Cash injection helps streamline Snugs Earphones

A custom-fit earphone manufacturer has secured over £1m in private funding and streamlined production with the support of Enterprise Europe Network’s innovate2succeed (i2s) programme. 

Snugs Earphones designs and manufactures custom-fit earpieces unique to the ear canal that are compatible with most leading brand headphones. Described as ‘little Savile Row suits for your ears’ these innovative earpieces are designed and built using 3D laser and printing technology.

When the Exmoor-based company launched in 2013 part of the design process relied on visiting clients to take traditional putty ear moulds. This meant the end-to-end production and delivery time was over 14 days. 

To maximise production and ensure future growth managing director, Paul Jobin, knew investment was needed and was looking for capital injection through either an equity round, capital grant or public funding. 

With innovation so integral to the company, the greatest barrier it faced was accessing this additional funding, particularly for marketing and investment in the scanning technology. 

With the help of the innovate2succeed financial expert, Snugs was able to develop its business and investment plans to ensure its readiness for potential investment. 

This resulted in several successful pitching rounds allowing the company to invest in the latest digital 3D modelling and printing technology. This investment in technology reduced the end-to-end delivery and production time to 8 days and, as a result, profit margins rose from 35 – 46 per cent.

Since progressing through the i2s programme, Snugs has managed to secure over £1 million of investment in six rounds of funding, with the latest round alone raising over £500,000. 

With this additional funding, Snugs hopes by the end of 2017 to reduce production times further to a mere 48 hours and this scalability could result in profits rising to 80 per cent.

Speaking of the help received through innovate2succeed, Paul said: "innovate2succeed has been extremely helpful. It’s given me access to information and networks that Snugs, as a growing business, didn't have.”

Paul also received mentoring on how to present the business opportunity to different networks and investors from around the world. This mentoring has helped Paul to hone his presentation skills, contributing to his success when pitching. 

He said: "Before the programme, I had no experience of funding pitching or how to sell my product to various investors. The advice and mentoring helped me to develop the skills to confidently present the product. I would absolutely recommend it."

Snugs earphones have taken off both within the UK and abroad. Snugs was even featured on BBC Two’s Dragon's Den, leading to the strengthening of its brand and opening the product up to an audience of over 2 million people.

With predictions showing that the headphone industry will be worth $2.2b by 2020 and Apple taking steps into the market with the purchase of Dr Dre Beats, Snugs now hope to become the global brand name in custom-fit earphones. 

Already set to become the brand of choice in London, the company is looking to mimic its model in Shanghai, Paris and the USA; aiming eventually to control a 25 per cent share of the market.

It also hopes to become completely scalable, with cheaper and more efficient printing, quicker ear modelling and a marketing campaign that will rival leading competitors from around the world. 

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