Welcome to our 'Founder Friday' series. Each week we will be introducing you to a founder within Enterprise Orchard's network. Featuring this week is Matt Dyson, who is the founder of Rockit. Imogen sat down (virtually) with Matt to ask him all about Rockit and how he came to set up his own business.
Hi Matt, It's great to meet you. All be it virtually. To start off can you tell myself and the readers a bit about yourself?
Hi Imogen, certainly. I'm Matt Dyson and one of the Rockit co-founders. My first job was working as an Art Director at Ogilvy and Mather in London. I subsequently retrained as a teacher and taught Product Design for 20 years in various schools and colleges. 5 years ago I gave it all up to start up Rockit. Outside work I love music and going to gigs as well as collecting old 8-bit computers from the 1980s (a bit geeky).
That's very entrepreneurial of you, being able to use your vast knowledge of product design to start your own business! Later on we will be able to delve into why you left teaching to pursue your own business. I'm very intrigued by your 8 bit computer collection. I think that's very cool, not geeky at all!
I'd be very surprised if people haven't heard of Rockit. Especially if they have very young children. But just for the odd few people who haven't, What is Rockit?
Rockit was founded by 3 dads on a mission to help babies to sleep. We launched our first product; the Rockit stroller rocker in 2017. A device that fits to any pram or stroller and rocks it for you! We have since picked up over 20 awards including the prestigious Design Council Spark Award. It's strange to think that a product invented in a shed is now selling in nearly 50 countries around the world with over 130,000 units produced. In July we launched Zed, an astronaut shaped sleep soother and night light. Zed mimics the feeling of being in a car. His clever technology recreates soothing low frequency vibrations that are known to send babies to sleep. You simply place Zed on the mattress by your baby’s feet and press the snooze button. The finely tuned vibrations ripple gently through the mattress, comforting your baby and encouraging a deep sleep.
It must feel surreal that your first product was invented in a shed and now you're selling 130,000 units, worldwide. That is an incredible story! Your latest product that was launched last month sounds really interesting. I think I need one at the end of my bed! I love falling asleep in the car!
So after teaching product design for so long. What made you take the leap to set you your own business?
After spending 20 years teaching students to design products, it got to the point where I wanted to bring a product to market myself. This coincided with my brother-in-law showing me an invention he had been secretly working on to rock his daughters pram. When he demonstrated it I instantly saw the potential and knew we had to turn it into a marketable product and launch it. I immediately gave up my day job, bought a 3D printer and started refining the design.
You make it sound easy Matt! Having had years of experience in product design you must have a great eye for products that will work. So from your experience of setting up Rockit, what advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business?
If you've got a great product idea, do your research to see if it's been done before. If not spend some time developing a prototype and get some IP protection in place (this bit is vital). Then don't be scared to show people - consumer feedback is really important as is talking to retailers and distributors. After all it's no use producing a product that retailers won't stock and consumers won't buy.
That's great advice! and lastly for a bit of fun we like to ask our founders what their fun fact is. What's your's?
Brian May from Queen once treated me to an afternoon tea.
Wow! I'd love to hear the story behind that. Very cool! Thank you Matt for taking the time to talk to Enterprise Orchard about Rockit and your start-up story. We wish you every success and the continued growth of Rockit.
www.rockitrocker.com / @RockitRocker on Instagram / @wearerockit on Twitter / @wearerockit on Facebook