Crowdfunding success for smartwatch creator

Paul Gill, of Orsto, has secured over £70,000 to launch the x3 smartwatch

Paul Gill, founder and design engineer of the Orsto x3 smartwatch

The Durham-based creator of a high-tech smartwatch has smashed an ambitious crowdfunding target in less than two weeks.

Paul Gill, the 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.

Initially, the plan was to run for 60 days.

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

Gill received £9,000 of funding from Transmit Start-Ups to get the prototype off the ground as well as investing around £75,000 of his own money in the project.

“I am delighted with how quickly we have been able to hit the funding target via the Crowdcube campaign,” he said.

“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.”

He added that the luxury watch market was growing year on year, but that 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,” he said.

“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 was originally looking to secure £60,000 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.

Gill 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 aimed at users who prefer a more traditional shape.

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.

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