Got an idea for an electronic product that you would like to make and sell, but have no idea how long that would take or what it would cost? Meet Cubik Innovation, an innovative electronic product design consultancy based at the Bristol and Bath Science Park (BBSP) who are willing to provide whatever services you need.

Cubik Innovation prides itself on working with anyone, including inventors, innovators, SMEs and multinational corporations, taking even the most undeveloped concepts and transforming them into functional and marketable products and systems.

Cubik have built a reputation for a flexible pick-and-choose approach to electronic product design, so the company will help you with just the bits you want them to do, whether that’s concept research, electronic design, rapid prototyping, embedded software and small batch and large scale manufacture

We caught up with founder Paul Mullen to find out more about Cubik Innovation, his belief in the power of UK manufacturing and how it has grown from a 2-man startup in a small room at BBSP to a 20-strong team exploring ground-breaking electrical product design.

TechSPARK: How did Cubik Innovation get started?

cubik-73 Paul Mullen: Cubik Innovation was initially conceived in 2012 as a lifestyle business, myself and a junior engineer in a small room in the Bristol and Bath Science Park and a few really nice projects from local inventors. Three years on, Cubik has gone charmingly feral. We have managed to find some simply great technical and creative team members and met some really inspiring companies with ground-breaking concepts, all just at the right time.

“To be honest, without a circuit board to scrutinise, an idea to innovate or a customer to meet I might be a bit lost!”


All of these key milestones, meetings and connections have made it possible for Cubik to progress from a couple of guys with a few circuit boards to 20 members of staff, an expanding client list, a 5 year business plan and an industrial sized coffee pot.

TS: You are a serial entrepreneur who had already sold a successful company, what drew you back to running another company?

I wouldn’t describe myself as a serial entrepreneur, flattering as it may sound. My previous company, PaniK technology was a venture extremely close to my heart, I worked in the company on a day-to-day basis for 22 years before the company was sold in 2011. PaniK managed to gain a very good reputation amongst Bristol’s wealth of SMEs, at the time of its sale it seemed like the right time to slow down, as you may be able to tell this didn’t last long!

So I wasn’t drawn back… the Cubik team, our great customers and the wealth of innovation in this city has undoubtedly done this on my behalf, and to be honest, without a circuit board to scrutinise, an idea to innovate or a customer to meet I might be a bit lost!

TS: What would you say are your major successes?

The past year has been an epic time for Cubik, some great successes. We’ve been nominated for three awards, winning Start-Up of the Year at The Bristol Post Business Awards, picking up highly commended in the small business category at the Institute of Directors SW Awards and nominated for the Start-up of the Year at British Engineering Excellence Awards, the winner announced at the finalist’s ceremony in London this month.

“We love working and partnering with companies in the South-West as we fully buy into this region as the flagship for technology and engineering it’s been sold as in recent times”


Awards are an interesting one, I had never experienced the process, but gaining this notoriety locally and nationally has been an awesome boost to myself and the team.

leocycle-cubik-innovationThis year has also seen many of our customers reach the market with their products, for example Leocycle, a device developed with a local smart facilities management start-up capable of detecting the risk of Legionnaires’ disease in hospitals, hotels, offices and other public buildings. This is a device that will undoubtedly change the landscape of how the industry operates, watch this space!

TS: You have a strong belief in using UK manufacturing – why, what are the benefits?

At the heart of Cubik is a very obvious and sincere tie to its locality, we love working and partnering with companies in the South-West as we fully buy into this region as the flagship for technology and engineering it’s been sold as in recent times. Personally, I have seen the microelectronics and high-tech industry peak and trough in the past 20-30 years in this area; we want to ride the crest of the wave that’s pushing that industry back to the forefront, if we can help this endeavour by working with local suppliers, we will.

Alongside this is a set of highly valuable benefits to choosing your suppliers domestically, better yet… locally.

Better communication: No hefty management required throughout projects to ensure goods are where they need to be when they should be. No need to pilot through timezones and costly call tariffs, communication points can be frequent, cultivating a successful partnership.

Faster Reactions: Speedbumps can be crossed quickly, problems resolved faster and when an issue does happen (which we hope they won’t!) we can be reactive and adaptable to new developments.

Higher Quality: Good quality is second nature to the majority of the suppliers we engage with; ensuring this quality is safeguarded from first contact limits the chances of technical pitfalls and failures.

Strictly Regulated: No ‘ifs’ regarding IP legalities, you’re further protected against ideas being stolen or reproduced.

Technical Edge: With an increased amount of new engineering talent entering UK industry in recent years, the technical element is at the top of its game, excellence in engineering is something we can absolutely find domestically.

Environmentally friendly: Employing environmental consciousness is no longer just a buzzword or a tickbox, it’s something we all have to think about in both our day to day lives and if it applies, business operations. Manufacturing in the UK comes with countless ecological benefits majorly the advantage of ‘on the ground’ transportation.

For us at Cubik these factors are a no-brainer!

TS: You also help your customers with funding – can you give us some examples of how?

