The Jumpack journey has been quite an incredible one. When I look back, the journey actually began around 1976 when I started trying to replicate the motorcycle stunts of my Hero – Evel Knievel. I never imagined for a second where jumping bikes would take me.
As a common side-effect of jumping bikes is ‘fixing bikes’, I also developed a passion and talent for mechanical engineering. This talent wasn’t lost on my parents who insisted that when I left school I was to train and qualify as an engineer.
When many years later I had my vision for a portable jump ramp, I knew I had the riding experience and the engineering background to produce something very special. The years that followed surpassed even my expectations.
By 2016 after 4 years of initial development, materials analysis, Finite Element Analysis and prototyping I was getting close to the final design. I had a prototype that not only functioned as intended, it was already strong enough to use in the real world, even though the prototype was only intended as a representation or a ’model’.
In July 2016 I was encouraged to enter the Jumpack prototype into Ireland's most prestigious innovation competition ‘INVENT 2016’ a competition run by Connect, the home of Irish Innovation based at the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast. Jumpack was entered into the Engineering category and after 4 months of presentations to panels of experts, Jumpack not only won the engineering category, but the entire competition. Jumpack was crowned the best invention of 2016.
This success resulted in an invitation to compete in the UK wide Pitch At Palace innovation competition organised and arranged by the British Royal family. Although over 420 companies entered, only 12 would be invited to St James Palace in London to meet HRH Queen Elizabeth II. The process was extremely competitive with some of the UK’s hottest new products vying for a place in the final 12.
After two months of pitching at various locations including the world-famous Oxford University, the potential of my portable ramp was again recognised and one of the final 12 positions was awarded to Jumpack.
On 2nd November I traveled to London at the request of the Duke of York, over 300 esteemed guests from around the world would be in attendance to see some of the UK’s hottest new products. To present in front of the Royal family and 300 of the world’s most powerful business people was nothing short of terrifying, as presentations go, this is about as scary as it gets!
Although limited to just 3 minutes, I managed to complete my presentation before the Royal buglers sounded their horns. I’d done it, the most frightening presentation of my journey to date was over.
Immediately after the presentations were completed all of the 12 companies were led to a private room where we were met by her Majesty who took time to speak to each of the 12 innovators on our individual products. An experience I’ll never forget.
Following the competition, I automatically became Pitch At Palace Alumni and have been invited back to Buckingham Palace on a number of occasions. Incredibly, I also received an invitation to visit the White House in the USA! Unfortunately, it was an invitation that I couldn’t take advantage of as Jumpack was about to be launched worldwide, in every sense of the term.
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