Case Studies

Innovator behind smart kettle highlights importance of due diligence

The founder of WeeKett, a smart appliances start-up used Business Gateway to ensure she had a robust plan for bringing her product to market.

9th May 2022

A smart appliances start-up has successfully brought its first product, a WiFi-enabled kettle, to market and has plans to create more internet-connected home products.

Founder Chunli Zhang came up with the idea after working in financial services when she graduated from Edinburgh University. During this time, she was at her desk at 7 am and quickly realised she needed something to manage her morning routine. This inspired her to create a WiFi-enabled kettle, which pairs with either a phone or home device to ensure hot water for tea or coffee is ready when needed.

Initially supported by the University of Edinburgh, which provided advice and help for recent graduates who want to start their own business, Chunli was introduced to Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise as she set about making her idea a reality.

Through Business Gateway she was able to access funding that went into her initial market research and feasibility study for the product.

Chunli said, “I’ve found the entrepreneurial culture in Scotland to be well supported with organisations and people happy to give advice and help with whatever a new business might need. As a recent graduate from the University of Edinburgh, I was able to access help to work out how I should go about creating my product and they introduced me to Business Gateway.

“The Business Gateway team were very knowledgeable about the process of creating a product and helped me secure £5000 which meant a lot for an early-stage business. This funding then ensured I could hire a design agency to carry out the initial research for WeeKett, which gave me confidence that my idea would work.”

Chunli later accessed further funding which went towards an IP audit, which she advocates as a critical step for anyone who wants to bring a new product to market.

She said, “If I hadn’t accessed the funding, I might have skipped this step as an unnecessary cost, but it’s essentially an insurance policy for your business and ensures you are prepared for any potential challenges when it comes to bringing your product to market. It meant that I knew my product was offering customers something unique and ensured I was prepared for potential commercial tactics by competitors.”

Since it launched in 2020, WeeKett has gone from strength to strength, and was recently included in both The Times (Scotland) round-up of Christmas gifts in 2021, as well as becoming the most ‘wished for’ kettle in the UK on Amazon.

She said, “The best part of this job is the feedback from customers who have bought my product and it’s incredible to think how far I’ve come since first coming up with the idea.

“I would encourage anyone with an idea to reach out and find out what help is there. I’ve personally found people in Scotland very generous with their time and support. I would also encourage people to take time to conduct robust due diligence, from the initial concept through to the market launch. Not only does it give you confidence in the success of your business, but it also ensures you’re prepared for any difficulties further down the line.”

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