Nick Rutter: Sprue Aegis

Focus: Smoke alarms

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Nick Rutter
Company: Sprue Aegis

University mates Rutter and Sam Tate, 34, got talking about business ideas in Spring 1998. By the end of the year Sprue Aegis had been born with a £50,000 grant. The pair decided to design and manufacture a smoke alarm that removed the three key failures of the current models: that consumers did not change batteries, they removed batteries after false alarms or many failed to fit after buying. Theirs fit into light fittings, uses the main power source and re-sets at the flick of the light switch. The Coventry-based OFEX-listed company, which has raised £1.5m in total will make £6m this year and has a clutch of other products in the offing.

2016 update:

Rutter remains as managing director of Sprue – which has now branched out into other safety products including carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, safes and specialist products for the deaf and hard of hearing – overseeing its product technology and design. The business has continued to thrive, reporting record revenues of £65.6m last year – a 100-fold increase since Rutter was awarded Young Gun status in 2003. It has also secured exclusive distribution rights over BRK Brands’ products until March 2018.

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