Irish inventor Colin O’Brien has said he is “absolutely buzzing” after securing €80,000 in funding for his inventions on Dragons’ Den, including a clothes line that “rescues your washing from the rain”.
Mr O’Brien, who is from Julianstown, Co Meath, showcased two of his inventions on last night’s episode on BBC One.
He caught the attention of entrepreneur Touker Suleyman, who will receive a 25% stake in Mr O’Brien’s business in return for his investment.
Mr O’Brien’s smart take on a clothesline was inspired by his late mother Margaret and he told RTÉ News it was “emotional” pitching it on the show.
“When I did the pitch on Dragons’ Den, they cut this out, but I was talking about it and I started crying.
“It was very emotional then and I’m a bit emotional now thinking about it, but I felt confident going in because I felt like she was with me and looking over me. I felt that she was around us and that she would be very proud.”
When Mr O’Brien’s clothesline, which he has named PeggyRain after his mother and grandmother, senses rain, a protective covering springs out to stop the clothes that are hanging out to dry getting wet.
“The original idea was my mam’s idea. I asked her what could make her life a bit easier and she said if there was a way to stop having to rush out to bring in the washing when it rains, it would make a big difference. It was mam’s idea, but I’m the engineer so I made it.”
He said the product is “flying” and there are orders coming in from around England, Scotland and “lots in Ireland”.
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Where PeggyRain was an invention to solve a problem his mother had, his other invention, RollAer was made to make his girlfriend Jenny’s life easier.
“I was travelling with my girlfriend in Hong Kong and the wheels broke on her suitcase and I thought, ‘There must be something better than this’ so I built it.
He invented a suitcase with durable wheels that can navigate multiple terrains.
“I remember then I brought it to Dublin Airport and there were ladies going shopping to New York and they were over asking where I got the suitcase.
“I only had one at the time, but I knew then that I was onto a winner. Launched it last night and it’s flying already.
“The wheels won’t break, it can go on any terrain, if you’re on cobbles the rubber roller glides with no rattling.”
Inventing is nothing new for Mr O’Brien.
“I was always the kid taking the video recorder apart or showing off new inventions in school,” he said.
Mr O’Brien hopes to continue creating new products that can solve other everyday problems.
“I travelled a lot, worked on submarines in Australia, medical devices in the UK, then I said I’d do something for myself.
“It’s good to work for other people and learn and I always give back, but now I can do it and go onto the next thing as well and I’m delighted,” he added.