The Xupo app

Scottish tech start-up secures Dragons’ Den deal

Scottish tech start-up Connect-In has secured a £100,000 investment from technology entrepreneur and original Dragon, Peter Jones to help fund the expansion of its Bluetooth tracker, Xupo.

Xupo, known as Lupo at the time of pitching to the Dragons, provides a solution to an age-old problem – locating the personal items that can be difficult to find on a regular basis: keys, phones, wallets, purses, bags – even family pets!

The coin-sized item locator communicates with a smartphone app via a Bluetooth Smart™ sensor to find misplaced items. The start-up has just announced that Lupo has evolved to Xupo, now with up to 4x the range and improved features thanks to Bluetooth5.

For 30% equity of the business, the Dragons’ Den investment will help to increase marketing spend and capture market share as part of an ambitious growth plan. Xupo forecasts £1 million in revenues in the next year.

Raj Sark, Founder and CEO of Glasgow-based Connect-In, said: “We are thrilled about Peter Jones’ investment and his confidence in our product. We couldn’t have asked for a better Dragon, recognising the true value he will bring to our business based on his network and expertise as one of Britain’s leading technology entrepreneur investors.”

The Bluetooth tracker was launched by Strathclyde University graduates Raj Sark (31) and Vincenz Klemt (28). The idea was sparked when one of the founders lost their travel bag, including a new Macbook and passport, while connecting flights at Heathrow Airport.

The experience prompted Raj and Vincenz to combine their engineering and business skills with practical thinking to design, develop and prototype a wireless tracking sensor. The device launched as Lupo in 2014 after a successful £27,488 crowdfunding campaign with Kickstarter.

Since then, the growing Connect-In team has continued to innovate its product that has evolved into Xupo, a powerful Smart Location solution using Bluetooth 5 technology that offers users the ability to find items, ring their mobile and track items on a map.

Vincenz, co-founder and chief operating officer, added: “Peter’s investment will help us further strengthen our position in the UK and expand into Germany and France, followed by Italy and Spain.

“Negotiating in the Den was an excellent and highly valuable experience. Being ‘grilled on the numbers’ is a classic challenge in the Den as much as it is with any investment pitch, and defending our proposition under a variety of constraints proved quite challenging.

“We knew that in the Den we would have to enter with a conservatively optimistic valuation, otherwise it would have been difficult. We had to ‘talk to the wall’ twice when negotiating with Peter, but in the end, settled for a great deal.”