Luca Amaduzzi, founder of CYCL
By Luca Amaduzzi, founder of CYCL
After moving to the UK from Italy, I completed a Master of Science in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership from the School of Informatics at City University. This course provided me with the basics of design and user experience that was necessary to develop a product like WingLights.
Having fundamental computer/IT skills was important. This allowed me to create a digital design of the product and then make the step from idea to physical product. Along with these experiences, my drive and passion for technology and innovation was essential to making my dream a reality.
My company, like many, started with a personal experience. My first few years in London I biked everywhere. As anyone who has done the same will tell you, being ignored and nearly hit by motorists is the norm for cyclists. Frustrated, I turned to the internet for some solution. What I found was a large gap in the market.
On one side there were hand signals: archaic, destabilising in nature, and at times downright dangerous. On the other side there was a range of cheaply made indicators, complicated in installation and illogical in design. Shortly after my realisation I began discussing with my close friend and engineer Agostino Stilli about designing high-quality direction indicators for bikes. From there, WingLights were born.
Starting CYCL and designing WingLights was a process that took both time and patience. Each step in the process opened a door to a new set of problems to solve and challenges to overcome. I had graduated from City University the year before with a business degree focusing in innovation, creativity, and leadership.
My background in business prepared me for the basics, but I learned some of my most important entrepreneurial lessons through putting myself out there in the real world. I had to work with my partner Agostino to develop a product with real world application and with real market value.
We had to design, evaluate, redesign and re-evaluate countless times until we had a product that lived up to its promise. Competitions, expos, trade shows, and pitches became our daily routine for over a year. If it sounds like hard work that’s because it was. That being said, I’m not writing this to deter young entrepreneur and engineers, I’m writing it to inspire.
My advice for young people looking to invent and design their own products, start their own companies, or forge their own paths is to use the resources around you. Founding a startup is hard work but it is achievable. Make and maintain connections in university with your classmates and professors. Without the help of my friend Agostino or the network at City University CYCL and WingLights would still be a dream. There is a huge number of investor networks, competitions, and accelerators in the United Kingdom.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, don’t be afraid of failure. We didn’t win the competitions or the attention of investors the first few times around. But we did listen to what people had to say, we reorganized and tried again. Slowly but surely people started to take notice.
Today we are an established company with a well-designed product on the market and new products in development. It may sound like the same old advice but that’s because it is tried and true: look for gaps in the market, use the resources at your disposal, don’t be afraid of failure, and always follow your dreams.