Jyrobike enters administration: Wheels come off cycle firm despite £120k web funding
A Co Down-based firm which looked set to revolutionise how children learn to ride a bike has entered administration.
Jyrobike was aiming to re-invent the wheel, allowing young children to learn how to cycle and balance on their bike without the aid of stabilisers.
Founded by Australian Rob Bodill and business partner Dana Hoffer, the concept uses balance technology to teach children to ride a bicycle in a single afternoon.
The business was brought to Northern Ireland in 2013 and was based in Holywood. It carried out a globally successful funding campaign.
It was brought into Northern Ireland with assistance from Invest NI. The company now includes two well-known Northern Ireland businessmen as its directors, and traded as Jyrobike Ltd.
That includes Paul Carson, former chief executive of wind energy firm Simple Power, and Mervyn McCall.
Mr McCall is a member of the Halo network based at the Northern Ireland Science Park and a former senior employee at Antrim interior fit-out firm Mivan.
But Mr Bodill has not been a director of the firm since December last year.
When contacted, one of the firm's current directors - Mr McCall - did not wish to comment about the firm's administration.
It's understood the administration was brought forward by the company directors. Administrator James Neill was not available for comment.
Jyrobike used Kickstarter to raise the necessary funds to get the business up-and-running, and raised $185,000 (£120,000) in the space of just 30 days.
The firm's administration means it's unlikely those who had put funding towards the project will now receive a Jyrobike.
It was one of the most successful children's product campaigns on the crowd-funding website.
The business came out of an idea in the US, with Jyrobike setting up shop in Northern Ireland in November 2013.
It had a base at the Pavillions Office Park in Holywood, but also had a registered office in Cambridge.
Entrepreneur Rob Bodill - an Australian living in England - developed the product after travelling to the US in search of new technology.
There he discovered Jyrobike in the early days of its concept and was offered the chance to buy the firm.
The Jyrobike was invented by students at Dartmouth Engineering College in New Hampshire, who discovered that at 14km per hour a bike will stabilise itself using natural gyroscopic forces.
But the firm then looked at ways of simulating that high speed stability at low speeds.
Mr Bodill also operated a start-up company in Australia at the early age of 22, sourcing technological products.
The firm proved to be a success, with Mr Bodill employing a workforce of 20 staff, operating offices in both Sydney and Melbourne.