By John Wolcott The Herald Business Journal
EVERETT — Seeing a need for a product, harnessing innate creativity, overcoming barriers, having infinite determination and endless patience in the face of adversity — these are some of the key characteristics of a successful inventor.
Everett inventor Randy Ganacias showed all of these traits when he decided the world needed an Apple iPhone accessory clamp that would provide hands-free use in a variety of situations.
“With my MilliMount, you can attach your phone to a mini-tripod for taking photos or videos, install it as a child-watching viewer over a crib, suction cup a phone to your windshield to follow GPS maps or use it for dozens of other hands-free activities,” he said. “It really frees your phone for endless uses without having to hold it all the time.”
Ganacias’ MilliMount creation is demonstrated through his creative video at Kickstarter.com, and he’s promoting his products on Facebook as well.
Getting there was a long, long road.
When Ganacias started out, he had a rough design but no experience with computer-aided design programs, so he built the first model out of layers of cardboard, then later learned how to use simple CAD software — Autodesk Inventor and Google Sketch Up — to make a more-sophisticated design that he could edit as final product development progressed.
To upgrade the quality of production for his prototypes, he bought a $500 3-D printer to make layered samples of his new product.
But Ganacias had no experience with production, so he found a company in Minnesota that will ship his first 2,000 units in January. He had no experience in public relations and marketing, so he created his Spatial Studios website for publicity.
He had no experience with filling and shipping orders, so he’s arranged to use Amazon.com for those tasks while capitalizing on Amazon’s global reach for marketing his product.
Through months of product design, development and pre-production stages, Ganacias also faced a move from Sacramento, Calif., to Everett after selling his house with an “underwater” mortgage, finding work and an apartment in Renton, a layoff last July, losing his home, living on unemployment benefits and a variety of health issues for members of his extended family who have been living with him.
After managing to move his family of nine — including his wife, her mother and grandmother, his father and four children — into a new house in south Everett, he attended a Business Boot Camp program for advice on running his company, including bookkeeping, taxes and other business topics.
Even with all that preparation and the family health and unemployment stressors, Ganacias still had a problem. He had no money to develop his invention, let alone manufacture and market it.
Fortunately, through networking with the technology and business group Lockergnome, a blog and online communities run by Chris Pirillo in Seattle (www.gnomies.com), Ganacias received strong support, encouragement and new contacts. Those contacts led him to Kickstarter, an online site offering a variety of inventions and projects to attract potential financial backers. Setting his goal at $18,000, he presented his MilliMount idea online, attracting enough interest from 779 backers to pledge $21,989 for his project as of Nov. 8. Each Kickstarter backer will receive one of the first MilliMount production products, he said.
With financing in hand, and a lot more experience in a variety of business and marketing disciplines, Ganacias is ready to bring his creation to market.
“With so many cell phones out there, I see a really big market for this product,” he said. “With straps, screws and other attachments, people can improvise to use it in many different ways I haven’t even though about. It’s creative, versatile and, most important, useful.”
After overcoming so many hurdles, and preparing to launch production and sales for MilliMount, he’s also been inspired to keep on inventing.
“I’ve got a lot of useful products in mind already, and I’m planning more production than just the MilliMount,” he said with a smile.
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For more information, go to www.spatialstudios.tv, email email@example.com or call 916-704-9172.