One to watch
What it does, in a sentence: We have created an exciting new technology to provide families with a smarter watch designed especially for kids. The Gator watch is a wearable mobile phone and tracker -a revolutionary product with innovative safeguarding capabilities that is works anywhere in the world.
Founded: Sept 2015
Founder/s: Colleen Wong
Size of team: 2
Your name and role: Colleen Wong, founder and CEO
What problem are you trying to solve?
For a generation of parents where modern technology and mobile phones allow connections to everything from live world events, to thermostats within their homes, it is only natural for them to want to harness this powerful tool to keep connected to their children. Smartphones, the ultimate tool for this purpose, are a double-edged sword, and giving a child a smartphone even with parental controls activated comes with its own risks. This is where Gator comes in, a revolutionary product with innovative safeguarding capabilities that works anywhere in the world.
How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?
Our target market are parents and guardians of children between 5-10. The market size is 4.4 million children in the UK. There are 30 million children in this age range in the EU. We think we can own over 2 per cent of the UK market in less than 2 years and a much greater percentage in the EU.
How do you make money?
We currently have 2 revenue streams. One is from the sale of hardware and the other recurring revenue from service plans.
Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?
- Colleen Wong – Founder/CEO:
- MBA from INSEAD
- 7 years of sales experience at 2 large investment banks
- Steve Sweet – CTO
- Over 20 years of experience in IT solutions with major institutions
- We have taken an idea to sales at John Lewis and other retailers in 18 months. We are confident we can grow this business quickly
Who’s bankrolling you?
We have been self-funded up to this point. We will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in the coming weeks. We are raising money to expand the business both in the UK and EU.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?
Doesn’t apply, we haven’t secured funding yet.
What do you believe the key to growing this business is?
Continuing to develop new technology and pairing a great product with outstanding customer service. Parents talk and will be our best sales people.
What metrics do you look at every day?
Google, Facebook and Amazon analytics
What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Customers are demanding but understanding. Be honest with customers and they will reward you.
What’s been your biggest mistake so far?
My own expectations that everything moves quickly. Everything moves much slower than I ever want it to and it causes unnecessary frustration.
What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead?
The wearables market in Europe grew by 45 per cent in 2016 (source GFK) with Great Britain being the largest market. 2017 will see continuing growth. Most of the wearables sold in Europe are fitness trackers followed by smartwatches for adults. Other areas of wearables are still in its infancy stages and I think will follow the lead of the whole wearables business.
Which London start-ups are you watching, and why?
- Olio – a food sharing app which tackles a big problem of food waste
- Hoop – an app for children’s activities
- Azoomee – an app which offers content for kids in a safe manner
- Squirrel – a new app for managing your finances and also
- Osper – an app/card that teaches your kids about spending and saving