went on to do a Masters in Design at the Royal College of Arts. It wasn’t long before I realised I didn’t want to make new things when there was already too much stuff in the world. the thought of enabling people to fix things and save them from going to landfill was a huge driver.”
She said of her invention: “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.”
Ni Dhulchaointigh explained that she wanted to provide a gateway to new possibilities not just in the world of design, but also for DIY and manufacturing. “I wanted to create a product that would allow people to get stuck in and fix and redesign stuff themselves. There’s often a ‘one size fits all’ approach to design and manufacturing, so the thought of a material that empowered people to make changes to the things around them really excited me from the outset,” she said.
The company also has big plans for the future and have expanded to France and South Africa and have plans to launch in Canada, Australia and New Zealand later this year.