University of Brighton Alumni Association


Hybe – our graduate’s new life-hack bag

Three-times Brighton alumnus Richard Simmonite, who started his own eco-focused product design company, has this week launched a new 5-in-1 shape-shifting convertible bag on Kickstarter.

A serial social entrepreneur and active member of the university’s entrepreneurship network, beepurple, Richard has turned to the online crowdfunding platform to help bring his award-winning design to market.

Richard said: “I think it is key that we go straight to the community of people who would naturally use the product. The crowd is a great way to get essential feedback on an idea, a testing pot if you like, as well as finding potential customers and fans – our backers support because they can see the potential of the product and want to assist in making it real. Of course, they get a great product at huge discounts for being first too.”

Named hybe because of its clever shape-shifting qualities, this extraordinary piece of travel kit doesn’t quite defy physics, but does seem to defy convention: a fashionable little 15L tote bag, that doubles as a 25L boho style sling drop bag, that triples as a 30L cross-body weekender, quadruples as a massive 60L store pod – and then also folds out to form a flat mat for relaxing.

With the hybe bag already reaching more than 30% funding on its first day, Richard anticipates that they should smash their goal and have the product available for supporters in time for the August sunshine. As Richard pointed out: “Whether it’s for padding your booty on Brighton beach (ouch – those pebbles) or to get ready for one of the city’s famous festivals, you need to be quick to get the best of the rewards on offer.”

Time-limited Super Earlybird rewards are available until Sunday 9 April which offer up to 54% off the future selling prices. Other great discounts will kick in after this date, but the campaign only runs for 30 days in total. You can find more information about the product and pledge by visiting hybe’s Kickstarter project page.



Richard said: “It’s a vulnerable feeling to try to bring a new product into the world, but humbling and euphoric when others see something special in the design and stand up to support it.”

He commented that his wide-reaching experience at the University of Brighton has helped him navigate the world of business and that many of the extra opportunities available at Brighton have been instrumental in developing the skills and knowledge to set up his business and lead a team.

“Winning the Santander Enterprise Award for Most Innovative Product a few years back, spurred me on to really go full throttle on this project,” said Richard. The annual ideas competition for students and graduates aims to reward innovation and help get great ideas get made – it looks like this is one of those moments and we wish hybe the best of luck.

Sarah Grant • April 6, 2017

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  1. Nina April 7, 2017 - 9:02 am Reply

    What a great idea.

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