A technological response to a timeless issue

Danny Manu (pictured below) is the founder of Mymanu a Manchester-based technology brand that has created versatile translation earphones, CLIK S, which work with an app to help translate the speaker’s voice into the listener’s chosen language.

“We develop innovative solutions to improve peoples’ lives,” Danny said. “I started the company after a personal experience; I was at a conference with other sound engineers from across Europe and it had to be cancelled because they couldn’t get translators.

“It got me wondering that maybe I could solve the problem of people from different cultures speaking different languages, to somehow connect and be able to understand each other. What was just an irritation for me, started me thinking that communication issues between people must be widespread and maybe a solution could have real benefits.

“I soon discovered that the idea had a huge opportunity and so many different application possibilities from healthcare to policing, hospitality and even individuals who want to travel more easily. I saw a chance to change the way people communicate.”

As a sound engineer, Danny had the knowledge and experience to build a solution to his problem, but not the business acumen.

The whole ecosystem I suddenly had access to was invaluable. The advice was also priceless.

Hearing the potential

“NatWest Group helped me take my business to the next level, both in terms of finance and also my entrepreneurial journey,” Danny recalls. “I hadn’t been to a business school so that learning was not familiar to me. I needed support. With NatWest we got it done.

“I discovered the NatWest Accelerator from LinkedIn and got so much more than I thought possible. The whole ecosystem I suddenly had access to was invaluable. The advice was also priceless.

“My coach helped me, and listening to and meeting other startups was also great: how they pitch and what they have learned in the business world. When I went into the Accelerator I could build, but I couldn’t pitch. Being in there had a huge impact on me and my business.”

Jessica Grocutt, Enterprise Acceleration Manager, said: "We supported Danny predominantly with 1-1 coaching and he was always a huge support for the entrepreneurs in the community. We opened up doors for speaking opportunities for Danny and his insights were always well received and valuable. I'm excited to follow his journey and to see what's next for Mymanu."

Spreading the word

Mymanu’s CLIK S came out in 2021 and since then Danny has continued to innovate. The next generation earbuds – the CLIK Pro – are released in April 2024 and have already made headlines, taking the CES® 2024’s Innovation Honoree Award. Danny is also currently piloting the CLIK Pro earphones with charities and associations which support asylum seekers as well as schools supporting pupils to whom English is an additional language.

“The current CLIK S earphones work with your mobile phone, but the CLIK Pro doesn’t need the phone,” Danny explains. “They just detect the people speaking and translate their words in your ear, it’s really cool.

“Working with the schools is great as my work can literally help teachers communicate faster with pupils who have English as an additional language to help them learn and integrate with other pupils more quickly than waiting for a translator.”

A drive and an appetite for risk

Danny has a number of patents in place to protect the technology used in his products. “There are alternatives coming out now but people always mention us as kind of the beginning of this,” Danny said. “I’ve been chatting to a large tech company and what I’ve realised is that they have the money and the market-share, but they would rather acquire or work with a young company to develop a new product than go through the whole financial risk themselves.

“I used up all my savings, sold my assets and really put everything I have into this. I told myself I was committed to this until I get to my goal. I’m not stopping. I am super-passionate about what I’m building and it is really starting to come together now. If you have an idea then go and validate it. Not all ideas are good, you need to solve a certain problem but if a lot of people are facing that problem; then you have something that people will pay you for.”


Accelerator hubs

Through our 13 Accelerator hubs NatWest Group supported over 1,300 entrepreneurs during 2023, offering access to business expertise and a community of like-minded peers.

Supporting UK enterprise in 2023 data taken from our '2023 Environmental, Social and Governance Disclosures Report', available on our Enterprise internet page

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