Category Archives: New Products

Dragon Duncan misses the bigger picture!

By Kelly Lea

Oxfordshire couple and co-founders of PlayDNA, Dr. Samantha Decombel and Dr. Stuart Grice, were seen on BBC2’s Dragons’ Den last night pitching for £50,000 investment in their business which creates artwork from DNA at Cherwell Innovation Centre. 

Screen shot 2014-02-03 at 12.19.00

Dr Stuart and Dr Sam face the dragons

Together for 17 years, the couple had an attractive business proposition if only the expert panel of entrepreneurs were able to keep their mind on the business in hand. Instead, viewers saw the Dragons probing for personal information about Sam and Stuart’s marital status rather than focussing on PlayDNA’s business potential, ending with Peter Jones offering the sum of £50,000 to Stuart if he proposed to Sam on the show.

group upgraded

Spot the scientists!

Undeterred by the TV experience filmed in May 2013, the business savvy couple have recently launched MuscleGenes, a sports specific spin-off company of PlayDNA, established to analyse genes that impact on fat burning, endurance, speed, metabolism and aerobic capacity.

The company already boasts celebrity clients including professional rugby player, Roger Wilson and TV presenter Andi Peters, both of whom have endorsed MuscleGenes via testimonials and social media. Celebrity doctor Dr Christian Jessen of Embarrassing Bodies fame is also known to have taken the test. Jessen

Dr. Samantha Decombel explains: “MuscleGenes has taken us to a whole new market.  Our sales have already eclipsed PlayDNA in our first few months of trading and we have experienced significant growth and appetite for our product in the UK and US.  We feel Duncan Bannatyne definitely missed a trick by not looking at the bigger picture, especially with his knowledge of the sports sector.”

The MuscleGenes test focuses solely on the information contained within an individuals DNA to help fine tune training programmes, performance and nutritional advice, with no artwork involved.

Swabbing 8-times Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman!

Swabbing the legendary Ronnie Coleman!

The idea for MuscleGenes came about shortly after the den experience in a chance meeting with co-founder, Dr. Dan Reardon, a medic and former personal trainer.

Within 3 months MuscleGenes was formed and the impact was immediate. “Our sales went through the roof and we had to take the product off sale because we couldn’t manage the demand!” says Dr. Samantha Decombel. “In May, we were despondently walking out the den without investment. By September, we were in Vegas at the Mr Olympia event swabbing 8-times Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman!”

MG team, Stu, Bernie, Mark, Sam, Dan

The MuscleGenes team in their lab space at Cherwell Innovation Centre

The team is already five strong with plans to recruit an additional two people to join the Cherwell Innovation Centre HQ following further investment in high-throughput equipment. Commenting on her journey to date, Dr. Samantha Decombel continues: “It is difficult for scientists to have the ability to start-up a company due to the significant investment needed in lab space and equipment.  We have been very lucky to discover Cherwell Innovation Centre, as rather than funding an entire lab, we have been able to just rent a bench in addition to sharing equipment and office space with scientists who are in a similar situation.  This has enabled us to invest in other areas, such as our branding and marketing, vital for product sales and the success of the business.”

Cherwell Innovation Centre is one of the only facilities in Oxfordshire to provide a flexible agreement for start-ups interested in lab space, office space and meeting room facilities.

MG Nation pics

The MuscleGenes Nation!
The sharp-eyed amongst you may spot a few IFBB Pros amongst the happy MG customers

MuscleGenes new website is now live with the aim of capitalising from primetime TV exposure gained through the Dragons Den appearance.  To find out more about the company and how genetics can help improve your sports performance, visit: musclegenes.com.  Alternatively, visit PlayDNA for a family DNA portrait.

IMG00693-20140202-1936

A happy ending!

