Alex Sperling and Matt Bower spent two years bringing to market their Ecolatch device. And they're aiming high, they've already secured a spot in the mass-market Innovations catalogue and will also be featured on the QVC TV shopping channel. The product will debut at Cycle 2002.

Start-up company launches first in range of cycle storage devices

The Ecolatch is a hardened steel universal quick release device with a zinc alloy body to securely attach the front forks to any flat surface. By raising the bike into a vertical position it can half the floor space taken up by a bicycle.

There are numerous storage devices on the market but this is probably the neatest and likely to by far the best promoted.

Sperling and Bower are working on gaining editorial coverage in the Evening Standard’s 16 page supplement being produced for Cycle 2002, the London bicycle show, and are also hoping to be featured on BBC2’s Working Lunch programme, which is filming from the show.

Sperling and Bower formed a companmy called PTC Universal Ltd which sounds Taiwanese or Indian but is all theirs (the PTC stands for Product Technical Consulting).

The Ecolatch is their first product. A lockable Ecolatch will be produced next year and there are other cycle storage devices in development.

Besides conventional storage areas Ecolatch devices can also be used in vans and trucks for secure single, or multiple bicycle transportation.

Ecolatch has been two years in development.

“There have been many highs and lows along the way, but there are moments that make it all worthwhile. The most defining moment for me was when I met a friend, who is by trade a model maker, in a pub in Covent Garden to pick up the first prototype of our design. To see our idea suddenly come to life in 3D was an inspiring moment,” said Bower.

Armed with a prototype and a business plan (projected sales = 80-100 000 in the first three years), Sperling and Bower were able to obtain finance from HSBC Bank plc, Prince’s Trust and Business Link.

A single Ecolatch costs £19.95. Trade discounts are available. Wholesalers who buy 500 get blister-packed Ecolatch’s at £10.41 each.

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