NI couple strike big on Dragons' Den with electrician's invention

  • A Northern Ireland couple appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den show last week with their invention to help electricians secure cables more efficiently and safely.

    Lisburn man Davy Gray is an electrician turned entrepreneur.

    After spending over 25 years manually hammering electric cables to wooden joists with metal clips, Davy thought of the ViperClip.

    He took redundancy, sold his house and invested his life savings into bringing the idea to life.

    The ViperClip solution is a re-chargeable battery powered staple gun that fires fully insulated plastic cable staples.

    Davy’s wife Julie noted that as UK regulation states the cable must be supported in the event of a fire, the ViperClip’s staple is made completely from plastic so that it doesn’t conduct electricity which makes it safe to use.

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    She also said on the Dragons’ Den show that “in the 240 volt market, which represents about 90% of the houses that are built each year worldwide” this is usually done using a plastic clip with a metal nail and each clip is hammered into place one by one.

    Julie added that as well as providing a solution to this “awkward and time-consuming job”, they had also tested their cable clips with independent electricians and 96% said they would buy their products.

    Dragon Tej Lalvani said it is a “game changer in terms of safety”.

    Julie commented that the USA, Canada and Japan use 110 volt cables but basically the rest of the world uses the 240 volt ones adding that China is a particularly big market, as it is “actively looking for labour saving devices for residential construction as they’ve got to build 17 million houses every year.”

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    They initially asked for an investment of £80,000 from the dragons in return for a 15% stake in their business.

    After an extremely positive reaction from all the dragons (excluding Peter Jones), the couple eventually went with veteran dragon Deborah Meadon.

    She offered the full amount of money they asked for but for 30% of the business – double the couple’s original equity proposal.

    Talking about the experience afterwards, Julie said: “We were thrilled to get the opportunity to pitch to the dragons. It was such an involved process that really filters out what you know - and what you don't! It wasn’t easy, but it’s an experience we'll definitely remember."

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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