5 mins with with 8power

We hear from Antony Rix of 8power– one of the ten Discovering Start-Ups Competition finalists who will be pitching this Wednesday (19th) in London.

Show us a picture of your product/team/service: 

This illustrates one of our prototypes monitoring a structure.
This illustrates one of our prototypes monitoring a structure.

Are you recruiting?
We’re just starting to recruit. One of the reasons for locating 8power in Cambridge is the excellent pool of talent and supplier companies that we can work with. I’ll be announcing our next senior appointment at Discovering Startups this week.

Over the coming months we’re looking to hire further technical employees, in embedded hardware, software and MEMS design, to work on developing our exciting family of technologies. The recruitment market is competitive, but joining a well-funded startup at an early stage with good share options should be really attractive for exactly the curious and ambitious people we want to hire.

Tell us about your product/service – what was the need you saw?
We see huge potential for intelligent sensors to monitor our world, making it safer and reducing costs of maintenance and inspection. But in this industrial application of the Internet of Things, battery life is a big problem. To get meaningful data from many types of sensor requires frequent or even continuous monitoring and wireless communication. The huge batteries needed to sustain this for a long time are expensive, environmentally damaging, and don’t work for all applications. The alternative is frequent battery replacement, and that’s costly too.

8power’s key differentiator is its energy harvesting technology. This gathers energy from normal vibrations present on transport infrastructure like bridges, roads and railways, or from operating machinery, enough to comfortably power sensors and wireless communications. This is how we solve the battery problem. We already proved that it can work on the Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh.

Companies have been developing energy harvesting technology for some time, but the conventional approach operates only in a narrow frequency range and is quite inefficient. 8power uses a completely different, patented, approach called parametric resonance. Come to see us at Discovering Startups to find out how this works! This breaks through the barriers of performance and bandwidth, giving over 10 times higher power output than competitors.

Share a key lesson you have learnt over the last year?
I’ve been surprised by how many different applications and markets could benefit from 8power’s technology. We’re focusing on a small number of lead customers and target markets. Ultimately, the opportunity is huge.

What’s your tip to stay informed about your industry?
I’m a great fan of trade shows and specialist events. We will be attending and exhibiting at several conferences to get to know those markets, and to spread the message about 8power’s cool technology and the problems it can solve. Look out for us at Advanced Engineering UK in Birmingham from 2-3 November, and at European Utility Week in Barcelona from 15-17 November.

How would you describe life in a start-up?
In one word, creative. We’re building everything, from the technology to its markets, the company and team and investor relationships. This is great fun, and we all enjoy being versatile and getting things done!

For more information, follow 8power on Twitter and buy your ticket for the Pitch-off taking place this Wednesday 19th October, Deloitte.