Dartmouth Engineers Sell Gyrowheel Technology to UK Entrepreneur

November 26, 2013

Robert Bodill
Robert Bodill, CEO, Jyrobike™ (formerly Gyrobike)

Four Dartmouth engineering alums have confirmed the acquisition of the intellectual property and patents for their gyrowheel technology by UK based entrepreneur, Robert Bodill.

The team of Deborah Sperling’06 Th’07, Hannah Murnen ’06 Th’07, Nathan Sigworth ’07, and Augusta Niles ’07 invented the technology in 2005 for an introductory class project. The inventors, plus Errik Anderson ’00 T’07, formed the company GPSS, LLC, which developed the intellectual property, filed the original patent, created prototypes, and wrote a business case. They sought a partner to commercialise the technology and, after entering into a licensing agreement, thousands of children’s gyrowheels were sold directly to consumers and through retailers including Toys R Us, Target, Sears, K-Mart, and a variety of smaller sports, bicycle, and toy stores.

Bodill, CEO, has secured a number of investors including professional venture capital funding via Invest Northern Ireland and two UK angel investors. The new Jyrobike™ (formerly Gyrobike) global office is located in Belfast and a global R&D effort to produce a more sophisticated version 2 is well underway.

Bodill felt it was important to continue to grow the brand in the US and has appointed Philadelphia-based Dana Hoffer as Managing Director, North America who is leading the American Jyrobike™ team. With a strong enterprise and start-up background, Hoffer brings fifteen years of digital innovation with a focus on the burgeoning cycling market.

“We have gathered vast amounts of customer feedback on the current gyrowheel version 1 and have used this information to our advantage to develop Version 2, which will be even better and available in a range of sizes for both children and adults to enjoy," explained Bodill. "We have a world leading R&D team set up in the UK with research support in the Netherlands and we look forward to building amazing products that people will love to use.

“When I first heard about gyrowheel I was excited straight away and thought it was a fantastic concept. Since researching the product more thoroughly I have identified three new markets including adults, seniors, and people with disabilities. Gyrowheel impressed me as a technology that was able to teach children how to ride a bike in a single afternoon, but I saw more. A new version could offer substantial health benefits to seniors looking to stay active. Also, for families living with disabilities including autism, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis to name just a few that we could help. A new Jyrobike™ will bring countless moments of joy for all ages to everyday living.

“I have received multiple enquires from both professionals and consumers alike explaining their personal reasons why they would like to purchase a Jyrobike™. This genuine and heartfelt feedback has continued to feed my drive to develop the new version 2 of the Jyrobike™ and take the product to its natural next evolution. Myself and the team are very excited about the relaunch in summer 2014 and look forward to great things to come!”

For more information, contact Kerry Vance, Director of Marketing at kerry@jyrobike.com.

Gyrobike inventors
Jyrobike™ inventors (l to r): Hannah Murnen ’06 Th’07, Deborah Sperling ’06 Th’07, Nathan Sigworth ’07, Augusta Niles ’07 Th’08. Their work won them the 2006 Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics. This image appeared in "A Few of Our Favorite Things" in the Winter 2011 issue of Dartmouth Engineer magazine. Photo by Chad Hunt.