WorkFloat, a self-propelled floating work platform that ‘folds’ up to tow behind a 4×4 on the road or slides into a standard shipping container, has just launched its prototype in Penryn.
The Cornish team behind WorkFloat launched the concept at the main industry trade show last summer. Not only did they receive some very strong feedback from the industry, but their clever folding workboat also won the overall ‘Spirit of Innovation’ award at the European Commercial Marine Awards.
After the show, they returned to Cornwall and have since been busy building a prototype of their ‘WorkFloat Lite’ model which was launched in Penryn last month.
WorkFloat is a good showcase of how Cornwall is leading innovation in the maritime sector on a global level.
From investors and grants, through to design and build, the WorkFloat team are proud to emphasise their product is ‘Made in Cornwall’.
Toby Budd, founder and director said ‘’It’s been a full-on 12 months since we founded the company. The first challenge was finding investors. I was lucky to find Rob at Mylor Ventures who put me in contact with some local business angels who have not only put in money in but have been invaluable mentors and sounding boards. We then received a number of grants to help us develop the idea and build a prototype. Marine-i was critical, as well as grants from Accelerate Through Innovation, Oxford Innovations, Cornwall Marine Network and Unlocking Cornish Potential.’’
He added ‘’Once we had the investment in place, we then had to build the thing. With the help of Naval Architect Jack Gifford in Penryn, we developed a set of designs and then chose Danny at Metalcraft, also in Penryn, to do the main fabrication. The fit-out was also all done by local contractors.’’
Now the prototype is built, the team are taking it around the UK to show a number of government agencies and marine businesses that have expressed an interest. The team are hopeful that now the Proof of Concept work has been done, and the industry response has been positive, that sales are expected to follow.
Rob Misselbrook from Mylor Ventures who has assisted WorkFloat with investment said ‘’I can’t emphasise enough the massive gulf that lies between having a good business idea or inventing something, and then getting it to market and developing a viable business. It takes a massive amount of hard work, perseverance and an ability to keep getting up after what is inevitable repeated knockdowns. Cornwall is an incredibly fertile breeding ground for innovation at the moment, not only is it rich with innovative, problem-solving thinkers but it is also home to a network of business angels keen to support them. These investors not only put in hard cash, but they also offer invaluable advice and mentorship, helping steer the founders and inventors in the right direction, keeping them focused and picking them up when they get knocked down – they know what it’s like because they have been there before. WorkFloat is a great example of this combination, and it’s been great to be involved from concept through to the first sale which is hopefully just around the corner”
For more information, and to see a video of WorkFloat in action, Click Here