Sticky putty Sugru crowdfunds in bid to rival Sellotape and Blu-Tack worldwide

One created tactile buttons for a radio so a blind man could listen to music and tune the radio; another created wall hooks in his kitchen, which act like a bracket for his iPad so that he can follow recipes while cooking, without getting the screen greasy.

Some of the products that have been fixed with Sugru

"The crowd has been integral to our success to date," says ni Dhulchaointigh "Facebook and Twitter have helped us grow the brand without spending lots of money.

"People get their own ideas once they see it in action. They just need a little stimulation then imagination lights up. That's people power."

Ni Dhulchaointigh recently tapped into the crowd to fund the next stage of Sugru's expansion.

In June, she launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £1m as part of a larger £2m round.

The campaign on the Crowdcube platform broke two world records: it featured the first ever £1m crowdfunding single investment, and boasted the widest reach, with investors from 68 countries.

Some 2,700 investors pledged £3,548,820, overfunding the campaign by 355pc. Ni Dhulchaointigh said she was "humbled" by the support Sugru received.

The business has raised £4.5m over the past 10 years to develop its easy-to-use putty, which hardens into an indestructible material.

Venture capitalist Robin Klein was an early backer. He tweeted that "the quality of companies that are crowd funding keeps rising" last week, showing his support for Sugru.

The crowdfunding campaign is running alongside Sugru's "rise of the domestic ninja" campaign, which is hoping to raise the profile of the company by showcasing the best fixes and hacks to date.

A father in Germany made Sugru bumpers on his camera so that he could let his three year-old embrace her curiosity for photography

"Sugru has been successful because of timing," says ni Dhulchaointigh. "When I started the company in 2004, I would talk to people about fixing things and they would look at me like I was mad. By 2009, they were saying, 'Oh that's cool'.

"The recession made people think about whether they really needed that extra pair of trainers or if they could fix the ones they had. We also spend so much time in front of computers that we want something to show for our day. We bake cakes, make meals from scratch, garden, and fix things."

Sugru is a brand new product; the brand is unknown to most consumers and most don't even know that such a material exists. To solve this problem, ni Dhulchaointigh is investing heavily in in-store demonstrations.

"You have to touch it and see it in action to see its potential," she says. "That means we have to spend a lot of time showing staff in stores what it can do and doing merchandising, which is expensive but essential."



Sugru has been sold through DIY chain BQ in the UK for a couple of years, and online through the company's e-commerce website.

According to ni Dhulchaointigh, the additional marketing, alongside continued investment in Sugru's manufacturing capacity - the material is produced in a factory in Hackney by Sugru's 50 staff - will help the company to double revenues this year.

Some 50pc of Sugru's £2.3m turnover is now generated from the US, which will remains a key market for the business.

Sugru is already available in Home Improvement stores but has now signed a new deal with US retail giant Target.

"That's our first general store," says ni Dhulchaointigh. "It's not just DIY-ers that go there."

She is keen to expand into new territories and is also looking to sign deals with industrial partners. "Sugru is really great for mounting things in cars, for example, or fixing cables, and there are companies that specialise in these markets."

A new version of Sugru, which is totally kid safe, is also currently in production. "We are looking to get into the toy space," says ni Dhulchaointigh.

The inventor wants Sugru to become ubiquitous and create generations of people that choose to fix their possessions rather than buy new.

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"This is just the beginning," she says. "We want to be just as normal as duct tape or superglue, so that when you have any problem, people will say 'Sugru it'. That's' what we're shooting for."

http://telegraph.feedsportal.com/c/32726/f/568875/s/469effb4/sc/23/l/0L0Stelegraph0O0Cfinance0Cbusinessclub0Ctechnology0C1162840A80CSticky0Eputty0ESugru0Ecrowdfunds0Ein0Ebid0Eto0Erival0ESellotape0Eand0EBlu0ETack0Eworldwide0Bhtml/story01.htm

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