Spencer Turner is the first to admit that revolutionary technology isn’t what makes his product unique.
Instead, the entrepreneur identified the practical needs of today’s outdoor enthusiasts to design a new product not offered by the camping equipment market.
Following a successful appearance on Dragons’ Den – and a new business partnership with Peter Jones – the Tegology founder recently launched his company’s first product in the UK. The Tegstove incorporates a simple USB port to allow campers, festival goers and any outdoor enthusiast to charge electrical devices while cooking food.
Business Advice sat down with Turner to find out what makes his gas stove such a progressive piece of kit, and to see what it takes to become a Dragons’ Den winner.
Who are you and what’s your business?
I’m Spencer Turner, founder of Tegology. Our first product – Tegstove – has just launched in the UK market. Tegstove is a portable gas stove like no other, allowing you to cook, charge devices and store energy all in one.
It’s innovative, practical and cool – to us the perfect combination.
How long have you been around for?
The business started in 2015. The first couple of years have been all about the technology and the design of Tegstove, so the launch has just happened. It’s a very exciting time for us.
How do you make money?
I’ll let you know when it happens!
What makes you different and why should people take notice?
I suppose what makes me different is that having identified the need and the potential opportunity for Tegstove I was able to turn that into reality. Tegstove is different because it uses technology that’s been around for hundreds of years which I have updated and transformed into something that is great and new for today’s world.
What was key in terms of getting started?
Having the courage to take that leap – believing in what I was trying to do and putting every ounce of focus and energy into making it happen. Then once I had a product that worked, taking the plunge and putting myself out there for all to see on the last series of the hit BBC show, Dragons’ Den.
It was a nerve-wracking experience but thankfully the Dragons saw the same potential in Tegstove that I did, and I was lucky to get three offers of investment. Peter Jones has invested in the product and it is great to have that backing and endorsement.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
It’s definitely getting the product out into the market – I can’t describe the excitement of seeing Tegstove on the shelf for the first time. The feedback from customers has been great so far. That makes it all worthwhile.
What setbacks have you had along the way?
Mainly technical ones – going through the development and the testing process is long and a learning curve for all when it’s such a new and different product.
We got there eventually and were actually able to improve the product as we went. So the final product is something I am really proud of – it really delivers.
In five years’ time, I will be…
Continuing to work on new and innovative products to exploit the potential of the TEG – there’s endless opportunity for a number of markets and that’s what we’ll focus on.
What one tip would you give to others starting out?
Know what you’re looking to achieve, understand the problem you are looking to solve and how your product will both make a difference and solve that problem.
Who are your business heroes and why?
It maybe a predictable answer (as he is my business partner) but Peter Jones deserves to be recognised as a business hero. Many people have become successful in business, but few have given back in the way Jones has and continues to.
In 2009, Jones founded the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. The academy is just one of the ways Jones has helped people achieve their goals.
One business that didn’t emerge as a Dragons’ Den winner was Quiet Rebellion – Peter Jones’ “marketing nightmare”
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