Aberdeen-based Leap Automation is an intelligent robotics business enabling the food and drink industry to cut costs and drive efficiency through automation.
Co-founders Ben Stuart and Ben Bamford pivoted from energy in 2020, after identifying the low level of robotic uptake within UK food and drink manufacturing. Leap Automation aims to change this by removing the common barriers to robotic automation – cost and flexibility.
Visits to food production sites across the UK by the entrepreneurs revealed that businesses of all scale are heavily reliant on manual labour to deliver packing operations. Customers repeatedly told them robotics were too expensive, too complicated and lacked the flexibility to work with a dynamic product range.
“We saw the opportunity to modify our then energy-focussed robotic and software technology to automate these tasks and address these challenges through a simple, intuitive user experience,” explains co-CEO Ben Stuart.
The founders joined the Opportunity North East digital tech business growth programme to benefit from sector knowledge and expertise and become part of the region’s entrepreneurial tech community.
Ben explains: “ONE has supported us from the very beginning of our pivot – helping us to map out the food industry and their challenges with further support from the digital team as we developed our strategy.”
“Being included in the business growth programme was a real highlight. Taking time out from the day-to-day to assess our value proposition, strategy and business challenges provided an increased level of focus.”
Their value proposition enabled them to secure early investment and customers.
“We are clear on what problem we're solving, why we're solving it and the value that has to customers. Attracting early customer partners to support the technology development was crucial in validating this and ensuring we delivered a successful product,” says Ben.
Having a peer network and safe space to discuss their business was an added benefit.
“We have a super tech and entrepreneurial community in the region developing exciting and innovative products. It’s reassuring to hear that others are grappling with similar challenges and helpful to share learnings - whether it’s on team development, fundraising, training or product development,” adds Ben.
Leap Automation is now rolling out its first product, the PikPak, and plans further investment to expand its team and further enhance its product portfolio.
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