A fashion footwear brand, a headphone innovator and an electrical wiring innovator are the first recipients of funding from the British Design Fund, an early stage investment fund for UK start-ups in the product design and manufacturing space.
The fund, which raised more than £500,000 from around 140 investors in its first wave of funding, received applications from more than 100 companies looking for cash as well as mentoring and support to accelerate the growth of their businesses.
The recipients to receive funding from the first round of investments are Calla Shoes, Kokoon Technology and KTech Manufacturing.
Founded by Jennifer Bailey, Calla Shoes are a new brand of stylish footwear for women who suffer from bunions.
Kokoon Technology are the creators of the world’s first intelligent headphone and app that adapts to your sleep patterns by measuring brain activity. This is done through EEG sensors to help you relax and switch off.
KTech Manufacturing, manufacturers of the mBox – a tool that makes wiring the connections to heating systems such as boilers in the home faster and safer via a simple method of securing electrical wires with clamps rather than screw terminals.
The British Design Fund, set up by the ex-CEO of the Design Council John Mathers and design entrepreneur Damon Bonser, was launched in late 2017.
Bonser said: “The UK fosters so much amazing design talent and creates many of the world’s greatest product design leaders, yet there is an unbelievable lack of funding into early stage, well designed, product businesses.
“Most product start-ups rely on innovation grants and crowdfunding platforms to get their first products off the ground – if they’re lucky.
“The British Design Fund aims to fill that gap and help entrepreneurs significantly increase their chance of success by providing capital as well as expertise, in what’s become a highly competitive sector.”