Inventors of painting robot Hausbots make it to the KickStart finals

Hausbots PR

A Leicestershire duo who hope their robots will one day automate the painting and decorating of entire houses have made it into the final of a regional business competition to win £20,000.

Jack Cornes, 19, and Harry Smith, 19, from Rutland, founded Hausbots in 2016  and are looking to continue the development of their free climbing, wall painting robot.

The pair met during their time at Oakham School and need to raise £8,000 to take their innovative robot to the next prototype stage and ultimately take the product to market.

The business has been shortlisted alongside two other businesses at Baldwins Accountants’ KickStart Awards, which is being held on Thursday, November 16 at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.

The winner will be presented with a £10,000 grant along with £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice from Baldwins Accountants, which has an office in Ashby de la Zouch, and the runners-up will each be given £5,000 of mentoring and accountancy advice.

Harry is currently in the second year of his studies on a design and engineering course at Loughborough University, while Jack works in sales in London.

Jack, managing director at Hausbots, said: “Harry initially designed the robot as part of a school project and managed to get it to its first prototype stage while he was still in school. After being friends for years we knew that we would make a great team so Harry brought me on board as the strategic lead for the venture. Since then we have pumped some money into it and worked to turn an invention into a business.

“We’re focusing on the one prototype, but the wider vision is to look at robotics for the whole of construction. The real end goal would be that we can fully construct and decorate a house just at the push of a button. “Currently around 80 per cent of decorating costs contribute to manual labour and nobody else is trying to automate domestic painting and decorating, so there is a real opportunity for us to revolutionise the industry and the way people decorate their homes. We were invited to talk with the British Coatings Federation and companies that work closely with housing developers said this is just a no-brainer for them.

“We are both keen to support our local community, one of our biggest things is that production and manufacturing will be UK based. If that makes it more expensive then that is something we have to deal with, but it’s something we’re really passionate about.

“The funding from winning the Baldwins Kickstart Awards would change everything for us, we aren’t in a position to put our own personal finance in and we need £8,000 to buy the tools and equipment to take that next step.”

David Baldwin, director at Baldwins, added: “Great businesses usually stem from finding solutions to problems or developing easier ways to complete a task.

“Jack and Harry have identified a clear gap in the market for their product and have already proved that there is a real demand for what they could offer in the future.

“I wish them both the best of luck on awards night and look forward to working with them going forward.”