Planning and obtaining the correct funding is one of the most important factors for ensuring the success of a new product or venture. In recent times, the world of funding has become quite difficult to navigate, with the South West fortunately saturated with a number of design and product development funding vehicles, usually with affiliation to the wealth of great academic institutions in the region. We like to take a consultative approach with our customers to guide them into choosing the best funding support possible.

“My best advice for someone thinking of making an electrical product to sell is always do your homework and be brave”


Perhaps one of the most advantageous relationships cultivated through this endeavour is our partnership with Microelectronics-iNet South West, an ERDF programme which offer funding assistance and project support to inventors and emerging businesses with design concepts to develop and services to push forward.

This relationship has paid huge dividends for both parties, for Cubik our successes have been achieved most pertinently through the Microelectronics iNet business assist service, a small but important fund of £1000 awarded to SMEs looking to gain information and guidance on product and business development. In this capacity Cubik were commissioned to facilitate product and concept investigation for customers with electronic products, usually consisting of several days of focused research into prototyping and design. Over our three years in business we have completed approximately 25 business assists for as many innovative small companies. 60% of these investigations forming the vital bedrock for future development, with customers choosing Cubik as their product development partner or as a vehicle for isolated programmes of work such as design reviews, prototype productions, software iterations, and batch manufactures.

By working with the broad range of customers we do, we have a wide experience of all different types funding. For instance we have managed to glean a great deal of knowledge from working with startups in the wake of successful crowdfunding and Kickstarter campaigns, due to this we can give an insight into the pitfalls and benefits of crowdfunding and how it affects product development.


Cubik Greetings! Even Cubik’s Xmas cards get the electronic
treatment – including a built in stacker game

TS: What’s your best advice for someone thinking of making an electrical product to sell?

We employ a methodology with our customers when we’re in the information gathering and enquiry stage of a project. We decipher our customer’s project WANTS.

This process covers all the key questions that need to be figured out before development.

WANTS – What is your target with this product? Who will benefit from this product? What could be the potential obstacles? Market Research?

AUTHORITY -Who are your lead design partners? Who is you internal project manager? Who are your suppliers?

NEEDS -How will this Project benefit your company? What’s the worst case scenario if the project doesn’t go ahead?

TIME -When do you want this project to kick off? Desired timescale?

SPENDING – How much you are investing? What is the budget? Target price per unit?

Personally, my advice is always do your homework and be brave!

TS: You are based at the Bristol and Bath Science Park. How do you find being located there?

bristol-science-parkThe Bristol and Bath Science Park is an amazing place to be. When Cubik was merely a twinkle in the eye of my dining room table and I could see the foundations going down from my kitchen window, I had a feeling it was somewhere that could be perfect for my next move.

“The prospect of sitting alongside the most innovative and progressive companies in the region was also a huge pull to BBSP”


Starting out with just a box room, we now have one large office and two laboratories in the Innovation Centre, with a move planned to a larger site over at the Grow on Centre, this journey of development through the park has suited us absolutely down to the ground and is one of the fundamental reasons siting a company here is such a plus. The Science Park allows you to grow and guides you through the important phases of growth successful startups enjoy.

The prospect of sitting alongside the most innovative and progressive companies in the region was also a huge pull to BBSP. It is a true hub of activity and energy and we’ve definitely benefitted from making key connections with our neighbours, completing work for some as well referring a few to our customers and design partners. The park is very good at running well timed tenants events, so we are all aware of each other’s specialisms and service and there’s always the tea making point for a morning networking session.

To put it most simply it is also a beautiful building to come to work in, it has the aesthetics to wow potential customers and team members and the environmental benefits to boot. With sustainability driving the design and operations of the Park it is devoted to supplying its tenants with renewable, efficient energy sources, a ready-made environmental policy without mentioning the ecologically conscious way we run our operations.

TS: What have been some of your favourite products you have worked on at Cubik?

Such a difficult question to answer as we work across a range of industry sectors, most of my favourites have been born out of making connections with smaller, local SMEs.

A recent stand out was working with our neighbours over at the National Composites Centre to design and manufacture a system that would streamline an important rapid prototyping process. This was an important one for us, as not only has the system formed an important part of day to day process, to have a device at the centre of a world class innovation site for the design and rapid manufacture of composites is a big achievement.

The nature of our work means a lot of our projects are kept under wraps, bound in non-disclosure agreements and press embargos, I could tell you more but I might get into trouble with our customers!

TS: Are there any other tech or engineering companies in the South West you are impressed by?

Recently we met with University of Bristol spin-out, ImiTech Ltd, a group of experts who have spent the last two years researching and developing novel methods for detecting, characterising and mapping radiological contamination. With this under their belts they now have interesting plans to develop ranges of both hardware and software to tackle this industrial issue. After meeting them we were hugely impressed by their practical approach to hardware product development.

We’d like to thank Paul for taking time out of his very busy schedule to chat to us. You can see more on Cubik Innovation at the Cubik Innovation website or by following them on Twitter at @CubikInnovation. And while you are there, why not follow us too! @TechSPARKuk