Back in November 2013 we approved a small Start Up Loan for Paul Gill, an entrepreneur from County Durham. Paul needed some money to prototype his latest invention, a smart watch.
For those of you who don't know what a smart watch is, it's a device that you wear like a watch but acts like a smart phone.
We were aware of a number of smart watches already on the market, and a few more to follow, but the one thing that excited us was that the Orsto watch was a standalone product. Similar products already on the market had to tether to a smartphone - in other words you had to have your phone with you in order that the watch functioned. Paul's watch however worked without the need for a phone as it carried its own SIM card.
Since we awarded Paul a loan, he raised £70,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube and has subsequently developed a new version ready to take to manufacturing. He has orders from all over the world and now needs your help to fulfil them.
He was recently featured in Insider Media, which explains the full story:
A Durham-based manufacturer of smartwatches is hoping to raise £70,000 through a crowdfunding bid designed to allow it to increase production. Orsto's founder and director told Insider that the company is already selling to a number of retailers and has also had interest from a major phone network.
Orsto specialises in creating premium wearable technology products which incorporate smart communication device electronic components and software.
The company's main product is its smartwatch which is designed to include functions of a smartphone, but on the user's wrist.
Orsto has launched a £70,000 crowdfunding bid on Angels Den, with the money raised being put towards buying inventory, increasing productivity and ultimately selling more products.
Founder Paul Gill told Insider why the product differs from other smartwatches on the market and what the company's plans are for the future.
"Devices you can buy on the market now are essentially just a Bluetooth accessory," he said. "They provide notifications from your phone to your wrist. It's a Bluetooth device with a screen.
"Before they appeared on the market I was working on putting the idea together of a smartphone on your wrist. The original concept was to concentrate on every conceivable function of a smartphone and put everything in there.
"The only way for us as a company to move forward was to develop the product and now we are dumbing it down in the sense that we are finalising what needs to be in there and what the most popular functions are."
The crowdfunding bid is the company's second in the past 12 months following a £60,000 Crowdcube bid in May 2014.
"People were just starting to wake up to the idea back then," said Gill. "We raised that money for prototype work but this time round we have done it differently.
"The money will go towards the next run of watches. If we produced 50,000 units tomorrow, we would sell them all. But we obviously need to manufacture back up stock and the money will allow us to do that kind of thing.
"The X5 product we recently created was to test the market space and we are now in production of a newer product which is set for release to various retailers and distributors.
"We're talking to retailers and we have some major network carriers wanting to utilise the product, including Vodafone in Asia."
If you are interesting in investing a small sum of money into this exciting new product you can see Paul's pitch on the Angels Den website.