Young Innovators Success Stories: Beren Kayali, Deploy Tech Ltd, Wales
The foldable concrete tank that will help rural communities store water
After completing a Master’s degree in Innovation Design Engineering, Beren Kayali set out to solve the problem of water storage in rural communities.
The result was Deploy Tech, the first ever foldable and inflatable concrete water tank. Deploy gets its name from the speed at which it can be used – since it’s flat-packed for easy transport, the tank can be deployed in just 24 hours.
When Beren won the Young Innovators Award, the business was already making rapid progress.
“It was right at the same time that we finished our pre-seed round and won an R&D grant from the Welsh government. Our patent was awaiting approval and we were working on building a pilot production line for our prototype, which could be turned into minimum viable products (MVPs),” she says.
It’s been a busy 12 months for Deploy. The business has secured external investment, entered new markets and launched new products.
One of the biggest milestones for Beren has been making a number of key hires.
“At the beginning, the team, mindset and culture are so crucial. We made a couple of bad hires and learned from our mistakes. It is so important to work with like-minded people who are there to go for the extra mile,” she says.
“We’re building an engineering team that creates the know-how within the company. That is one of our biggest assets when it comes to turning a prototype into an MVP, which will then initiate conversations with distributors.”
Over the next year, Beren hopes to grow Deploy’s team to at least 15 staff and raise their next round of investment.
“We would like to increase our production capacity to be able to sign off with big retailers. We also want to do our seed round of investment by raising £2 million in funds with a good valuation, while generating revenue.”
Beren credits the Award’s funding with giving her the freedom to take risks – something she explains wouldn’t have been possible with equity funding.
The mentoring support also had a positive impact, helping Beren to reflect and gain perspective during busy times.
“I cannot emphasise enough the valuable support I got from my Innovation Champion from Innovate UK EDGE,” she says.
“My Innovation Champion and the quarterly meetings were the best parts of the wider support for me. The meetings were a good opportunity to reflect and appreciate everything that had happened, which gave me a lot of perspective.”
Learn from mistakes
In addition to business growth, Beren has also grown as a leader over the last 12 months. She’s come to accept that things won’t always go to plan in business; what matters is that you can learn from any mistakes and move on.
“I’ve learned how to navigate the business through thick and thin, and how to be a leader who can guide my team,” she explains.
“Bad things will happen, so it’s about looking at how you can mitigate them. If they’ve already happened, learn from mistakes and move on. There are tonnes of opportunities to focus your good energy on.”
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The Young Innovators Awards are an annual competition from Innovate UK that finds, supports and celebrates young people with great business ideas.