3DU: Bringing online media to life

After attending a technology tradeshow in Orlando, Barnsley entrepreneur Thomas James Kitchen-Dunn couldn’t believe his eyes when he stumbled across a product which consumers were crying out for. After already launching one company, he decided to start a new venture as a wholesaler of Whoosh3D. He told BQ how the idea came to life.

Thomas stumbled across Whoosh3D at the IAPAA convention in Orlando and decided that it was a product consumers across the pond were craving.

Whoosh3D is a screen protector for smartphones that enable glasses free 3D viewing on mobile phones and tablets. Users can watch Youtube, films, take pictures and convert 2D to 3D without using 3D glasses.

The screen protector acts as the 3D glasses which are usually needed for this process to happen and the App works its magic in the background.

He told BQ: “I have always been interested in business and for the last two years I ran a company called Chickadee Education.

“I found Whoosh3D at an exhibition in Orlando at the IAPAA convention and decided that this is what I wanted to sell and develop.

“Business is a great way to make change and build influence to help people, I want to help as many people as I could.”

When he returned to the UK, he secured the rights to be the UK distributor of the product, leading to the launch of his company, 3DU.

The company already employs four members of staff, having recently recruited a customer services advisor.

In the next six months, the company plans to take on six new members of staff and create its own in-house app development team.

He continued: “I approached a friend of mine that I made through the Prince’s Trust. I pitched him the idea and asked if he would be interested in backing me.

“He said yes! I started with the idea for the business back in November 2013 and only formed the company in March 2015. It has been a long process but quickly becoming worth the wait.”

Having already launched Chickadee Education, Thomas was no stranger to the start-up process. Despite this, he still needed support here and there to ensure everything ran smoothly.

He said: “I am lucky in the way that I have my parents to ask for advice as they run their own business. I can also ask my business partner as he has far more business experience than myself.

“Enterprising Barnsley also assigned business coach John Heckingbottom to my business and he has been brilliant, always on the phone asking how we are doing and seeing if we need any help or advice.”

As with the majority of start-up stories we hear, Thomas also had a number of setbacks along the way but they weren’t flaws in his business plan.

Thomas said: “My biggest challenge has been personal challenges and trying not to let them affect my professional life.

“The day I went to pitch my business idea to my business partner I found out my granddad had terminal lung cancer and had months to live.

“I had just set up a meeting to present my product to Carphone Warehouse and he sadly passed away.

“At the same time I also lost my great Uncle to cancer. I too have been recovering from a complete Thyroidectomy as I was suffering from graves disease over the past 2 years.

“I had my Thyroid removed at the end of November 2014 and suffered nerve damage and vocal damage but fortunately I have made a full recovery.”

Despite this, he has battled on and launched the company from their base at the Digital Media Centre in Barnsley and is now looking to expand into other markets.

He added: “My next big target is the GoPro market. You can make 3D GoPro movies already with them but wouldn’t it be much easier without having to wear the 3D glasses?

“Our product allows you to do just that on your iPhone or iPad. After that it’s social media, gaming, retail and Theme Parks, plus a few other products we have in development but are top secret.”

The company also has aspirations to create a 3D house viewing app for estate agents, a 3D version of photo-sharing website Instagram and specially designed 3D games.

Thomas stated it was the products uniqueness that differentiated the company and made it stand out – as nothing else had been launched in the UK like it.

He said: “It’s completely unique with limitless potential. People had a hard time with 3D because of the glasses, but now that’s a thing of the past and we hope people will reengage and see the potential in our product.

“With us already developing new products and services to offer we hope to be an industry leader in 3D technology.

“I would love for 3DU to be established on the High Street with big retailers with a product that is natural choice for customers to enhance their phone.”

BQ will continue to follow the business journey of 3DU and Whoosh3D as the company continues to grow.

In partnership with: Startup Britain