Cubbie

Founders: David McIntyre and Diane McIntyre
 
Number of Staff: 5
 
Start Date: 2018-01-01
 
Tell us what your business does?
Cubbie Sensory Hub is a new innovation providing individualised multi-sensory management solutions in a safe, comfortable environment. Its internal environment adapts to each user’s specific requirements. Its been universally designed to fit into any space and is hygienic & robust for adults and children thus enhancing participation in daily living.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Our innovation journey began when our youngest daughter Ava was diagnosed with Autism in 2015. Through educational parental programs, we learned that Children were being excluded from their right to an education, because of behavioral and sensory issues. This inspired us to create a low arousal safe space to support the individual sensory requirements of the user and thus help them fully participate. We sought a solution that was fit for the purpose of preventing meltdowns in autistics. We followed Universal Design principles to make a cubicle space that is wheelchair and hoist accessible. It needed to be hygienic and safe for children and adults to use and the design needed to be friendly and inviting. We spent 3 years designing, researching, creating, redesigning, and testing. We finally achieved a product that was fit for the market and sold our initial creation in June of 2019. We thus launched the Cubbie Sensory Hub. Not only is the Cubbie Sensory Hub innovative in its universal design, being left unsatisfied with the temperamental and unreliable apps to control the Hubs hardware features, we decided to develop our own bespoke Cubbie software. This software is located on a touch control tablet outside the hub so as not to interfere with the calm distraction-free environment within. The user-friendly interface controls the lights, sound, colours, and images which are projected inside the hub.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes but particularly after being made redundant in 2015
What planning did you do before you started up?
We initially sought help from Mayo Local Enterprise Office, they helped us to create a prototype product that we used for testing and research. Early in 2018 we got accepted onto GMIT New Frontiers program, it was through this program that we realized that we had a viable product and business. We got awarded seed investment in 2019 and we are due to get our major investment early 2021 from a private investor in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland to the tune of €750,000
Which entrepreneurs do you admire?
Mostly admire social Entrepreneurs like SEI but really admire Richard Branson as he has dyslexia like myself
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
We began our journey by using our redundancy money to create models and prototypes, this quickly dried up in 2018 but with the help of Mayo Local Enterprise and GMIT New Frontiers we were able to keep the lights on and motor through. We applied for a CSF (Competitive Start Fund) Grant from Enterprise Ireland early in 2019 and were to that we were not commercial enough. Rather than give up we sought a private investor and were lucky to get a seed investment from a HALO investor in WxNW, this enabled us to fulfill two high-profile sales, Temple Street Children’s Hospital and Aviva Stadium in 2020. If we had not received this investment we would have not been able to complete these important sales
How have you promoted your business?
Through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media avenues. With our next major investment which is almost complete, we will be hiring a marketing and advertising team
Where do you see the business in 3 years’ time?
The sky is the limit for our unique product. We have our first sale in a London school which should already be complete and installed but has been delayed due to covid – 19. This school is the center of a major borough, in which 60 other special schools are interested in discovering more about the product. This is our launch in the UK Marketplace. We hope to launch the product in the USA in late 2021, early 2022. We have already identified the landing site. We are already trialing our next product in Irish nursing homes, a sensory music and imaging product to aid people with dementia ease anxiety. In 3 years we will be successfully selling a range of products throughout Europe and America under the Cubbie brand.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
If its your dream to succeed and you believe in your business, never give up no matter how many knockdowns you get.

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