Invention turned down by Dragons' Den scoops major contracts
A Scots entrepreneur who was turned down by Dragon’s Den for her device to help arthritis sufferers hold tablets has scooped a major contract with a high street retailer.
Retail giant Curry’s is now selling Edinburgh-based Alison Grieve’s ergonomically-designed G-Hold tablet holders, while she has also signed a distribution deal with Arthr, a company specialising in products and innovations for people with arthritis.
Alison - who was turned down by Dragons’ Den investors in 2016 before going on to land deals with tech giants Apple and Microsoft - said: “These are two very different but equally fantastic opportunities for G-Hold.
“The rollout with Curry’s is our most significant retail listing in the UK and means our products are now available in hundreds of stores across the country.”
She added: “This is hugely exciting for us. We’ve been in major USA stores since 2015, but nothing tops the truly feel-good moment when our friends and family can get their hands on a G-Hold at such a household name throughout the UK.
“The deal with Arthr will give millions of people who suffer from arthritis the chance to use their tablets and mobile phones in a far more comfortable and less painful way.
“Arthritis sufferers are often older people who are finding life very difficult at the moment due to the Coronavirus pandemic, so their mobile devices are often important lifelines for them.
Ms Grieve invented G-Hold tablet holders in 2015 as a follow-on from her Safetray product, which made it easier and safer for hospitality sector workers to carry trays.
Despite failing to land investment when she pitched G-Hold on Dragons’ Den she has grown the business, based in Edinburgh’s Tollcoross district, into an international success story.
She said: “Since being on the show we’ve actually taken in 15 times more revenue than we were looking to raise in funding from the Dragons. Our team in Scotland always believed in the potential of our products and, although I couldn’t convince the Dragons in the Den, our growth over the past four years has proven that we were right to persevere.”
The holders are ergonomically designed to reduce discomfort in hands and wrists while using tablet computers and mobile phones. Celebrity users include TV sports presenter Lee McKenzie and jazz singer Gregory Porter.
Ms Grieve added: “There are other tablet and mobile phone holders on the market, but we have spent a lot of time in biomechanics laboratories understanding the science of holding in order to develop our exclusive, patented technology.”
The Edinburgh-based manufacturer has also been busy supporting educators throughout lockdown, such as Worcester Public Schools in the USA and Cognita School Group, which ordered more than 1000 G-Holds for its teachers to use while delivering lessons from tablets.
Ms Grieve said: “We have always enjoyed working with the education sector, but even more so now with everything which has gone on this year in terms of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The days of teachers or lecturers standing in front of a classroom and using a board with chalk or a marker pen are disappearing fast. But if you’re teaching, lecturing or presenting for long periods of time with a tablet then you are putting huge strain on your hand, wrist and neck - and that’s before you have to worry about dropping and breaking your device.”