In October 2013 Metalper and Grupo Inel added another award to its tally by winning the Innovation Prize at the 16th National Trade Fair of FENIE, the Spanish federation of electrical and telecomm professional installers in Palma de Mallorca, for its original sliding socket invention.
There are things that are more important than making money, (although if you can make money doing what you like then so much the better).
Sergio Gramage knows a lot about working with friends; he joined Astroc because the CEO was a friend, and formed the company Miel de Luna with three friends.
Business ideas can strike you in all sorts of places; in a petrol station, climbing a mountain, in the shower (serious entrepreneurs always shower with pencil and paper handy). In the case of Metalper, the idea came during a supper between two friends, Sergio and Angel Perales.
Angel Perales is the latest of five generations of metal workers and is what the experts like to call an ‘ideas man’. Both Sergio and Angel are the kind of people who like to ask questions, but unlike so many Gin and Tonic entrepreneurs, when they come up with an answer, they take action instead of ordering another G&T.
One of many questions that occured during the supper that was to shape their immediate future was: “why do I have to always look for a socket? Why can’t the socket come to me?”
There were models to base this question upon; if you think, as they did, about a Scaletrix or a train or even a Dodgems car, it’s clear that there is no law that says that you have to have cables everywhere to make your electrical appliances work.
From this simple notion, Ängel Enchufes Deslizantes was born, a range of products which bring the socket to the user, a sliding socket system that does away with a serpent sea of swimming cables in your kitchen, living room or office.
Having an original idea is of course only the first step, you also have to protect your idea, and Sergio and Angel were soon to find out that the European Union isn’t so united, and that they would have to take out patents on a country by country basis.
Some of that effort has been rewarded as since 2011, when they launched the product, their sliding socket has already been sold in Qatar, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, Norway and several EU countries. They even managed to place a solitary pallet in Senegal.
With initial sales of 22,000 euros in 2011, they rose to 100,000 in 2012, and, at the time of writing, in October 2013, had already reached 200,000€.
With only six employees, Metalper, whose factory is located in Font de la Figuera, the last Valencia village before Don Quijote’s Castilla La Mancha, these two quixotic Valencian have made an important splash, so much so that Spanish television selected them for its equivalent of the ‘Dragon’s Den’ programme, in which entrepreneurs have to sell their ideas to potential investors.
The company also received a Gold medal at the Geneva World Inventors’ Fair in 2009, with a prototype, before the product had even hit the market.
Easy to install, providing clean and simple mobility and in attractive colour combinations, Angel and Sergio have clearly demonstrated that a good idea, coupled with persistence and a willingness to work 25 hours a day 8 days a week, means that, despite the crisis, there is always a space in the market for a product that fulfills a need and is promoted with conviction and enthusiasm.