The first in a new series, this Q&A meets ManUp Key, a Welsh startup who joined us at Connected Britain this September

Tell us about your startup:
The ManUp Key is a unique product. It’s patented slide hammer technology uses momentum and the hammer action to release stuck manhole covers. It is infinitely safer and much more successful than current methods of trying to release stuck covers.

Our customers feedback has told us that they are releasing up to 95% of stuck covers which they couldn’t beforehand, so cutting down on expensive and time consuming dig out and replacements of manhole covers, by 95%! If used as intended, and properly the Key also eliminates back injuries from the process of releasing stuck covers.

ManUp Key sells through resellers, into over 20 countries worldwide, in many different industries as a result of the interchangeable tips the Key uses, Telecommunications, Drainage, Gas, Electricity, Pest Control, Water Authorities, Utilities, Service Location, Surveys, Construction, and the Fire Service – pretty much anyone who has to lift manhole covers. Specific tips, and tip sets have been created for different industries in different countries.

What is your USP
No other product on the market does what the ManUp Key does. Hammering the cover up, rather than hammering down or simply trying to pull it up. It has better results at releasing stuck covers successfully than any other tools used for trying to release stuck covers.

What is your relationship with the telecom sector?
It is perfect for telecommunications companies, as it will do away with virtually all of the time lost, and money spent, when a telecoms engineer needs to open a cover but can’t because it’s stuck. There’s no need to wait for someone else to come and open it, no need smash it in, dig it out and pay for a replacement. It’s a one man solution that is incredibly successful at breaking the seal on seized and stuck covers, and can save engineers, and telecoms companies time effort and money in their everyday job.

How have you got to your current stage of development?
We have got to where we are today completely on our own. We are a stand alone company that provides about 40 resellers worldwide with Keys to sell to their clients and customers as and when required. The Key has undergone a few modifications in he near decade we have been going, working with customers to improve and we now have a product that works and solves all of the problems presented.

Why did you establish the business? What motivated you?
Founder, Andy Butler, comes from a drainage background and was constantly being told about drainage engineers who were wasting so much time trying to access covers which for whatever reason were stuck, seized, rusted etc… So he invented the ManUp Key to solve that problem, as time went on he expanded it to be beneficial to many other different industries by producing other tips suitable for them, and it has grown constantly over the years. The motivation was the problem that he had been told about, as the type of person who enjoys the challenge of finding a solution to problems like that.

What does the future hold for your business?
With regards the future, although we do sell into many different industries, there is much more for us to do. Particularly in the telecommunications industry, the scope is immense. The number of companies who could save themselves time, effort and money due to this Key is massive, and the future for us is making sure they know it’s available, and ensuring they are well equipped with the knowledge to understand the positive effects it can have on their current working practises.

Based: Pontyclun, Wales
Employees: 2-3
Founder: Andy Butler

Total Telecom now hosts startup zones at many of our events in the UK and overseas. To discover the opportunities and if you qualify, email