Zobi was founded by Scott Lever, who has 20 years’ deep experience in technology and cybersecurity. Scott’s vision for Zobi was to create software that would monitor traffic between smart devices in a connected home and detect unusual patterns which would be the calling card of cyber criminals. This software would run from Hedgehog, a digital guardian smart home device which has been designed to look like an iconic and timeless piece of homework, rather than simply tech. He is passionate about the larger, longer term opportunity for Zobi, where the software will sit in home routers of any broadband provider – a very attractive commercial model.

When we met Scott the idea for Zobi was fully fledged but the constituent parts were in a raw state. We recognised the opportunity at the intersection of the huge growth of the ‘Internet of Things’ and increasing concerns about network and cybersecurity. With a yawning gap for a consumer-friendly device and an intuitive application – ‘sweeping’ for off-pattern chatter between home devices and provide consumers with alerts and the ability to shut down the offending device connections.

zobi.ai

Building credibility early on

After winning the Start-Up Series in 2019, Zobi first received investment from the Start-Up Series Fund in January 2020. At this stage, they had developed an algorithm and the early specification of the in-home device. We recognised very early that building trust and credibility in the consumer market, as well as the business market, needed a device design that not only did the job, looked beautiful in-home and supported the underlying proposition. Zobi instructed leading a global product design house to create a shelf-friendly device. By June 2020, the Hedgehog had been born and went on to win a 2020 European Product Design Award. Since launching the Hedgehog prototype, they have been able to take pre-orders, have preliminary conversations with B2B buyers and also raised an additional £800k of equity funding.

All systems go

All systems go

Alongside completing the investment round – at a valuation 10 x their valuation earlier in the year – Zobi recruited an expert team that would enable us to hit their first production run in quarter 2 of 2o21. They now have a Head of Supply Chain, Head of Engineering, a Marketing Manager and a Business Development Manager. They’ve challenged themselves to hire the best, and it certainly feels like they have found some superb hires. For example, Steve, Head of Engineering was the lead product owner at Sky plc and developed Sky Q with a team of 900. Already this larger team is paying dividends. In particular the product capability has evolved to take account of customer research. A Hedgehog will now include a rich feature set including guest WiFi passes and continuous broadband testing.

Worth Capital has helped Scott to make sound strategic decisions – helping him explore different possibilities, analyse the different options and zero in on the right choices and priorities. This has built Scott’s confidence to make the bold and brave decisions. Leading to a proposition, product and plan that has captured the imagination of customers, investors and talented new team members.

Scott reflects...

“Winning the Start-Up Series competition was more than simply securing early stage investment; Worth Capital have taken our concept and mentored me in how to turn passion into product. With Paul from Worth Capital quick to respond to my endless requests for a steer and acting as a sounding board, we have grown from a single founder business looking for pre-seed capital to a VC backed team of five who just closed a $1m seed investment round. All in a little over 12 months”.

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