London startup Phare Labs, who is reimagining the design and capabilities of domestic fire alarms, has secured a £125K equity investment from British Design Fund, as part of a £300K fundraise from specialist funds and angel investors.
Phare Labs was cofounded by mechanical engineer Daniel McBride and design engineer Arnau Donate, who were inspired with the idea for their business after Daniel suffered a spate of false alarms.
Realising that traditional fire alarms were still based on a design patented in the early 70s, despite the huge advances in technology that have since been made, the pair set about creating a better solution – one that would not only detect fires but also other elements impacting on air quality in the home.
Phare uses a combination of smoke alarm technology, modern indoor air quality sensors, and machine learning in order to dramatically improve total fire detection accuracy, whilst simultaneously reducing false alarms.
Daniel, who’s originally from Texas and moved to London to study for his Masters at London Business School, explains: “The idea for Phare came from my own personal experience with smoke detectors. Our alarm kept going off, so naturally, being an engineer, I took it apart to take a closer look. I realised the technology was really simple and after reading up on the effectiveness of current alarms, I knew there had to be a better solution. With our engineering backgrounds, myself and Arnau felt well suited to take on the challenge!”
He added: “We’re incredibly grateful to British Design Fund and all our other investors, for getting behind the company and what we are trying to achieve. It is an exciting time, as we look to go from prototype to production within the next 12 months and to get Phare alarms into people’s homes across the UK – and around the world – creating safer, healthier places to live.”
Smoke alarms are a vital tool for any home. You are around 8 times more likely to die in a fire if you do not have a working smoke alarm in your home. But figures released by the UK government show they raised the alarm in just 45% of dwelling fires in 2019/20.
Damon Bonser, CEO, British Design Fund, said: “Phare Labs is a fantastic example of a startup that spotted a problem and set about engineering a solution with the potential to make a real difference for householders across the world. We’re delighted to have the team as part of our portfolio and look forward to working closely with them, as they commercialise their brand and products in the coming months.”
British Design Fund works with ambitious British product start-ups who are ready to scale-up and build thriving stand-out businesses. Alongside capital investment, BDF provides expert mentoring to support such companies to accelerate their growth plans.
The fifth British Design Fund is now open to investors and will be closing at the end of March 2023, to learn more click here; www.britishdesignfund.co.uk/invest/.
We recently caught up with Phare Labs co-founder Daniel McBride to find out more about the company and its ambitions for the future. You can watch it by clicking here.