The automated decoration of homes has taken a step closer after two Leicester-based inventors secured a £20,000 investment.
Hausbots – formed by Rutland residents Jack Cornes, 19, and Harry Smith, 19 – scooped the top prize in the Baldwins Accountants’ Kickstart Young Entrepreneurs Awards at Edgbaston Cricket Ground after impressing around 450 business representatives with their plans.
Jack and Harry have collected £10,000 in cash for their business and £10,000 worth of mentoring and accounting advice from Baldwins Accountants, which has offices in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
The latest investment will now allow the former Oakham School pupils to move their wall-climbing paint robot to the next prototype stage and ultimately take the product to market.
The robot is able to stick to the wall using caterpillar tracks made up of suction cups, which draw out air upon making contact with the wall, enabling the robot to stick to the wall.
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.
Harry, of Hausbots, said: “Winning this prize is a game-changer for us and our business.
“All of the funding will now go towards producing a more reliable model of our robot so we can show it to investors to allow us to generate more trial contracts, potentially on building sites.
“The innovative part of the robot is the caterpillar track climbing up the wall and this funding will help us to improve the prototype to show its real potential.
“Hopefully by May we will be in a position to demonstrate a prototype to potential customers, before making it a fully autonomous product by mid-2019 where it could be ready to go onto building sites.
“I’m currently a second year design and engineering student and earn a bit of money by working in a bike shop. My intention now is to fully focus on this project in 2018 and by the end of it, take stock and see where we go from there.”
Jack, who currently works part time in sales in London for a food and drink brand, believes the sky is the limit for their invention.
He added: “We are not aware of anybody else automating the painting and decorating of homes, so this is a real opportunity for us to revolutionise the process.
“For now our focus is on domestic decorating but who is to say we can’t go further with it?
“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.
“Our robot really has taken a step closer to reality with this funding, and we have an exciting 18 months ahead of us.”
Harry and Jack beat off two other young entrepreneurs in the final – carbon fibre coating business C12 Carbon and a young mentoring service for young people, called 2-3 Degrees.
David Baldwin, director at Baldwins, believes Harry and Jack are on the cusp of a major breakthrough.
He added: “Jack and Harry have all of the ingredients for success with a product that nobody else has combined with market knowledge of who they want to target with the product – which really shone through on the awards night.
“We will now be working with Harry and Jack to help them convert their prototype into a growing business.
“All of the finalists were winners on the night – they all demonstrated fantastic business plans that will set themselves up for a bright and successful future.”
The evening also raised £20,000 for Baldwins Accountants’ official charity partner, HelpHarryHelpOthers, through an auction and raffle.