What is SEE.SENSE all about?
See.Sense is a cycling technology and data company. We are a team of cyclists, and we’re passionate about making cycling more enjoyable for everyone by making products that cyclists love to use, and by helping create smart cities of the future with our crowdsourced sensor data at the same time.
How many years has it been going?
Thanks to an amazing group of 504 Kickstarter backers in 2013, See.Sense has now been operating for over three years now.
What was the inspiration behind startup?
See.Sense was a spark of inspiration born out of frustration for our CEO Philip. Back when he was living and working in Singapore for a large investment bank, he took up cycling to keep fit. During his daily commutes, he started to become really frustrated with the uncompromising attitude of many of the drivers in Singapore and wanted to do something about it…
Many bike lights are simply not bright enough to be visible in the daytime, and the ones that are, usually require carrying a heavy and bulky battery. Philip wanted to create something that was both bright, lightweight and that used power efficiently to keep him extra visible on the roads. Looking at the sensor technology in his smartphone, Philip, with his background in electronic engineering went on to develop the See.Sense intelligent bike light that reacts to road and light conditions.
Having created the product for himself, Philip started to get plenty interest from other cyclists. So what had started off as a personal quest, quite quickly turned into a business. You could say that See.Sense, as a company, almost came about by accident.
What exciting tech do you get to play with?
We do everything inhouse, from engineering and design right through to delivery, recently we have been obsessed with our new 3d printer, it’s invaluable for See.Sense, as we can now prototype up exciting new product designs very quickly and easily. We also have an office drone named Gary.
From our last chat, you seem to have an awesome business model! What’s your value proposition?
Delivering top of the range cycling tech products that cyclists are proud to use while expanding our smart city offering by generating unique data that is used to improve cycling infrastructure.
You usually get the users and the customers, who would they both be for your business?
Our customers are at the core of everything we do here at See.Sense. After two successful Kickstarter campaigns, we are really grateful to have built up a strong, engaged and loyal community of cyclists on our networks and social media.
The See.Sense customer can range from your serious club cyclist, to your casual weekend rider, and of course the tech nerds and gadget geeks!
Any exciting announcements for 2017?
We have some really exciting things lined up for 2017. Let us just say it’s going to be a busy Summer. We are hugely excited to announce the integration of our tech into Belfast’s city bike scheme in a collaboration with the city, so that our crowdsourced data can be used to improve cycling safety and the overall experience for cyclists.
Tell me more about the founders, how did you get to start working on this concept?
Our Co-founders and husband and wife Philip & Irene both gave up their corporate careers to set up See.Sense. They left Singapore and returned home to Northern Ireland to set up the company in Philip’s hometown of Newtownards, which is about ten miles from Belfast City Centre. Philip and Irene worked with hundreds of cyclists around the world and tested several prototypes with their local cycling club, North Down CC before launching the 2.0 in 2013 and the ICON in 2015.
See.Sense ICON completely built on the success of the early 2.0 light, and we have been delighted with the response. Recently, ICON was voted as ‘Best Bike Gadget’ by the readers of popular cycling website road.cc. We were also delighted to have won the BT SME Award for Connected Cities, as well as the category winner for Smart Cities, held in conjunction with the UK Cabinet office just last year.
Would also love to know more about your team, What can you tell us about them?
We are very proud to have recently been able to triple our workforce in just a matter of months. We are a team of engineers, designers, data scientists and marketers and do everything inhouse.
You are based in Northern Ireland. How is that working for you?
There’s a great startup support ecosystem here, that helped give us our start. In particular, Catalyst (formerly the NI Science Park) and InvestNI have been excellent.
We got to meet at Futurescope, how was your experience at it?
We had a stand at Futurescope, and it was wonderful to meet so many people there and have the chance to give a demo of our product. We had a lot of positive feedback – especially when people realised that this wasn’t just an idea or a prototype, ICON is a real product that we’ve successfully commercialised.
Our Co-founder Irene McAleese participated on a panel with the other winners of the Smart Cycling SBIR, so it was fantastic to be able to share our learning from the process, as well as our aspiration for what we want to achieve in Dublin.
What value did you get out of it?
The high calibre of speakers on the panels and presentations was impressive – it was clear a lot of work had gone into the organising of the agenda. we learnt a lot.
Any other information you’d like to add for the readers?
We’d recommend FutureScope for next year!
For more info please visit: https://seesense.cc/