Evolution Retail

Introducing Robert Van-Balen - inventor of innovative security technology

Kelly Haley

Robert Van-Balen is the founder of GRIPZO, who provide lock and release anti-theft brackets and universal tablet mounts for ipads and all other Mpos tablets to retailers such as Argos, O2, Dixons Carphone, KBC Bank, Euronics and Microsoft. Robert, in a recent interview, divulged to us his motivation for inventing innovative products for ground-breaking solutions for the security industry.  

Why did you set up your company?

I founded GRIPZO in 2012 when I saw a market opportunity for mechanical lock down solutions for smartphones, to prevent cut and run theft -  which was becoming a problem for retailers.  In those days lock down solutions for mobile devices were not common. Nowadays, due to the rising cost of smartphones (such as iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S series), the need for retailers to secure these products when on display is a necessity. More recently the use of mobile devices for payments in shops, restaurants and bars having risen sharply, I anticipated the need for retailers to secure their mobile devices and invented the GRIPZO range of mechanical lock and release products.

What is your motivation – what drives you?

Being the first in spotting a trend and acting on that to deliver a product which delivers, thrills me. When you succeed in that, the reward you’re hoping for is a fast-growing business and in building up value in that business. Going mechanical and not electrical, is also a green choice and because it is environmental friendly, that is what motivates me, as I do care about our planet.

What problems do you see facing retailers and protecting their stock in 2018?

For the retailers that we supply, aggressive theft is a big problem and the GPRIZO range helps combat this type of theft.  Argos used the GRIPZO range across their stores to display their ipads, which previously had been a hot target for shoplifters.  Our range of display mounts enables Argos to provide a flexible, but secure solution for product demonstrations.

What are the similarities and differences in European loss prevention when compared to the UK?

Aggressive theft seems to occur more often in the UK than on mainland Europe. UK retailers are more open to the suggestion of clamping down their merchandise to secure it, whereas European retailers do not seem to accept that option until it actually happens in their stores.

When you’re not inventing security products, what do you with your spare time?  

I like spending quality time with my family and I also care deeply about our planet and I support green causes which are close to my heart. GRIPZO supports green charities, such as JUSTDIGGIT.org, a charity that makes dry land green again by capturing rainwater and introducing sustainable agriculture in order to create healthy ecosystems.

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