Corner Wearables: pulling no punches in Salford
In the wake of a hugely successful Commonwealth Games for British boxing, which saw the home nations win 23 medals, we talk to tech entrepreneur Jerry Krylov about his performance tracking boxing device – and the importance of collaborative working.
“Above all else, you must be hugely passionate about your idea. You have to live and breathe it 24/7 and be driven by a desire to make it happen for the benefit of other people.”
Those are the words of Jerry Krylov who – along with his business partner Charles Burr – co-founded Corner Wearables, a “smart boxing app that tracks training”.
The app, designed to allow users to focus their training, was dreamt up by the dynamic pair as a result of their love of the sport.
"Essentially, Corner Wearables is a pair of small, wireless trackers which slip into a boxer’s hand wraps, and connect to their smartphone using Bluetooth technology.
"Every punch is displayed in real time to build a picture of the athlete’s performance as they box," explains Jerry.
Charles, himself an amateur boxer, gained a master’s degree from Imperial College London and decided to devote his time to developing a wearable technology that could provide market leading performance analysis.
This technical know-how – paired with the duo’s passion for the sport – helped them create an app that offers users a full insight into their training performance.
With limited available funds, they decided to move up north to Burr’s hometown of Manchester and ended up working from the Barclays Eagle Lab in Salford – a decision Jerry says was integral to the start-up’s growth.
“Before moving to the lab, we only had access to a very basic 3-D printer, which meant we couldn’t produce very accurate prototypes,” says Jerry. “With the Barclays Eagle Lab we were now able to make changes very quickly and produce the rapid prototypes to get us close to the final product. It meant we could really see what the final product would look like when manufactured, which was key if we were pitching to investors or at events and trade shows.”
Despite making great use of the technology available at the Barclays Eagle Lab, Jerry is keen to point out that it is not the only benefit the northern-based start-up enjoyed.
“It’s not only about having access to the machinery,” says Jerry. “Where the Eagle Lab has really helped is the support from people who really understand our business and what we’re trying to achieve. Because Barclays understands where we are trying to get to, the process is much more collaborative than traditional outsourcing.”
Barclays Eagle Labs are co-working and innovation spaces set up by Barclays to help UK start-up businesses network, collaborate and grow. They are now in fourteen locations across the UK, where entrepreneurs can reside and gain access to important resources such as 3D printers, mentoring, funding and events.
Darren O’Brien, Ecosystem Manager at the Salford Eagle Lab, explains how valuable the lab can be for small businesses: “What sets Barclays Eagle Labs apart from other makerspaces is our ability to sit down and take an idea from post-it note to print as well as make introductions to investors and provide access to events.
“To be successful, you must genuinely care about the product or concept you’re developing, accept it won’t always go to plan and be receptive to feedback. We have worked closely with Jerry and Charlie over the last 18 months and it’s so rewarding to see them finally launch the product.”