Oxfordshire based business, uWatch Ltd, develops, designs and manufactures police approved crime prevention solutions that will alert you within seconds if somebody is on your property. Using the latest technology, uWatch’s product ‘The Cube’ is completely unjammable , cyber-certified, works with or without mains power and able to be installed in any area that needs monitoring.
uWatch’s founder, Norman Guiver, gives us an insight into his business and how it all began. “Going back to 1983 I invented the swipe card which was implemented into the business I had back then which was leisure management. I sold that in 1999 and retired at the age of 50. However, you never really retire. In 2011 I teamed up with a buddy of mine and we decided to reinvent the mouse trap. Unfortunately, he passed away not long after this, so the project was put on hold. I decided to start it up again a few years later and began developing the electronic rat trap. We got a product ready for market and sold into the pest control industry and uWatch was officially launched in 2014.
Norman tells us how he diversified his rat trap into targeting criminals. “I soon realised that thieves and rats are the same technical challenge. So, we started to expand our target market into non-serious crime prevention. By 2021 we had a product which could replace the current 101 police system for reporting non-serious crime. We carried on developing the system and introduced enhancements on the pest control product and relaunched it in the middle of last year, specifically for crime prevention. Our product is a sensor-rich, computer, called The Cube. It’s basically a small box with excellent functions including a day and night camera, GPS, 4G, a scheduler and long-range communications (LoRa) from up to 2km away and through brick walls. Whilst other systems gather ‘evidence’ after you have become a victim, The Cube can protect your vehicle, HGV, Stable, Farm, building site, fuel tank, shipping container, caravan, boat and much more in real-time within minutes. We have created a fantastic marketing video. We have achieved police cyber certification and are now members of the Police Secured by Design Scheme.”
"The OxLEP team informed us about their Go-Create grant. They were great, they really listened to us and understood what we were trying to achieve."
uWatch connected with OxLEP Business and gained support from both the eScalate and Innovation Support for Business (ISfB) programmes. Norman tells us how important their support has been over the past few years. “We knew of OxLEP from the local community and first connected with them back in 2020. We engaged initially with their ISfB which was for innovative businesses. We had got to a point with the development of LoRa where we had to upgrade the operating system for The Cube and that’s a very expensive task. We needed to employ developers to do this but didn’t have the financial resources to do it quickly enough. We really needed some financial support. The OxLEP team informed us about their Go-Create grant. They were great, they really listened to us and understood what we were trying to achieve. It wasn’t an easy process, we were initially rejected but our second attempt, with their help and guidance, was successful which was great. It would have taken us a year to upgrade our operating system, but this funding allowed us to get it done in three months thanks to OxLEP. Their advice also helped us with developing our business ideas, it wasn’t only about the grant. I would recommend their support to anybody. As a scale-up business we also signed up to their eScalate programme and gained valuable advice on funding, investment readiness and pitching. This was a really excellent complement to the support we received from ISfB and helped us with thinking about our financial stability into the future.”
Norman closes by telling us his hopes for the future of uWatch. “We have a radical product. It’s not enough to sell a few Cubes locally, it has to go national. The market opportunities are huge. However our main target is the police and selling this into them. We know it would save them tens of millions per year. I know it will continue to be a challenge to get our product into the police forces around the country, but I’m confident we will succeed in the future. So, my focus continues to be working towards winning over the police and government and eventually becoming a multi-million pound company. Think big or go home!”