Inventive Ideas Inc
Who’s Who Inventor Zoo?

Who’s Who Inventor Zoo?

This is a great time for innovation so capitalize on the trends and invent smart.

There is much opportunity for independent inventors from TV shows to invention contests and more.  The main concern for inventors, is in this public and social environment.  

There are a lot of resources available, but putting your inventions online can usher in unnecessary competition.  

If you go that route, be prepared to make decisions quickly and full court press your momentum.   Submitting products online telegraphs problems that consumers may be responsive to and gives “deeper pocketed” competitors an advantage in the speed to market game.

  Understanding the pros’ and cons can help inventors make wise decisions and capitalize on this excellent time for innovation.

In the inventor community, companies and experts often position themselves as one stop shops, when the core competency is actually far more finely tuned.  

Here’s my assessment of some of the current players and how they can help your quest to see your product on retail shelves.

United Inventor Association (UIA)

The United Inventors (UIA) is a non-profit inventor group aimed at helping independent inventors.   To me, the best part of the UIA is found in the inventor clubs located around the country.  

These groups are made up of a combination of service providers, entrepreneurs, inventors and positive people wanting to add value.   

The current president is John Calvert, formerly with the USPTO.   I interviewed John in 2013 and reconnected again just a few months ago.   He’s a sharp man with much value to add so I’m excited to see where he takes the organization. 

Edison Nation

carrie inventorsWorking with Edison Nation can be a good choice if you have a concept that does not meet the 7 criteria for successful ASOTV products. 

  They have a strong presence in many industries and would be a great partner, in you need help developing and licensing a non-ASOTV item at concept stage.

The first time I met the companies CEO, Louis Foreman, was in 2013 at the USPTO Independent Inventor Conference.    He advocates heavily for independent inventors legislatively.  I found him to be a compelling speaker and he seemed genuinely concerned about helping independent inventors.

Edison Nation charges submission fees and take approximately 50% percent of the inventor royalties.    I haven’t seen a win come from this group since the Gyro Bowl and I did hear through the grapevine their cash flow is tight.

So it will be interesting to see what changes emerge.

If your invention does meet the criteria for successful ASOTV products, why give up 1/2 the royalties?    There are many companies like Edison Nation that sub-license to my ASOTV back end partners.   After all, knowing who to turn to is worth something. 

Quirky

(update 1/1/16:  Quirky was found dead.  Excessive expenses with diminshed product revenues starved it to death.)

The folks at Quirky are strong product developers.  

Many of the inventors active in the Quirky community also serve on my product scout team so I review a lot of their items.

The company is unique in that it relies on a community of influencers to help select which submissions to move forward with.  You can learn a lot about the product development process simply by observing the submissions that succeed and fail.    

Since the core competency of Quirky is product development.

Many of the inventions are simply “better mousetraps” with trendy new designs. 

  Recently, the company has struggled to find functional value and to differentiate it’s products in a way that spark consumer spending interest.   

Where Quirky has been successful is in the electronics category.  

They have several winners in this market segment so my Q insiders say that business segment will remain in tact.

Even as change is in the wind for the other product categories.

Private equity partners have brought in GE and Mattel as partner companies.

  I’m told the company will return to it’s product development roots and be more willing to license it’s designs.

Rather than incur the cost and risks inherit in the operational challenges of taking a product onto the retail store shelves.

  I would surmise most of their new products will household and toy.

Quirky can be a great resource for non-ASOTV items that need development, but like Edison Nation, they take a percentage of royalties, so for ASOTV products.

It’s best to submit directly to WillitLaunch.com where the inventor receives full royalties with no split or submission fees.

Related: 

How the invention factory at Quirky almost imagined its way out of business

Shark Tank

Shark Tank is a popular reality show that is a buzzing machine of entrepreneurial and inventor education.   I just love free education!    There are many online radio shows and blogs dedicated to detailed analysis and play by play of the Shark Tank drama.    

Recently, I met Barbara Corcoran at the Park University’s Xerox Global Business Lecture series.  She said many of the deals that get made on the show, never materialize during the due diligence phase.    She elaborated on the behind the scenes saga that now is becoming the Beyond The Tank series.    

Most inventors will spend time and travel expense to audition and not be selected.

  For those that are, a few will (out of pride or promotion) walk away from the opportunity of a life time.  For others, their dreams will become reality and their products and services will sell millions.   

The popularity of Shark Tank has sparked an increase in innovation and the shows investors do have the ability to produce product and grow company revenue, in very short order.    

My Caution!

My caution is, don’t pin your dreams on Shark Tank as your only solution.  Contact retail buyers and work to license your intellectual property before going on the show.

  If you do get a deal, guard yourself against the sales spike by controlling your expenses during the feeding frenzy and save profits, to be re-invested in future inventory.    Don’t expect money in your own pocket for a while.

