Two Edinburgh-based innovators appeared on Sunday night’s BBC hit show Dragon’s Den, pitching their invention, the Retromixer, an easy to use, adjustable and affordable adapter that mixes hot and cold water streams, in the hope of obtaining a £45,000 investment.
Artur Napiórkowski and his business partner, Denny Schenk developed the Retromixer with the support of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation’s (ECCI) Low Carbon Ideas Lab, after winning a place on the programme earlier in the year.
Sponsored by leading UK law firm, Shepherd and Wedderburn, the Low Carbon Ideas Lab has, since its launch in 2014, been providing support, mentoring and world class accommodation for inspirational ideas that accelerate Scotland’s progress towards a low carbon economy.
The pair came up with their low carbon invention when Polish-born Artur was studying for an MSc in Sustainable Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh and discovered that the use of separate taps for hot and cold water was a common complaint for visitors to the UK. The Retromixer claims to make washing your hands more convenient and helps to save water and energy.
An initial crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than £4,000, helped to launch the product and it is now stocked in four stores, including the Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) shop.
The Den’s opinion on separate cold and hot water taps, as well as the entrepreneurs’ invention was divided. While Deborah Meaden values her taps’ aesthetics more than their functionality, Nick Jenkins agreed the separate taps were ‘bonkers’. Artur and Denny left the Den without an investment from the Dragons but with Sarah Willingham’s promise to buy a Retromixer for her Danish husband, who frequently complains about the quirky British plumbing.
Shepherd and Wedderburn lawyer, Euan Murray, who leads and facilitates drop-in clinics at the Low Carbon Ideas Lab, commented: “Artur and Denny have done extremely well to get to this point with the support of the ECCI and all of the mentors they worked with, including two of my colleagues who provided them with intellectual property guidance. Their invention is fantastic and although they couldn’t convince the Dragons to part with their cash, the TV exposure will raise brand awareness and hopefully take their business to the next level.”