The ‘Five minutes with’ series presents a company with five short, sharp and to-the-point questions about who they are and what they do. This week we’re joined by Litelok’s Neil Barron.
Can you tell us the history of the company?
At Litelok, we make bike locks that are light, flexible and strong. The idea came about after having several bicycles stolen on the streets of London. Fed up with having to carry around heavy bike locks, I thought there must be a way to create a high-security, lightweight bike lock. Many cyclists I spoke to agreed that it didn’t seem right that, as bicycles were getting lighter and lighter, secure bike locks were getting heavier and heavier.
After years of research, development and testing, my team and I created and patented a new composite material called 'Boaflexicore'. It's made of layers of innovative materials that keep our locks lightweight, but difficult to cut or break. Each layer provides additional security, meaning they can withstand sustained attack from tools like cable cutters, bolt croppers, crowbars and hacksaws. The locking mechanism is made from hardened steel and is very difficult to pick. This is also patented.
In March 2015, we ran a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, raising over £232,000. This helped turn the idea into a reality. I am incredibly thankful to our Kickstarter backers - without whom we wouldn’t be here. We have built on this early success, now offering Liteloks all over the world from our HQ here in Wales. In April 2017, we signed an exclusivity deal with Evans Cycles and Liteloks are now stocked in 44 shops across the country and selling well.
Litelok won ‘Best Cycling Innovation’ at the 2016 London Cycling Campaign awards and was declared the ‘Best Foldable Lock’ by Cycling Plus in 2017. The Independent just awarded Litelok ‘Best Buy’ in 2018, beating 11 other bicycle lock brands.
What are you ultimately trying to achieve?
We want to grow our product range so that we're able to offer the perfect bike lock for every type of cyclist and situation. We put innovation and design at the heart of the business and are keen to produce the very best products - all manufactured here in the UK.
What gives you an edge over other brands in the industry?
In addition to our agile and innovative approach to business, I am delighted to announce that as of August 2017 we have secured a seven figure co-investment from the Development Bank of Wales and a syndicate of Business Angels. Complemented by a government-assisted cutting edge R&D programme, this investment will allow us to invest in high-tech manufacturing in South Wales, as well as sales, marketing and product development.
What innovations in the industry are exciting you at the moment?
We're a big fan of electric bicycles. In our promo video, we borrowed a Coboc e-bike and it was a joy to use. We think e-bikes will encourage more people to cycle, which is only a good thing. And, of course, we’re very excited about Litelok Gold Wearable, our newest product, just launched!
What does the future hold for the company?
Bringing new, innovative products to market - trying to keep repeatedly surprising the market and fulfilling the needs and desires of cyclists.