My insiders tell me the Sharks often encourage companies to bring on debt, since future funding is often needed and the equity pie is already nearly 1/2.

  This is a concern for me because it reduces the financial risk of the Shark, but puts the inventor at higher financial risk.

  Debt is a strategy I strongly advise against, in almost every instance.

Good Books

The Inventor’s Bible 

by Ronald Louis Docie Sr.

This book is an easy read and helps inventors with simple ideas.

Patent Pending in 24 Hours 

by Richard Stim and David Pressmen

David Pressman, a leader in intellectual property for independent inventors.  This book offers a comprehensive overview, along with detail in just the right places.

Simple Steps To Retail – See Your Idea “As Seen On TV” by Carrie Jeske

Forgive the shameless plug, but I’ve been gaining experience to write this book since 2013.

  For a sneak peak, read my blogs or check our social networks for the coming launch.

Inventive Ideas, Inc.

Inventive Ideas got it’s start by launching and licensing it’s own products in 2000 and expanding it’s reach through volunteer service in the inventor community. 

The company develops, trains and supports a team of product scouts and licensing agents, located around the globe.  Inventive Ideas set’s up Open Innovation platforms to manufacture/distributors looking for products and offers Licensing Agent services to inventors who have a patent filed.    

pam inventorsPam Woods, VP of Licensing says, “We can’t guarantee we’ll get you a licensing agreement, but we’ll give your product it’s best shot at success.”

Inventive agents collaborates with product owners to build a top 25 hit list, then works that list over a 3 month term gathering feedback. Gaining interest and securing well written licensing agreements.    

Considering time, their most valuable resource, the team is highly selective about which products and inventors to work with.

  Working with only a few clients a year, licensing success rate is very high.

Crowdfunding

My team of product scouts, along with every other company, service provider and merry band of inventor and entrepreneurial resource are all on the Crowdfunding bandwagon. 

  I’m told the next big wave is called “Equity Crowdfunding”.

Where instead of product sales you offer a piece of the company pie.   

I have a friend who raised almost $60,000 on a kids toy and has built the business to almost 1 million dollars from his garage, with the kids doing order fulfillment.  

Now that’s a success story.    

Don’t forget.  

It’s a crowded platform now so you have to market your campaign well and if successful.

Quickly sort through service providers verses licensee partners.    If you’re item does well, you’ll need to move fast to net a profit.    Decided between “Make and Sell” and “Licensing” as quickly as possible and go for it.  Your on the public domain so competitors will emerge faster than you might think.

Fiverr & Elance

What a wonderful time to find service providers!   There are so many low cost resources available that the start-up costs of inventing can remain very low.  

Graphic design, sell sheets, demo videos, CAD drawings and freelancers are all willing to work on your project at a fraction of what it used to cost.     

Popular sites like Elance and Fiverr are hot beds of opportunity.  

  I have not used Elance but I use Fiverr all the time.    I find it’s best to go with the more highly rated service providers.  

Also, be careful not to stray outside the box of what they offer.   Many have services or “gigs” that are very specific for only $5. 

Anything outside that box costs more.    Start with simple requests within the $5 simple range till you get comfortable with the system and the people. 

  I have my own stable of go to experts now that provide great work, in a short time frame, without much expense.  

To me, that’s a match made in heaven.    

Make your designs look so real that companies can’t wait to buy and manufacture your ideas and inventions.

3-D printing

Making a prototype has never been easier.  There are many good product developers on Linkedin.  Join a group and start asking questions.  

If you’re looking for 3D printing services near you, here’s a webpage that might help.    Also, many public libraries are adding 3D printing to their list of services.    

These machines are becoming so prevalent and so cost effective that I anticipate a major surge in innovation in every category.  

However, 3D printers are especially helpful in the ASOTV distribution channel.

They allow us to to produce well made prototypes that make the market viability testing process more successful.

As Seen on TV

asotv inventorsThe fastest, least expensive way an inventor can make money on an idea.   It’a category, not a company.   The red and white logo is public domain but don’t use it because it makes insiders think your product was tested and failed.  

That is the kiss of death for a licensing agreement in this category.

There are no submission fees and we pay full inventor royalties!    We review hand made mock-up prototypes, finished goods and imports.  

Just send a link to a demo video or website with the Product Name listed in the Subject line.    Our email date and time stamps your submission.    

We’ll review the idea in a few days and reply with specific feedback.  

Term sheets to test market viability can be offered in under 30 days with tests completed in under 120 days or less.  

To find out more, watch my video, Sell Your Invention With No Patent and a Simple Prototype.

In closing, however you choose to move forward, I wish you all the best.

  This is a great time for innovation.  

Keep your costs low, choose the right partners and sprinkle a bit of pixy dust for luck along the way.

See you on the shelves,

Carrie Jeske

© 2015 Jeske.    Do not copy.   For reprint rights contact Carrie Jeske directly.

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