Today our Founder and CEO Pae Natwilai published her first entry in the Huffington Post blog. The piece focused on the creation of TRIK and how the project transformed into the business that we are today. See below for the full article.
I never believed I could become an entrepreneur.
I grew up in Bangkok, Thailand, and received a full scholarship to study Global Innovation Design, a double masters degree (MA. & MSc.) at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. This is where my fascination for drones began and where the seed was planted for my start-up, TRIK.
TRIK is ‘Google maps for large structure inspection.’ We utilise drones to scan structures and create digital maps of surfaces for inspection purposes. Manual inspection using traditional scaffolding or rope access takes days or weeks to complete, and can cost thousands of pounds. The software behind TRIK allows this process to be completed in a few hours at a fraction of the cost.
TRIK evolved from my graduation project, a magic wand that could control a drone in the air. I had no notion that this could one day evolve into a business, but with the encouragement of my tutors, I dared to take my idea out into the real world.
I was selected to participate in the pioneering Althea-Imperial Programme, an entrepreneurial development initiative for female students. Though I didn’t win, I met my mentor, Deepali Nangia. She later supported me to kick-start my entrepreneurial journey, helped me shape my business plan and introduced me to the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
On graduating, I was awarded a place on Entrepreneur First, a highly technical accelerator in London, which enabled me to hugely develop my business. I worked hard to develop a product that has real market need, speaking with people from across a range of industries. But, things weren’t always smooth.
I changed several co-founders. I applied for numerous grants to fund the launch of the business. I was unsuccessful countless times, but I persevered and I learned. I am now hugely proud to have won the Innovate UK’s £50,000 Women in Innovation Awards.
My recommendation to other female entrepreneurs and innovators is to Believe, to Dream big, and to Ask for help. You don’t know what you can do unless you try, but remember that there is no need to try it alone. Most women are willing to help others, but they are usually too afraid to ask for help themselves. Let others help you, and look forward to helping those who follow in your footsteps.
Pae & Innovate UK:
Pae has just been honoured as one of the 15 winners of Innovate UK’s 2016 Women in Innovation awards, a series of awards dedicated to addressing the disproportionately low numbers of women entrepreneurs in the UK. Here, over a series of 15 posts we’ll meet the inspiring innovators and entrepreneurs that Innovate UK is celebrating, each of whom will receive a tailored business support package, expert business mentor and £50,000 to help them reach their full potential.
Dr. Ruth McKernan CBE and Chief Executive of Innovate UK says: ‘From fully autonomous drone software to affordable solar power technology and even a digital education portal which engages school children with the molecular world, the calibre of ideas is an eye-opening view into the talent and vision of the UK’s female entrepreneurs. It is very clear that harnessing the talent of women entrepreneurs could significantly enhance UK economic growth. I am delighted that we are taking action; supporting and funding female entrepreneurs to help them succeed and inspire other women to come forward, apply for funding and turn their ideas into successful business.‘