Crowdfunding success for smartwatch creator

The Durham-based creator of a high-tech smartwatch is celebrating after smashing an ambitious crowdfunding target in less than two weeks.

Paul Gill, who is founder and design engineer at Orsto launched a Crowdcube Equity Investment funding campaign to raise £60,000 to launch the x3 smartwatch in mid-April.

After achieving the funding target in just one week, the campaign ran into overfunding and raised £70,440, 117% of the original target, within 12 days of what was originally planned to be a 60 day campaign.

The x3 smartwatch boasts the same capability as a computer in a device similar in size to a 50p and combines a phone, computer with GPS signal and 8mega pixel camera.

52 year old Paul, from Durham, received £9,000 funding from Transmit Start-Ups to get the smartwatch prototype off the ground as well investing around £75k of his own money in the project.

Paul said: “I am delighted with how quickly we have been able to hit the funding target via the Crowdcube campaign.  The incredibly quick support shown by the 86 investors is great recognition of Orsto’s potential.

“The X3 is the first smartwatch which is both high tech and appeals to the style conscious, with a sleek, sophisticated design.

“The luxury watch market is growing year on year but to date smartwatches have been driven by early-adopters and function-driven buyers. We have a real opportunity here to exploit the demand for both high-end and high-specification timepieces and the crowdcube campaign has significantly moved the project forward.

“Ultimately we want to establish an assembly plant here in the North East, creating jobs and making a positive contribution to the regional economy.

“The start-up loan and the Crowdcube investment will significantly help us achieve our goal of becoming a major employer in the North East.”

Orsto were originally looking to secure £60k for 7% of the business, with investors offered significant return thanks to the projected growth of the smartwatch market.

The overfunded shares will be distributed without dilution of early investor’s shares.

Paul has a lengthy track record in research and development which started at Philips Electronics in Belmont, Durham, where he trained as an electrical and mechanical engineer and has since worked on numerous product design projects.

Production of the Orsto X3 tooling will begin next month with the first smartwatch components being manufactured in July.

The company has also completed the design of the next generation Orsto X4 smartwatch, which is designed to suit users who prefer a more traditional shape of watch.

Orsto will also be working with Sunderland Software City, the region’s universities and industry bodies to help developers and students create apps for the smartwatch with the view of creating a North East smartwatch economy centred around the proposed local assembly plant.

To find out more about the X3 smartwatch visit www.orsto.com