Sugru plays on strengths as it raises €5m in crowdsourcing
The company behind mouldable glue Sugru, which was co-founded by Kilkenny woman Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, has raised £3.5m (€4.9m) from 2,700 investors in a record crowdfunding campaign.
The UK-based company - FormFormForm - secured the investment from backers in 68 countries, and raised more than three times its £1m target.
One single investor stumped up £1m of the £3.5m that was raised.
The funding - which saw 13pc of the company sold - values FormFormForm at £27m (€38m). That compares to a £21m valuation that was placed on the business last year. According to its accounts, it raised £1.5m in 2014 and £2m in 2013.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Ms Ni Dhulchaointigh said that the new funds that have been raised will be primarily earmarked for distribution and marketing purposes as the company builds its presence in North America and Europe.
Sugru has already gained a significant foothold in the US, where the product is being rolled out across 4,000 stores, including Lowe's Home Improvement and Target outlets. It's expected to be for sale in 10,000 outlets by the end of this year.
Five million packs of Sugru have now been sold, in 160 countries.
Sugru is manufactured in east London. It's an adhesive that can be moulded like play dough and can stick to almost anything. It turns into a strong, flexible rubber within 24 hours.
Funds raised over the past 18 months have also been used for research and development, extending Sugru's shelf life to 13 months, improving its capability in wider temperature settings, and improving packing materials.
Ms Ni Dhulchaointigh (36) developed the basic idea for Sugru while studying for her Masters at the Royal College of Art in London in 2003. She said that she and other founding members of FormFormForm retain close to 50pc of the company.
Using crowdsourcing enabled consumers who had evangelised for Sugru since its inception to become shareholders, she said.
The company could break even by 2017. It generated sales of £2.3m last year and is on track to see that hit £4.5m (€6.3m) this year.