Invent me: Turning inventors into entrepreneurs

Invent me: Turning inventors into entrepreneurs

A Leeds-based start-up is helping inventors become entrepreneurs and turn their ideas into a working reality.

Invent me, the brainchild of Oliver Yates and Owen Williams, is a collaborative innovation platform that takes the ideas of everyday people to market using the power of crowd sourcing.

The entrepreneurial pair were inspired to launch the business after co-managing a small product development agency, Attacking Design, where they felt they often had to turn down good ideas due to a lack of resources.

“We could help them to an extent but the reality is that most people just have an idea and don’t have thousands of pounds they can risk to get it off the ground,” said co-founder Yates.

“It’s not in our nature to let good ideas go to waste so we set out to create a solution.”

The start-up allows prospective inventors to upload their ideas to Invent me’s online platform, where they are validated and developed by a community of skilled individuals and potential customers, and eventually licensed to commercial partners to take to the market.

The profits are then distributed back to the inventor, community members who contributed and Invent me for their help in making the commercial connections.

Yates added: “Invent Me is completely different to any other route to market out there for new products and ideas. Currently, if you have an idea for a new product you have two options.

“Self-fund development until your idea is ready for investment which will cost you thousands of pounds. Or send your idea to a company and hope they can identify it as a good idea amongst all other submissions.

“Our community driven process allows the best ideas to be identified and developed to the point that commercial partners want to receive them, without any time or risk to the inventor. Once the ideas have been commercialised everyone gets a fair share for their contribution.”

The pair have continued to pursue agency work on the side, in order to support the start-up, as well as relying upon personal savings and backing from family and friends.

Invent me is also a chiclet on the Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator, and has received support from the Leeds University Spark business incubator and RTC North, an Innovate UK funded company.

“In five years’ time we plan for Invent Me to be the go-to place for open innovation and new product ideas.

“We hope to have a vast range of commercial partners in a number of sectors, which will allow for collaboration not only between inventors and our community, but also between companies to bring the best and most game-changing innovations into the world,” said Yates.