An expanding electric loft ladder company in Warwickshire is set to go up in the world Down Under after receiving funding from a new scheme.
NAME: TechStep, LOFTOMATTIC
SUPPORTED BY: Duplex Investment Fund
TechStep’s history is in supplying DIY, home improvement and building trade across the UK and Europe with compact access products. Their offices and workshops are in Southam, Warwickshire, UK.
Michael Beard, the founder and designer of the incredible LOFTOMATTIC electric loft ladder, qualified as Chartered Engineer & Chartered Industrial Designer, with over 40 years developing and manufacturing innovative patented consumer, industrial, transport, and aerospace products globally.
Michael had spent 35 years designing DIY equipment and smart home appliances for companies such as Stanley, Wilkinson, B&Q and ScrewFix and identified a niche in the market for a brand new product to give push button access to everyone’s lofts.
“It took several designs before the world patented LOFTOMATTIC electric loft ladder was fully developed since it required careful engineering development and pilot market testing.”
LOFTOMATTIC was designed and created by TechStep to allow homes easy, instant and safe access to the loft space. It has changed how you can use your loft space; from easy access to everyday storage to a new loft room. Effortless access at the push of a button.
Michael started selling LOFTOMATTICS on his website two-and-a-half years ago with sales naturally expanding month on month currently with no advertising.
Business has been growing year-on-year through online sales of the remote-controlled compact loft ladder on TechStep’s website. The ladder can be DIY fitted, although over 60 per cent of customers request it to be professionally installed to create more space in their home for storage, home office or children’s den.
After investing £400,000 in the business which currently employs three people as well as sub-contracted installers, Michael, who is a qualified chartered engineer and chartered industrial designer, contacted the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) as part of his expansion plans.
He was successful in applying for £42,542 from the Duplex Investment Fund, which is a combined grant and loan, and is an initiative between the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council and CWRT and is now set to add two more staff to the workforce.
The project is being funded by £3.9 million of grants from the Government’s Local Growth Fund and the CWLEP. Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council are each investing a further £2 million in the scheme which is managed by CWRT.
IMPACT OF COVID-19
Fortunately, TechStep had enough stock to get them through the pandemic, but sales fell dramatically due to restrictions regarding entering people’s homes (which is necessary to install LOFTOMATTIC).
But a combination of CWRT and the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme has put them in a reasonably healthy trading condition and between now and January, they will be employing two new people due to their expansion in the UK, and launching the ladder in Australia and South Korea.
A three-year license is being signed with Werner – which is the world’s US based and largest ladder manufacturer – to sell the LOFTOMATTIC electric loft ladder in Australia and will lead to launching it in America in 2021.
“Tech Step is a perfect example of a business with the high level of skills and innovation of which we are fortunate to have so much in our region.”Izzi Seccombe, Warwickshire County Council
For further information or to apply for the Duplex Investment Fund, call Andrew Scarborough or Leah Blocksidge on 02476 551 777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com