Hi everyone! First things first, I apologize for taking forever to do an update. I didn’t want to send out incremental updates with no real meat to them, so I saved it all up for this one. Okay, here we go…
I’m Done with School!
I was really hoping the Flip n’Grip would fund and I would be able to ditch graduate school and just start a business. As you know, that didn’t work out so I’ve been spending a semi-insane amount of time and effort over the last 6 month cranking out my masters degree in mechanical engineering. You can imagine, writing a 70 page paper titled “The Design of a Versatile and Disposable Microfluidic Chip for Automated Sample Preparation and Nucleic Acid Extraction” was quite painful and boring. But it’s over now and I officially graduated yesterday. Woohoo!
Nearly Made it on “Shark Tank”
In April, I got a call from the reality TV show “Shark Tank”. I had submitted an email application four months earlier and only got an auto-reply that they were done casting at the time. Now they were casting for the new season 5 and they loved the Flip n’Grip video from my Kickstarter project. They asked me to fill out a ton of paperwork and make them a video about my product. I ended up making it past several rounds of cuts over the course of about two months. In the end, the producers cut me a few weeks before they started their first rounds of filming. They said they had too many people with a great product, but no real business behind it and they encouraged me to try again next year. Although I didn’t make it onto the show, it was exciting to see they loved the product and seriously considered it for “Shark Tank”.
The Full Patent
The Flip n’Grip is patent pending! Before I launched the Kickstarter, I used a gift certificate that I won in a school competition, to pay for a provisional patent. It basically costs about $2000 and gives you a year to work out the bugs before filing a more expensive and full utility patent. I was hoping to pay for the full utility patent after a successful Kickstarter campaign. When it didn’t fund, I had to figure out a way to pay for it myself. If I didn’t do it, the wallet would have become “public domain” meaning anyone could have started ripping off the Flip n’Grip. I didn’t want the work I had spent on it making someone else wealthy. I saved up everything I had and spent the big bucks to file the full utility patent.
The New Design: Flip n’Grip 2.0
In my spare time, I have been working on an improved version of the Flip n’Grip in hopes of cutting the cost quite a bit. I really wanted to get costs down when I initially launched, but Kickstarter was being saturated with wallets and I felt like I just needed to go for it. In the end, that was probably the biggest reason the Flip n’Grip didn’t fund. I am in the process of figuring out the pricing costs for the new version and I’m expecting it to be $30 -$40 less. It’s taken a while on the redesign because I’m making sure the quality is still the highest priority. It’s getting very close.
I’ve been amazed at the positive feedback from all of the awesome backers and people who came across the project after it was over. I’ve received tons of emails and messages from people asking me if they can get their hands on a prototype, or where they can buy one. I’ve also had a large number of people ask me to do another Kickstarter campaign. I love designing products and creating things and it’s my dream to have my own successful business doing just that. I’ve looked at a number of funding sources to make that happen and Kickstarter is one of the greatest. Not only does it provide funding without taking equity, it’s also a great way to get a lot of feedback on the product. Kickstarter is a great platform and because of that, I am making preparations for the Flip n’Grip Version 2.0. Realistically, making something like this happen is a ton of work and takes time, but it’s on it's way...