For people intrigued by the Dragons’ probing into Sam and Stuart’s personal life, the University of Oxford DPhil Geneticist proposed to his business partner and girlfriend last November in Stratford-upon-Avon, the location of their first date just before Sam’s 16th birthday.  The couple are now both 33.  Dr. Samantha Decombel concludes: “We are (finally!) very happily engaged to be married and after 17 years of waiting I wouldn’t swap Stuart’s eventual proposal for any amount of Peter’s money, it was much more romantic than a TV studio!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Customer stories, Dr Samantha Decombel, Events and exhibitions, Genetics, Media, New Products, Science, Update

PlayDNA gets thumbs up from Debenhams crowd!

Debenhams wedding fairAfter an overwhelmingly positive response to our first wedding fair at the 5* Randolph Hotel, Oxford, in January we were delighted to be invited to exhibit our new range of Framed Prints at the Debenhams Oxford department store last weekend.

Following hot on the heels of Valentines Day, the traditional British retailer held a Wedding Fair on Saturday 16th February 2013 to celebrate love, commitment – and how to have a fabulous wedding!

Dr Sam talks through our new product range

Dr Sam talks through our new product range with some keen shoppers

Dr Sam explains the interpretable nature of a PlayDNA portrait

Dr Sam explains the interpretable nature of a PlayDNA portrait – and why they make such great wedding gifts!

As well as the many excited brides and grooms, a busy Saturday crowd kept PlayDNA Founders Dr Samantha Decombel and Dr Stuart Grice chatting about their novel artwork all afternoon. More than one person were stopped in their tracks by the colourful display pieces and paused to admire the ‘extremely cool’ and ‘fascinating’ artworks as they browsed the aisles.

As a wedding gift never to be forgotten you certainly couldn’t do better than a PlayDNA portrait – a fun way to see how compatible the bride and groom might be!

Do opposites attract? Or are you the perfect match? Beautiful genetic portraits for couples and families that come complete with your own DNA analysis and guide.

Available now, just contact sam@playdna.co.uk for more information or take a look at our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/playdna.

Own a wedding portrait as unique as you

 

1 Comment

Filed under Events and exhibitions, New Products

The cool new way to show off your DNA

DNA Art Portrait Rug Home PlayDNA

The perfect finishing touch to your family home, a personalised PlayDNA rug!

This might just be one time you’ll be happy to be walked all over! The latest edition to our DNA PORTRAIT product portfolio is probably our favourite so far: the personalised DNA rug.

We’ve teamed up with bespoke rug manufacturer and official producer of the Stamp Rug – Rug-Maker.com – to bring this fabulous new product to you.

Interiors UK design rug dna collaboration playdna art

PlayDNA Founder Dr Samantha Decombel and Rug-Maker.com’s Julian Blair discuss the potential of a collaboration to create a new and unique personalised interior option.

Following a chance meeting with Sales Director Julian Blair at the 2013 Interiors UK exhibition, Dr Samantha Decombel immediately saw the potential for a collaboration between PlayDNA and Rug-Maker.com, renowned for bespoke handmade rugs perfected through technology. By combining our high-tech science with their high-tech design, we have created a totally unique and stylish concept in soft furnishings and interior design!

After preparing your personal DNA art with the PlayDNA difference, Dr Decombel and our talented graphic designer Callie Bowyer work alongside Julian to create the perfect design for your home.

DNA Rug playdna art portrait of family

This DNA rug showcases a family of four with every band representing a different trait, such as the gene for eye colour, or whether they are early birds or night owls. Can you spot the family resemblance? We can create a combined DNA portrait for any number of family members!

As you would expect from one of the leading custom rug manufacturers in the world, quality is at the heart of this product, with each beautiful rug hand-crafted from 100% New Zealand wool and silk in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal.

With prices starting from just £599 (1m x 1.25m) and over 350 colours to choose from, you’re certain to find the perfect rug to add the finishing touch to your family home.

www.playDNA.co.uk

www.rug-maker.com

2 Comments

Filed under New Products