Northern Ireland firm behind booster seat lands £3m deal for 'smart' thermometer
A Londonderry tech firm which already sells to US giant Walmart has landed a £3m deal to distribute a smartphone thermometer, it can be revealed.
Bubblebum has teamed up with Spanish firm Oblumi, which has developed the 'tapp'. It connects to mobile phones and converts it into a digital infrared thermometer.
Bubblebum founder Grainne Kelly has now landed a distribution deal worth £3m with Oblumi to exclusively distribute the device in the UK and Ireland over a period of five years.
The company already sells its child booster seats into more than 1,000 stores in the UK and across the US. Ms Kelly, who is from Londonderry and has her firm based at the Catalyst Inc Innovation Centre in the city, says the firm has also secured a new deal to sell her car booster seats into 1,700 Target stores in the US.
"I have created and founded Bubblebum, and we have been exporting around the world for the last seven years," she said.
"We are in Walmart (in the US) and Halfords. We have been looking at adding more products to our range."
She said she was contacted by Spanish firm Oblumi, which was keen to break into the UK and Ireland market with its smartphone thermometer.
"We thought, people are doing this, but don't know how to get it to market," Ms Kelly said.
"Oblumi contacted us... I knew their message was off for the UK. I said, we can do this for you, but we need exclusive distribution to the UK and Ireland, with the option of the US.
"The product is a smartphone thermometer. But it's not just that, it also logs all of the data.
"So, if the baby is at home with granny, and she is checking the temperature, the mother and father can also check that. It also reminds how much paracetamol to take - reminders of when to take the temperature.
"We will also take this a step further for the elderly. For example, when my dad was sick, he got out of hospital, he couldn't remember when to take his temperature of medicine - we had to manually record all of that."
The device works for both Android and Apple phones.
The company now employs 12 staff - doubling the size of the team to meet demand for its existing products.
"(The thermometer product) is a pretty significant deal. We are also in another 1,000 stores in the UK and Target in the US (with the booster seat)," Ms Kelly said.
"In the past two weeks we have signed Walmart in Chile and we have already doubled staff numbers." She said there has already been "great interest" in the new smartphone thermometer.
"This is the first device of its kind on the market to date," she said.
"As a parent of a child who had frequent bouts of fever, I am acutely aware of the precautions people need to take with infants and the confusion that lies with tracking temperature and medication. Our objective is to alleviate these concerns and allow parents and carer's to rely on the Oblumi device as a practical solution.
"In addition to a being a reliable thermometer for a family member, the Oblumi tapp can also check the temperature of liquids with accuracy and speed such as the temperature of a baby's bottle or bath water, a constant concern for parents."