Thursday, 30 July 2009

Leeds Inventors Group 15-7-09 Tim Moor

“From Product Inception to Marketplace”
Tim Moor - Leeds Inventors Group 15-7-09

Tim gave the group a quick rundown of his own background through his time at Northumbria University’s School of Design, through his stint at the ministry of Defence’s DERA section (Defence Evaluation and Research Agency) to his own businesses.

In 2006 he set up G & T Design specifically to develop new products. It’s a consultancy which helps inventors along the way from product inception to market. As Tim said, fitting an inventor into the right network so that they can make the right contacts is vital.

He went into detail on a number of different products of his own which he has worked on over the years. He described one device which is a gas analyser. It works by analysing the make-up of a patient’s breath when they blow into it. From this an early diagnosis of such conditions as diabetes and asthma can be made.

He is currently promoting a flat-pack baby bottle. It folds down to a sixth of the size of a conventional bottle, making it very easy to carry around. The bottle is not rigid and as the milk (or other liquids) are drunk from the bottle it collapses slowly. It can be disposed of after use so there is no need to re-sterilise it. The product has granted patents covering it in several countries.

It has taken six years to get the product to market, having to overcome several hurdles. Obviously as a baby product is has to adhere to certain standards and must have the CE mark. It was also rejected by several companies before a company called “Vital Baby” took it on. It is now on sale in Boots.

However, as Tim pointed out, while this is a great achievement it is still just another step along the way. There is a long way to go before the product breaks even. Royalties take a long time to build up and the debts which build up during development have to be paid off.

Tim then used the example of his new product “Bedrock Gin” to show how a product develops. He had already made an impressive entrance to the meeting holding a bottle of gin in each hand.

The idea originated from a conversation in a pub. They had thought of developing a new whisky but then from their market research realised that the gin market was growing the most so decided on that. They found a distiller – the oldest distillery in the country - and gained their interest. They then had to decide on what flavours they wanted the drink to have, what ingredients and processes would be involved and of course what could be protected. Patents have been filed but are still going through the early stages of the application process.

They had wanted to use the name “Osprey” for the drink but this was already owned by Whyte & Mackay. On contacting them Whyte & Mackay became very interested and helped them to get things going.

Bedrock Gin has got to market much faster than the baby bottle did, and won awards along the way. Part of this, as Tim explained was down to inexperience when he first started off with the bottle, and a significant part was also down to getting the right contacts.