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7 May, 2014 - 17:54 By Tony Quested

Innovators plug in to Cambridge crowdfunding platform

Min-Kyu-and-matthew

The inventors of a revolutionary three-pin plug that folds completely flat have turned to Cambridge crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom to raise £500,000. The designers are set to license the technology to a global smartphone manufacturer and need the new cash to fund a fresh phase of growth.

The Mu plug folds flat in seconds and is already on sale in 1500 shops across the UK. Its makers say this is just the beginning and are in advanced talks to license the design to one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of smartphones and tablets.

The standard three-pin electrical plug has been around since 1947 and is as distinctively British as rain at Wimbledon. Yet anyone who lugs one around to charge their mobile, laptop or tablet knows they are not only cumbersome but also rather good at scratching the expensive electronics we carry them for. 

The conventional three-pin plug design is nearly seven decades old and hopelessly unsuited to portable electronics. By contrast the Mu plug fits in your pocket and is graceful, practical and intensely desirable according to the inventors.

The Mu was designed by Korean-born Min-Kyu Choi while he was studying at London’s Royal College of Art. Min-Kyu teamed up with British tech entrepreneur Matthew Judkins in 2009; the pair has since secured a string of global patents and the Mu is now sold by high street stores Maplin, Staples and O2.

With their company Made in Mind currently valued at £4 million, they are using the equity crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom to raise funds for further growth.

SyndicateRoom is fully authorised by the FCA and is the first platform of its kind to allow smaller private investors to invest in start-ups alongside established business angels.

A group of angel investors has already pledged £250,000 to the company via SyndicateRoom; now small investors are being invited to put in the same amount. The minimum investment is just £1000.

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, founder and CEO, SyndicateRoom, said: “The humble electrical plug is so ubiquitous that it is all but invisible. We use them every day but when you stop to think about it the three-pin British version is oddly impractical.

“Reassuringly chunky it may be, but its 1940s designers never envisaged the day when millions of us would have to cart them around every day to power our laptops and mobiles.

“The Mu plug clearly connects with consumers on a practical and aesthetic level; and a panel of successful angel investors is backing it not just to be a design classic, but also a highly profitable business. Now anyone with at least £1000 to invest can join them.”

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