Ojee Golf creates a digital display unit to help golfers improve their game. Founder Matt Hulbert tells BQ more about the product, and why he has entered Innovation Showcase at this year's Venturefest Tees Valley.
Describe your business in no more than 100 words
Ojee Golf Limited is a sports technology company that has developed a revolutionary digital training aid to help improve and refine a fundamental component of every golfer’s game, the set up.
Our aim is to develop Ojee into a global sports technology brand, recognized for design, innovation and performance. Talon will be one of several innovative golfing products to be sold under the Ojee Golf brand and used as part of our online golf tuition portal - Ojee Academy.
What prompted you to enter the innovation showcase?
We’ve recently moved into the BoHo One building in Middlehaven and the team here alerted us to the opportunity to apply for the event. Personally, I’m a huge fan of promoting business growth in the North East and any opportunity to showcase what the region has to offer needs to be jumped at. Most of our development as a company has relied on the use of other businesses within the North East, we’re also proud to be a part of a number of regional business support programmes.
Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.
How you set up and address the ball is fundamental to every golfer’s game, from beginners to professionals. However, teaching, learning and replicating the optimum set up for golfing success has previously relied upon basic unreliable methods which cannot be quantified or accurately replicated. For example, relying on ‘feel’, looking in a mirror and video analysis.
Our product, the Talon is a digital display unit that easily attaches to the grip of any golf club in your bag.
Using patented technology, it measures and clearly displays four critical angles of address:
· Spine angle
· Club shaft angle
· Club shaft to spine angle
· Rotation of the club face
Talon removes the guess work – allowing you to set up to the ball with the same posture, every time. Ultimately a player will improve their muscle memory, consistency and optimum performance.
How would you describe that innovation to your grandparents?
Simple, a digital spirit level for your golf set-up!
What are the best and worst parts of trying to be innovative in your business?
The golf industry is certainly a heavily saturated marketplace and everybody believes that they’ve unlocked the secret to the game, as a small start-up it can prove frustrating at times to get noticed above the competition. It’s all worth it though when you see a golfer’s mind shift and they ‘get it’ – seeing their shots improve right in front of you is certainly a highlight for me.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
As a product designer, I have a number of other golfing products that I want to launch alongside the Talon – having the resource to keep the business moving forward whilst being able to innovate is certainly a big challenge for me.
Where do you get support and advice to help you run your business?
My business partner (and Dad) Paul Hulbert is a valuable resource, having worked in a number of businesses prior to Ojee he has been essential in moving the business forward. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have developed a fantastic network within the North East, in both a design/manufacturing capacity as well as a business one – too many to name but they’re all hugely important to me.
What does being chosen for the innovation showcase mean to you?
It’s a huge privilege and an honor to be selected to showcase, running a business can be a lonely road at times so it’s nice for the work at Ojee to be recognized. I’ve mentioned before just how passionate I am about promoting the region so it counts double!
Where do you see your company in five years’ time?
I see Ojee as a platform for developing a number of innovations across a variety of different sporting practices. Data is imperative in the development of both sporting professionals and amateurs alike, our pursuit for simple information, delivered in real-time will help for us to deliver products that are both valuable and affordable to improve sporting enthusiasts.
What would you tell businesses who are hoping to be more innovative?
Always prototype to the highest level you can. Start quick and dirty but don’t click the button until you’ve tested all avenues.
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